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15 Simple Ways To Encourage Your Kids To Eat Vegetables

15 Simple Ways To Encourage Your Kids To Eat Vegetables

After a busy day, you want to serve a tasty meal you know the whole family will enjoy. But you also want to make sure your kids are getting their recommended three to five portions of veggies. Problem is, as every parent knows, convincing your kids to eat their veggies isn’t always easy.

Well, here are 15 simple ways to turn even the most stubborn veggie refuser into a veggie lover.

1. Make it fun

Okay, you’re tired and hungry so I’m not about to suggest you recreate the cast of Frozen using vegetable shapes. But presenting food in a fun pattern or smiley face takes seconds and delights little ones. After all, who could resist eating a carrot nose or a smile made from peas?

2. Help yourself

Often when kids refuse to eat something, it’s simply because they want to feel in control. So give them the power to choose at mealtimes by presenting veggiess in serving bowls and let the kids help themselves. They may surprise you!

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3. Let’s get cooking

When kids have helped prepare a meal, they are more likely to enjoy eating it.  My toddler loves cutting mushrooms and tomatoes with her special safety knife. Mixing, stirring, serving; it’s all fun for kids.

4. Earn a star

Okay, not everyone agrees rewards for eating vegs are a good idea. After all, eating healthily shouldn’t be seen as a chore to be endured. But for some kids, earning a star for trying a new food or for eating three different types of veggies each day can be a big motivator.

5. Hit the shops

Let your kids help with the shopping. They will love learning about the different fruits and veggies available and you can let them choose a new ingredient every time. They’ll then be eager to try the produce when you get home.

6. What would Iron Man do?

When I was a child, my parents told me to eat my greens so I would “grow up strong like Popeye”. Now, it doesn’t really matter who your kid’s favorite character, celebrity or sportsperson is; the idea is still the same. Tell your kids their superheroes eat their veggies and they’ll be eager to do the same.

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7. Choosing is fun

Dig out your favorite recipe books, or take a look online and let your kids choose recipes themselves. Again, it’s all about letting them feel in control. They are more likely to eat a dish if they’ve helped to choose it.

8. Eat the rainbow

The great thing about veggies is they really are interesting. Talk to your kids about the different shapes, colors and textures and encourage them to eat as many different colored foods as they can. You could even create a chart so they can tick off the different colors they’ve eaten each day.

9. Grow your own

A great way to get kids excited about vegs, is to let them grow their own. Even if you only have space for a couple of pots or a window box, kids can grow carrots, salad leaves, tomatoes and more.

10. Invite a friend to dinner

Isn’t it strange how kids’ behavior changes when they’re with their friends? You can use this to your advantage. If your kids have a friend who loves to eat veggies; try borrowing them for the evening.

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11. Grow up strong

Often we tell kids to eat their veggies but forget to tell them why. Rather than simply saying “because they are good for you”, teach kids about the different vitamins found in various ingredients so they can understand how vegetables keep us fit and healthy.

12. Novel names

Whether it’s Percy peas or cucumber spears, kids love giving silly names to ingredients. Fun names also make vegetables seem less daunting for kids.

13. Make it interesting

If your kids find veggies boring, try serving them in different ways to make it more interesting. For example, carrot sticks can be served upright in a beaker rather than flat on a plate. A plate with different sections is also a great way to bring interest to mealtimes and can help kids feel less overwhelmed than by seeing a mound of veg on a traditional plate.

14. Mix it up

If there’s a vegetable your child claims not to like, try preparing it in a different way. For example, if they don’t like boiled carrots, you may find they love grated carrots. Don’t like cooked mushrooms? Try eating them raw instead.

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15. Don’t make a fuss

Don’t turn mealtimes into a battleground; if your child really doesn’t want to eat something, don’t force them. If they sense that food gives them power, they will continue to refuse to eat certain things.

It’s not always easy, but take a relaxed approach and remember; you can always try again tomorrow.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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