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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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