Tricks to get your kids to eat right

Getting a picky eater to eat her vegetables isn’t always easy – but the problem is usually psychological and not necessarily about taste. Kids are infiltrated with media images telling them that vegetables are gross and that eating them is a chore, while junk food and sugary drinks are portrayed as cool.

There are clever ways to get your picky eater to eat a nutritionally balanced diet. One thing you can do is add extra vegetables to foods that are already their favorites, like pizza or sandwiches. If you don’t think she’ll eat pizza with vegetables baked on it, consider putting out bowls of cut vegetables during pizza and taco meals so she can add and experiment. They’ll be tempted by the hands-on experience of adding their own vegetables.

Be mindful not to force your child to eat healthy, or she’ll start to associate eating fruits and vegetables with punishment. If you suspect your child is more averse to trying new things than the vegetables themselves, mix familiar favorites with new vegetables. Sometimes the idea of the new vegetable is too much for children, but by mixing spinach with another favorite vegetable, or even whole wheat pasta, children are more likely to approach it with an open mind.

Also be aware of the texture of the vegetables. Kids’ tastes are very sensitive to texture. If they’re too mushy, consider roasting them for a firmer texture and milder taste. If they don’t like raw vegetables, see if sauteed spinach or broccoli will work.

You can also sneak vegetables into their favorite foods. Bake muffins that have sweet potato or carrot in them, or puree cauliflower into their macaroni and cheese. Lots of people add extra vegetables like shredded carrots into marinara sauces.

These are all great tricks, but the best way to get your kid to eat healthy is to start them early and teach by example. They are going to mimic what their parents like, so if you eat healthy, chances are they will too. To be 100 percent sure they are getting adequate nutrition, add a vitamin supplement to their daily routine. Dr. Newton’s Naturals sells EZ Melts Children’s Multivitamin, which is fast-dissolving and delicious – so even the pickiest eater won’t have trouble getting it down.

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