Make Your Child Enjoy Fruits and Vegetables with These TipsMonday, 11 June 2018
6 - 9 Months
Does your Little One often refuse when offered to eat vegetables and fruits? Then, you are not alone. This is often experienced by parents with children who are learning to eat. The key here is how to encourage the Little One to enjoy the vegetables and fruits that have been served by parents. Introducing vegetables and fruits can be initiated as early as possible. After receiving exclusive breastfeeding for six months, the Little One can be introduced to supplementary food so that their nutritional requirements are fulfilled. Other than fulfilling the daily nutritional requirements, the serving of complementary food is also intended for the Little One to get accustomed to the textures and flavours of various different types of food, including vegetables and fruits. The following are tips to help children enjoy eating vegetables and fruits: 1. Be creative with the meals of the Little One Imagine if you were given a bowl of plain green vegetables, will it seem appetizing? When serving vegetables or fruits for the Little One, attempt to create interesting shapes. Parents can also try to assign new names to vegetables and fruits so that the Little One does not get defensive when hearing the words fruits and vegetables. 2. Process vegetables with a variety of ways Factors that may cause the Little One to refuse consuming vegetables and fruits are the aroma, flavour, and texture, which can be too soft, too cooked, or too seasoned. Try to process the vegetables with a way that is different from usual, for instance by grilling it using olive oil without any additional seasoning. Children tend to enjoy meals that are crunchy and savoury. 3. Introduce food gradually When introducing a new type of food, parents can also serve another type of food that the Little One has already recognized along with it. Avoid serving meals that are entirely made up of various types of food not previously recognized by the Little One. 4. Do not force or outsmart the Little One During meals, avoid forcing the Little One to eat. Instead of enjoying the new type of food, they may experience trauma and refuse to consume that type of food in the future. Even though outsmarting the Little One by hiding vegetables in their meals may be effective, this may not be the best method, according to Sophia Komninou, a pediatric nutrition expert from Swansea University. The Little One should know that eating is not merely chewing and swallowing, but should also involve other sensory organs and an understanding of the requirements of the nutrition contained in vegetables and fruits. Furthermore, when the Little One is aware that they are being outsmarted, they may feel cheated and can refuse to eat. 5. Always have vegetables and fruits ready at home When feeling hungry, the Little One will reach for food that are around them. This is a good opportunity to introduce healthy snacks, where parents can provide snacks in the form of fruits and vegetables for them. 6. Be a good role model for the Little One When parents have an unhealthy eating pattern, for instance, not consuming adequate vegetables and fruits, children will tend to adopt a similar eating pattern. An initial step would be to change the eating pattern of the family for the better. 7. Do not give up When trying new types of food, the Little One should see, touch, and taste it. According to Ellyn Satter, author of Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook, approximately 15-20 attempts are required until the Little One is ready to accept a new type of food. The more often the Little One sees and tastes a new type of food, the more their chances are to accept it. The introduction of various types of food such as vegetables and fruits to the Little One at an early age can build a healthy eating pattern for them, which will have a positive impact for their future.