Current Australian dietary guidelines suggest that children aged 4-8 years old should be consuming 1 ½ pieces of fruit per day, and 4 ½ serves of vegetables.
How many vegetables are your children consuming?
The most recent Australian Health Survey 2011-2013 indicates that our children are consuming well under these amounts. So what can we do as parents to increase our children’s intake of vegetables?
Here are 5 simple steps to increase your child’s intake and “liking” for vegetables:
- REPETITION – Research shows that repetition is important when promoting healthy eating behaviours in your children. Did you know that your child may need to be exposed to a food between 10-15 times before they know whether they like it or dislike it. So Mums and Dads keep serving up those fruits and vegetables.
- Get inventive with your presentation, and make healthy food fun!
- Let your child serve themselves at mealtimes (shared plates of fruit or vegetables gives your child control over what, and how much they eat from the healthy options you supply).
- Model healthy eating yourself – this will benefit both you and your child.
- Talk about how much you like eating the vegetables that you like, whether it be broccoli or carrot or sweet potato (be as animated as you like).
My two boys (5 and 2 1/2 years old), love using the special “red tongs” to serve salad from the shared bowl at dinner times. In fact my youngest tends to eat more vegetables (or at least try ones that he has never seen before), when he is able to serve himself.