Children are naturally drawn to bright colours and you won’t find such a wide rainbow of bright colours than there are in fresh fruits and vegetables. Kids can be picky eaters and if you are trying to come up with wholesome foods for them, even omnivore children will put up a fuss. My kids are all grown up but when they were little they were raised much the way I was; they ate what I gave them or they were hungry. I always did my best to make their food interesting and perhaps because they didn’t really have another option, they did eat what they were given.
In this era, children are given so many choices and many of them are not in the least bit healthy options, particularly fast foods. There are many restrictions too, especially when taking their own foods to school, as there are so many food allergies these days. I believe a lot of those allergies are borne of the additives in processed foods and a child’s lack of exposure to germs and bacteria. Also non-organic foods are subjected to so many chemical preservatives, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides that we really shouldn’t be surprised. They say “you are what you eat” but unfortunately too many people don’t take that into consideration when choosing the foods they are ingesting.
One way to get kids to eat more vegetables and fruits is to introduce them to them at an early age via finger foods. Slices of apple, mango, banana, peaches, fresh peas, cucumber, and avocado and more are all great raw foods that most kids like. Mashed potatoes, beans and rice, quinoa cooked in a vegetable broth with carrots, cooked green beans, cooked beets, mashed sweet potatoes and corn are also met with pleasure. The key is to only offer two or three at a time. Make their plates interesting; you can create cars, windmills, faces or trains out of vegetables arranged creatively. Ask your child to help with that; older siblings will be especially helpful.
The very best way to get your kids wanting to eat their vegetables is if you recruit their help with planting some. Make one spot in the garden just for them. Help them to plant it in a design or add some rocks and small toys to it, making a “fairy” garden. Get them involved in tending their garden; watering it, weeding it and when ready, harvesting it. My 11 year old grandson was not a fan of potatoes of any kind with the exception of French fries. Last summer, while in Ontario visiting my sister, he helped to dig up some potatoes and then we had them for supper that night. Now he loves potatoes! It is never too late to get children to eat vegetables; you just need to be creative.
There are several websites that deal specifically with the correct nutrition for vegan kids and with a little research your child can safely eat a plant based diet without becoming deficient in anything.
Susan is our resident vegan. She’s been a vegetarian for 20 years, and a vegan for 3. She has researched both lifestyles extensively and is constantly exploring new recipes, add her own twist. She is a long time SPUD customer, and now our very own resident vegan blogger!