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We recently asked veg scheme members with children living at home for their kitchen secrets on keeping mealtimes with kids calm and veg-filled.
Many of you passed on fantastic advice, so we’re sharing the top tips here.
1. Feed them everything.
Never assume your kid doesn't like this or that and just keep offering. “If they don't like it, we offer a 'no thank you' portion - which is a small portion just to try.”
2. Try hard not to try too hard.
Don’t make a fuss about what they eat at any meal. Try not to let mealtimes become battlegrounds.
3. Pass the baton.
Use baby-led weaning and serve finger food rather than purees. Cook extra veg with the evening meal to use as snacks following day. “Batons of veg are perfect for little hands and easy to take out.” Many children love to eat crunchy things, ie raw or lightly cooked fruit and veg. These are also good for scooping up hummus, pesto and other dips.
4. Catch them hungry.
Serve veg first at a meal while finishing off the cooking. “They’ll eat it from hunger/boredom while they wait.”
5. Make a face.
Design faces or characters with food or make pictures with the veg. Use shape cutters if you like.
6. Eat the rainbow.
The idea of trying to eat a rainbow every day adds a bit of fun too and encourages eating a good range of food.
7. Make it a picnic.
"Ours is 4 - she loves a picnic!"
8. Add some mystery.
“We create excitement about finding out what veg we’ve got in the bag this week and play guess the name of the veg.”
9. Eat together.
If the timing works, eat family meals together, rather than serving a separate kids’ tea and grown-up meal later. “We feed them smaller portions of what we’re having.”
10. Get them involved.
Ask them to help out in the kitchen with appropriate tasks for their age, such as podding beans, weighing, chopping, stirring.