Kids and vegetables don't always get along, but they should! I'm not talking about becoming the "Food Nazi!", no... no bad guys. I'm talking about teaching your kids to enjoy vegetables so that you don't have to worry about them not eating enough of them for the rest of your life.
1. Set an Example
Monkey see, monkey do. If you want your kids to eat vegetables, eat them yourself. Incorporate vegetables into every meal and make them something normal for them (and for you), make them the usual.
2. Make it Fun and Get Them Involved!
Kids like taking on projects, so maybe cooking something healthy in the kitchen can be the next big thing they tackle, or even better, the grill. Teaching your kids that the grill isn't exclusively for meat might change the way they look at vegetables. Vegetables on the grill look so delicious! Of course you have to be careful when you involve your kids in the kitchen or the grill, but the safest way to keep them away from harm's way in a kitchen or at the grill is by teaching them how they're used and always telling them they shouldn't be used without adult supervision until they're old enough.
WARNING!! They might make a mess. It's alright, don't get upset. Clean it up together, this will also teach them a valuable lesson: things don't clean themselves up.
3. Enforce the "One Bite Rule"
"What's the one bite rule?" you might ask. Well the "one bite rule" consists on not making them eat something they don't like, just making them try it... for like ten times! That's right. A lot of rejected foods might still be rejected the second time around, but if you tell them that they have to have at least one bite and then they can leave the rest, they'll eat it. With time, the taste will grow on them, and they'll like it. It's a natural process. It's how we came to like beer, coffee, and cheese. It's how every culture came to like anything fermented. Acquired tastes.
4. Reward Good Behavior
So you got you kid to try that food he says he doesn't like but hadn't actually had, now what? Cheer him up! Let him know that you appreciate what they did, maybe give them a sticker. Tell them they're brave. Having a positive takeaway from the experience will register in their brain and up the chances of them liking it next time around.
5. Don't Force Them To Finish
If half way through the meal your kid decides he's not hungry anymore or that he didn't like something about the food, don't make them finish it. Forcing them to do things will create a negative experience for them and will register that way in their psyche, so the chances that they'll have a negative reaction to that food will be greater.
So there you have it: promote good things, but don't force it upon them. Involve them and make things fun. Reward good behavior and most importantly set an example. If you follow these simple tips your kids eating habits will improve in no time!