By Steph Brontman
Whether you were a picky eater as a child or not, chances are if you are a parent, you have dealt with the struggle of trying to get a child to eat a certain food. If your kids have grown up eating the Standard American Diet or basically any other diet besides a whole food plant-based one, chances are that they will be at least a little reluctant to try some of the new foods and this new way of eating. If you would like to make this as easy a transition for them as possible, read on to learn about our top five tips for helping kids try a plant-based diet!
1. Start small: If you know your child is not used to eating fruits and veggies or is a picky eater in general, giving them a large salad on day 1 probably won’t be very successful. Instead, try something very small, just a tiny piece of a new fruit or vegetable. Then, slowly increase the amount of the new food each time.
2. Be patient: You may have heard that a child has to try something 10 to 15 times before they like it. While that may seem like a daunting task if you are trying to introduce a completely new way of eating to your children, research has shown that as children get used to healthy eating, it may take only 5 or 6 times to like a new food.
3. Make meals they know: Rather than add to the challenge of introducing new foods to your children by trying new meals with them as well, cook meals that they are used to, like spaghetti, mac and “cheeze”, veggie burgers, or something else that they are familiar with. If you make these meals with plant-based ingredients, but present it to them as the meal they are used to, they’re more likely to give it a try.
4. Focus on flavor: While your child may be a picky eater, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they like bland food. If they love sweets, use some maple syrup to make glazed carrots. If they like spicy foods, add some hot sauce or chili powder to whatever you’re making.
5. Make it fun: Whether you’re a child or an adult, no one likes to be forced to eat something. Instead of trying to convince your child to eat the veggies you want them to, try taking them shopping with you and let them pick out a new fruit or veggie to try or allow them to choose what to have for dinner. The more fun you make this plant-based journey, the more successful it will ultimately be for your whole family!
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