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Parents are Role Models

Children look up to their parents, you are role models that can help them eat healthier and more variety.  Here you will find tips on how to encourage your child to eat more fruits and vegetables by being a role model. 

Have family meals

Children learn by watching and repeating, if they see you eat many different fruits and vegetables all the time, they will feel encouraged to eat them themselves.  When eating meals or snacks, try to include fruits and vegetables.  Eating as a family is a great way to try new foods or reintroduce foods they were unsure about.  Showing excitement for the food you are eating is another great way to encourage your child, say things like, “this broccoli is crunchy!” or “these strawberries are red and sweet!”  If your child is not ready to try a new food, don’t force them to eat.  It can take 10-15 times of offering the same thing for your child to decide to try that food, sometimes even more!  Don’t give up, offer the food again another time.  If there is a food you don’t like, have your child try it. You never know, it could end up being one of their favorite foods!  Family meals can be a good opportunity to interact with your child and learn about healthy food.

father and daughter picking out vegetables

Go shopping together

You can use grocery shopping as a learning experience for your family.  One activity you can do is to have your child help you write a grocery list.  For younger children, you can draw a picture grocery list and have them help you find the items.  It will be like a scavenger hunt!  Not only will grocery shopping be fun, but they can learn new things.  When you go grocery shopping, walk through the store and focus on fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and grains.  Avoid going into the candy, chips or pastry isles.  Let your child choose a few fruits and vegetables, this can teach your child about food and encourage them to try new foods. 

Cook together

One of the best ways to teach children about different foods is to let them help you cook.  When children help with cooking meals, they are likely to eat more fruits and vegetables.  There are many things they can help you with that are safe for them.  Some ideas are to let them rinse fruits or vegetables, tear greens into pieces when making a salad, mix dry and liquid ingredients in a bowl, setting up the table and even throwing out the trash.  If you have younger children, having them near you when you cook is good for their development.  They love to see what you are doing; they see you move around and smell what you’re cooking.  Just imagine, when your child helps you cook something, they will want to try what they helped you make.  This is a great opportunity to cook something new or something they have had challenges with in the past.

Trying these ideas can have a great impact on your child, they may be more open to trying new foods and they will learn new things too, such as new words, colors and numbers.  Try talking to them every step of the way, whether you’re eating as a family, at the grocery store or cooking together!

Here are some recipes that you can try cooking with your children!

Try this cucumber and watermelon salad!

This is a great opportunity for your child to help rinse all the fruits and veggies used in this recipe.  Your child can also help with tossing and combining all ingredients.  Find the recipe here!

cucumber and watermelon salad

Healthy Spider Munch

Snacks are a good way to get your child involved, making these is fun and will add more veggies to your day!  Find the recipe here!

healthy spider munch

Mini Pizzas

Your children will have so much fun putting them together!  Find the recipe here!

mini pizzas

Let us know how your child likes to help in the kitchen or at the grocery store! Or tell us about a new food you tried as a family by leaving a comment below.

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