Most moms, at some point in time, struggle to get their children to eat vegetables. Even the sneakiest of tricks, like adding shredded veggies to stews and sauces, don’t always work. But new research shows that the ongoing veggie struggle may now be over!!
A new study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that kids will eat their veggies if they are served them prior to a meal. Let me clarify – they will eat their veggies before the actual meal is served, not with the meal. Apparently, if we give kids a vegetable snack or first course prior to the actual meal, they will gobble it up. Hmm…a bit skeptical? Think about it, after bringing the kids home from a long day of school, followed by soccer/baseball practice, they are likely to be so hungry while waiting for dinner that they would eat anything, including their vegetables.
This strategy hardly seems sneaky, but I am convinced it works – at least most of the time. While in Michigan last weekend, I attended a family BBQ at my sister’s house. Around 5 PM, the natives (aka the 5 kids) were getting restless and hungry! We were still waiting for several family members and friends to arrive to the potluck dinner, so we were hesitant to start without them. Instead, we set out chopped fruit and crudites of raw veggies and dip. It was almost comical to watch the kids dash inside from the backyard, grab handfuls of carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, and pepper strips, and then quickly run away as if they just snagged a bag of candy. Within a very short time, most of the vegetables had been eaten by the kids, so much so that we needed veggie reinforcements. Thank goodness that the one vegetarian person in our group arrived and brought another veggie tray!
At first, my sister and I were amazed at how fast the veggies went and even more surprised that they were being eaten by the children at the party. But it really makes sense. If you’re kids are hungry enough, they will eat whatever is put in front of them. And, as the “mom”, your job is to make sure that what’s put in front of them is something healthy.
So the next time your little ones are begging you for a snack before dinner – offer them an assortment of veggies – what’s the worst that could happen? They could become too full from vegetables to eat their dinner….we should all be so lucky!