The expert's words we've been dying to hear - Stop stressing about vegetables.

Do you have veggie-chomping kids? Well, lucky you, because most of us do not.

Sit down. Take a deep breath. We have some shocking news.

A survey released today says that three out of four parents with kids aged between 2-12 describe getting their kids to eat vegetables as a “daily struggle”.

But maybe it’s time to stop the struggle. Nutritionist Susie Burrell has her own perspective on why we should stop stressing about the daily greens, and here it is:

Generally speaking, kids do not like vegetables. Why? – Because we, the parents are so desperate for them to eat something orange and green on a daily basis, do not teach our kids to like vegetables. It is really that simple.

Think about it. Kids like the foods we teach them to like.

We reward with lollies, party foods, even fruit on a daily basis; we teach them that they will get dessert if they eat their boring main meal. When they behave well we hand out sweet treats and take these away when they are not so good. It is our habit of craving and treating ourselves with sweet foods that basically infers that the rather bland tasting vegetables are inferior.

It is also crucial to remember that kids, small kids in particular do not need a lot of food. This is in contrast to our belief that they always need more, and that heaven forbid they are not eating enough.

"Kids like the foods we teach them to like."

So, when our kids have a couple of pieces of sweet fruit or a couple of kids-sized yoghurt treats, along with some milk and juice, when they turn away their vegetables at the end of a long day, it is most likely because they are not that hungry (and probably very tired).


So rather than obsess about what veggies your child is or is not eating, change the focus and most importantly lower your expectations.

Your child may not sit down happily to a plate of boiled carrots and peas, but they may munch on some baby tomatoes or cucumbers through the day. They may enjoy your spaghetti sauce which unbeknownst to them contains a few cups of vegetables.

And they may really like your special mummy juice, in which you throw some extra kale or spinach. As long as they are eating a couple of different vegetables in some form each day, you have nothing to worry about.

As a rule of parenting thumb, what you focus on will continue. This means that if you repeatedly emphasise what your child is not eating, chances are, they will keep on not eating it. Instead, try very hard to not talk about food at all. Serve your regular meals or special mummy juice and give reward and praise when good foods, including veggies are eaten.

And most importantly, speak about veggies as you would any other food, otherwise you are subtlety teaching them that ice cream is much better than the carrots you really want them to eat.

How do you get your kids to eat veggies?

Pick your battles - these are the 10 most super-charged veggies your kids can eat. CLICK THROUGH, and if you're on mobile, the words are underneath the pictures. 

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