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How do you make your kids eat vegetables? These moms share their tips

Roselyn Calixtro (left) and Cykie Panton shared tips on how they encourage their kids to eat vegetables. | Contributed photos

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Feeding kids with healthy food, especially vegetables, is sometimes difficult for mothers.

Most of the time, they have to exert extra effort to motivate their children to eat healthy food.

CDN Digital interviewed two mothers who can share how they encourage their children to eat healthy and nutritious food every day.

Here are some tips that might help you encourage your children to eat vegetables.

Introducing and reminding the benefits of vegetables to the body

Cykie Panton, a mother of two, says she always reminds her eldest son, Gabriel “Gab,” to eat vegetables so he won’t be sickly.

“[I tell him] ‘If you eat unhealthy food, you’d be sickly, and you won’t grow fast. It’d be better if you eat healthy food so that you’d be strong and will grow fast.’,” Panton said.

Gab takes her message seriously. And he does eat his greens. But her daughter, Yumi, is another story.

But Panton isn’t giving up on her five-year-old.

Although the younger one does eat other healthy food like eggs and fish, Panton says she knows she will eventually learn to eat her veggies. She is banking on her persistence on the little one, same as how she trained Gab to eat vegetables until he got used to it.

“If you don’t let them get used to eating vegetables, they won’t learn to love it,” she said.

She admitted that it was not easy to feed Gab with vegetables on her first try, especially before he turned seven years old.

Now, Gab eats lettuce, carrots, squash, and sayote (chayote).

A photo of Gab in front of lettuce, kimchi, and pork belly when their family were eating samgyeopsal. | Photo from Cykie Panton

Moreover, the interesting part is that Gab started eating vegetables because of eating “samgyeopsal,” a famous Korean cuisine.

Among the elements of eating samgyeopsal are fresh vegetables like lettuce or Chinese cabbage, and kimchi, which is a Korean side dish made of fermented vegetables.

From that time on, Panton said that Gab began enjoying vegetables.

Meanwhile, Roselyn Calixtro, a mother of one, encourages her son, Ezriel Joffin “EJ,” by introducing the different variations of veggies in every meal.

Parents should set as an example

Calixtro and Panton also believe that as parents, they should set an example to influence their kids to eat healthy food.

“It is better that parents themselves should eat vegetables so that the children would follow suit,” Panton said.

“I eat it (vegetable) too. As a mom, you should be a model to your kids,” said Calixtro.

Calixtro added that she also shows to her two-year-old son her appreciatio every time he eats vegetables.

“My child is always eager to eat because every time he does, he always hears me say  ‘very good or good job baby!’ with a resounding applause. He loves it!” she added.

A photo of EJ eating squash and rice. | Photo from Roselyn Calixtro

EJ started to eat vegetables and fruits when he was six months old, Calixtro shared. That was the time that she introduced solid food to him.

“As an advised by the Pediatrician, my baby began to eat smashed squash, potato, carrot, sweet potato, and other leafy veggies to be mixed with soft rice. Some fruits as well [have] been fed to my baby,” Calixtro added.

A photo of EJ eating carrots when he was 7 months old. | Photo from Roselyn Calixtro

Do not force them to eat what they do not like

Calixtro believes that as a mother, it is “quite normal” to experience a struggle in letting kids eat vegetables.

However, she said that patience and understanding “would help the process.”

She added that she never forced EJ to eat if he didn’t like. Instead, she gives him enough time until he eats.

“There are times that a baby ignores what you serve on the table, then, let it be. I just inspire him and I let him see that I enjoy eating veggies,” EJ’s mother said.

What do their children get from eating vegetables?

Panton also believes that the healthy food her son eats would reflect on their body and skin.

That is why she never trains her children to eat junk foods.

Meanwhile, Calixtro said that it is imperative to teach kids to eat vegetables because she believes that it is for their health.

She added that it can also contribute to their growth and development that leads to a “lifetime healthy lifestyle.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), optimal nutrition is vital in the first two years of a child’s life because it “fosters healthy growth and improves cognitive development.”

It can also reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese later on.



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TAGS: healthy, mothers, nutrition month, vegetables
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