Start a friendly chat with your kids and teach them about the reasons and incentives for eating fruits and vegetables as this is a powerful way to achieve the desired end result.
Introducing your small children to food games teaches them to differentiate healthy food from unhealthy foods. This is a brilliant way for them to absorb facts and learn about fresh produce, new exotic fruits and tastes, and how to eat them.
Example: You can add a gold star to the fridge so they feel they are accomplishing the initial task.
It is also important to know that we all should aim for 25-30 types of vegetables and fruits per week. That is now recommended by most dietitians.
In the United Kingdom, researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Essex, and Bath gave elementary students a star for every time they choose a portion of fruits or vegetables at lunchtime or if they brought it from home.
After a student earned 4 stars, they would earn a prize such as a highlighter pen. Once the incentive program was removed from the school, the majority of the children continued to eat more fruits whilst eating more vegetables.
Can incentives increase the fruit and vegetable consumption of low-income households?
Yes, another great talking point and incentive is the government helping schools to promote more fruits and vegetables on their menus.
The USDA announced an increased food program this year (2023) and this will provide an estimated $4.3 billion more into school meals and childcare meal programs across the nation.
Read here for more information about National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
If your kids are struggling to eat your veggies, check the 5 creative incentives below!
Here is a handful for you to try:
Your household should not give in when it comes to good nutritional meals.
Reinvent yourselves with the games above or just create new ones. Follow other links, books, videos, etc. Involve your little ones in the journey of the vegetable discovery world.
Here are a few great ideas:
- Inform your kids of the weekly menu: ex: includes chicken, spinach or broccoli, and carrots.
- Invite them to watch educational programs and videos about where and why you grow your own veggies.
- Give them a role in the kitchen, Ex: sous-chef, prep vegetables together while smelling the produce.
- Take them to farm places or even start growing your own in the back garden. The children will naturally ask questions, learn something and get involved in the near future. Also, they are more likely to eat them.
- Never hide veggies in their school boxes or plate, they are not stupid.
Good luck and remember these five important ideas/tips.
Do involve your kids from the very beginning of the food discovery and talk (seriously gamification) about the fruits and vegetables’ seasonality.
Also, instead of saying “eat your veggies otherwise you will not have the ice cream” is like glorifying the dessert.
In the event, you are struggling to buy food for your kids to take to school see the link above and follow the steps. If you are outside the US, search for “Free school meals” or “Food school assistance”.
If you are based in the United Kingdom you can apply for schools meals through the Gov website
Share your experience in the comments box below so we can talk, redirect or help you.