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How to: Raise a Veggie Lover
They are a food group that remains a constant source of frustration for parents but veggies don’t have to be hard work if you take the right steps from the beginning. Our infant nutrition consultant Karen Kingham shows you the way.
What the research says
Results from Australia’s most recent survey1 show that less than a quarter of young children get their daily veggie intake. But, as grown-ups, we don’t do much better, and if we can’t do it: how can we expect our children to. Right? Wrong!
Familiarity brings love
Include vegetables at as many meals and as snacks as you can. The tips below will help you achieve this:
Be a great role model: let your children see YOU eat and enjoy lots of different vegetables. Research shows when mum and dad make an effort, children will too.
Don’t give up: keep putting veggies on their plate. Many babies and young children need to be familiar with foods before they will eat them, so they need to see them often.
Think outside the square: veggies don’t just have to be cooked and served up with a meal. Raw or lightly steamed vegetables (cucumber, snow peas, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli) make a great snack to dip into mashed avocado, cream cheese or a smooth vegetable puree (such as Rafferty’s Garden Sweet Potato + Carrot + Apple).
So how much?
Australian guidelines recommend the following:
Babies 7 - 12 months: 1½ - 2 serves/day. A serve is 20g or approx 1 tablespoon cooked vegetables or legumes.
Toddlers 13 - 23 months: 2 - 3 serves/day
Young children 2 - 3 years: 2 ½ serves/day. A serve is ½ cup cooked vegetables or legumes or 1 cup raw green leafy vegetables
1. Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (2007)