They’re 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 right from the start. Rafferty’s Garden nutritionist Karen Kingham leads the way.
What the research says
Results from one of Australia’s most recent surveys show that less than a quarter of our young children get their daily veggie intake. And as grown-ups we don’t do much better. If we can’t do it, how can we expect our children to. Right? Wrong!
Familiarity brings love
Including vegetables at as many meals and snacks as you can makes a world of difference, as exposure is everything to young children. Try the tips below:
Be a good 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 the 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.
So how much?
Australian guidelines recommend:
- Babies 7-12 months: 1½ – 2 serves/day
A serve is 20g or approx one tablespoon cooked vegetables or legumes
- Toddler’s 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
Do you have a little veggie lover at home? SHARE WITH US in the comments below.