Why won’t my child eat broccoli?  Why is it so hard for kids to eat veggies? 

Let’s put this into perspective.

Here’s the timeline of a child’s food experiences: Kids start off drinking sweet smooth breastmilk or formula, the other end of the spectrum – the end goal – is broccoli… bitter, crunchy broccoli.  Now don’t get me wrong – I love broccoli!  It’s actually my favourite vegetable.  And thankfully, my kids eat it.  Here’s how I got them from sweet smooth liquid to bitter crunchy solids.

Two words – Food Intelligence.

What is Food Intelligence?

Food intelligence is the foundation for happy healthy kids.

It’s the ability to know good food, make good food choices and energise your body with the right stuff.

It’s knowing the awesome variety of foods that are healthy, how to grow, prepare and cook them, and how to eat and enjoy their benefits to your total well being.

It’s the science, maths and language of food.  We teach our kids how to walk, talk, count and read.  We need to teach them how to eat well too – and that put simply, is food intelligence at its core (pardon the pun!).

Why is it so important to include it in your kid’s education?

Informed kids will make better choices.

Getting your kids to eat veggies starts with a solid foundation so they can build their food intelligence and become informed eaters.

Somewhere along the line, our kids lost the knowledge of good clean healthy eating.

We could start the blame game and point fingers at the media, major fast food chains, massive ‘processed/junk food’ companies for brainwashing our kidlets, but it won’t solve anything.

What we can do is take back the power and go back to basics.

Without it, the health problems of our current world will only increase and our kids will not have the tools in place to combat them.

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Empower and inform them is all we have to do.  We all love our kids and just want them to feel happy and healthy.  Which is why food intelligence is so important.  It’s that simple.

How to improve your kid’s food IQ – where should it start?

Our school teachers have enough on their plates with today’s curriculum to go adding to it.

That said, there are some fantastic programs out there that focus on integrating food intelligence education into every day class work.  But really, we are our kids first and last teachers – each and every day.

We model and teach, they copy and learn.  So rather than add to our school teachers load, we can take easily meld this into our daily routine with our kidlets.

The earlier, the better.  And it’s not rocket science, so we can all jump on board with ease.  How?  Here’s the key:

Engaged kids will learn more, remember more and actually have fun whilst they’re doing it!

So if you want them to increase their food IQ, get them involved, start at home, start early, make it fun, immerse their little lives in it and model good food choices for them to imitate.

At home, at the shops, at the dinner table, when packing a lunchbox, when cooking dinner, when watching tv and seeing the ads for less healthy options etc.  You can do it anywhere, anytime.

Whether it’s growing herbs in a pot on the windowsill, peeling a carrot at dinner time or helping you choose the veggies at the market, you can slowly and easily take things back to basics and reap the rewards for your child’s entire lifetime.

We all have our little tricks of the trade to help our kids eat veggies.  Introducing and improving our kids food intelligence was our saving grace.

What do you do to improve your child’s food IQ? 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • great read. This is so true our kids love everything as we started giving them the freshest fish and veggies from 6 months old.

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  • Thanks for your article Loren. I haven’t yet started educating my 1.5 and 2.5yr olds much on their food but I will keep this in mind. About what food is, where it comes from, what purpose it serves, etc.
    Modelling good eating habits is also something that motivates me to eat better for my kids to see.
    I’ve always gave my toddlers a variety of foods including all kinds of tastes from when their first started solids so I think that helped with prepping their taste buds for the different tastes and, later, textures of food. They pretty much eat everything I give them so far – I’m waiting for the day when my girls learn the word “yuck”. Lol.

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  • We grow some of our own fruit and veg. The kids have seen how a sheep is slaughtered and cut up, they’ve seen sausages being made and collected eggs from the chook shed. I take them along to farmers markets and the supermarket, butcher, baker etc. they help pick out the ingredients, choose meals and help cook. they set the table and have even ran a restaurant evening serving and cooking for friends. Now to just get them doing the washing up…!

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  • My eldest loves learning about different food we grow

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  • we are pretty uvk our children have always loved fruit and veggies although so do my husband and I and we all eat together so maybe that is the key


    • Hi Lov’n’life. I definitely think you’re onto something there! Modelling good food habits is a fabulous way to get your kids to eat healthy whole foods. Thanks for sharing! Loren x

    Reply

  • Broccoli is a vegetable you either like or don’t, the same as brussell sprouts.


    • Hi June 11. I agree – we all have our individual tastes and preferences. Kids however take a long time to accept new tastes and textures (usually more than 10 goes before they really develop a taste for something), so the earlier and the more we expose them to different foods, the more chance they have of developing an open mind to new foods whilst learning to enjoy a range of nutritious foods. :-) Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Loren x

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  • Hi Mom94125! Thanks for your lovely comment :-) It’s great to see so many responses and ideas! Thanks for sharing! Loren x

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  • cooking with them is a great way to get them interested. We made this big Italian spinach, garlic cheesy pasta at school and all 25 kids in the class helped make it and everyone ate it and more importantly enjoyed it!


    • Hi Curlytops! I totally agree – cooking is a fabulous way to get the kids curious about food. Teaching them the joy of cooking has so many benefits, not the least of which to remind them homemade foods are better than processed packaged “food”! Plus kids will always eat something they help cook themselves (and you have proof of that!). Your class sounds very talented and fortunate to have you cooking something so yummy! Thanks for sharing! Loren x

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  • My kids saw me eating different things & I suppose they just figured they should be eating it too….. it’s never been an issue and their favourite meal is a huge plate of vegies…. although they do like them mashed.


    • Hi Skbou! The power of modelling is sooooo strong with our little ones isn’t it?! Such a great point – what we eat, is what our kids will too! Thanks for sharing :-) Loren x

    Reply

  • We grow some veggies ourselves which seems to encourage more interest in tasting & eating them.


    • Hi Cloverstorm! I have found the same thing – our kids love eating and taste testing foods fresh from the garden. Thanks for sharing! Loren x

    Reply

  • this is a great article! you have made this very thought provoking

    Reply

  • GROWING your own veggies, herbs or fruit is a wonderful way to get children into eating a variety of different things. There is nothing more satisfying than watering and nourishing/nurturing homegrown then eating the results. It can be as simple as a pot or two, right up too a home garden. Nothing better. Thanx for your wonderful article. :-)


    • Hi Cherz! I totally agree – the satisfaction of homegrown food is the best! I especially love a good crispy homegrown salad with fresh homegrown super sweet strawberries :-) Thank you for your lovely comment! Loren x

    Reply

  • Lots of great ideas thanks. Canvas Prints


    • Thank you Amyabby4! I’m loving all the fabulous ideas being shared around. :-) Loren x

    Reply

  • Great article. Involving children in the purchasing and preparation of food is the key.


    • Hi Jade2! So true – having little helpers with the shopping and cooking is a great way to get the kidlets clued in to all things food related. Thanks for your lovely comment and for sharing! Loren x

    Reply

  • I totally agree that if you are informed you make better decisions about anything.


    • Hi Rachkap! Yes – as the saying goes, knowledge is power :-) Thanks for sharing! Loren x

    Reply

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