Most parents I know wish their children would eat more fruits and vegetables.

But guess what? The pressure tactics most parents use to accomplish this are counterproductive. They teach kids to hate fruits and vegetables, not love them.

Read 10 Ways Kids Learn to HATE Veggies and 10 Ways Kids Learn to LOVE Veggies.

Here are two things I know for sure:

1) What your kids are used to eating determines what they like.

Eating is really a matter of math. Read Pizza and Peas: The Untold Story.

2) Taste preferences are formed more than they’re found.

Your job isn’t to discover what your kids like. It’s to shape what they like. Read You Catch More Flies with Honey.

Still, kids can be very opinionated about what they will and will not eat.

That’s what makes this whole feeding-thing a real challenge!

With these two principles in mind…

7 Steps to More Fruits and Vegetables

  1. Pay attention to the flavors and texture you expose your kids to the most. Read Kids Can’t Like Food They Haven’t Tasted.
  2. Don’t justify questionable food choices with, what I call, Selective Attention: You focus on the nutrient you’re interested (say calcium) and overlook the “problems” (like sugar). Read Virus Sufferers Choose Granola.
  3. Slowly shift your kids’ diets towards the kinds of tastes and textures you find in healthy foods. In practice this might mean starting with canned peaches in heavy syrup, moving to canned peaches in light syrup, to canned peaches in fruit juice, and finally, to real peaches. Read For Extreme Fruit and Vegetable Avoiders…
  4. Teach your kids to be good tasters.This happens separately and BEFORE they’ll be good eaters. Read A Cool Way to Teach Toddlers to Taste New Food.
  5. Talk about the concept of proportion, so your kids know the eating habits you’re aiming to teach them. Read You Can’t Make Me Eat It!
  6. Set limits on how many sweets and treats your kids can eat in a day or a week, but let your kids decide when they actually eat their sweets and treats. Read The How-to-Control-Your-Kids’-Candy-Consumption Con.
  7. Remember that pressure is your enemy. Read The Pressure-Cooker Problem
  8. Be happy with a Happy Bite. Read The Happy Bite.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~