You want your kids to eat their veggies.

You pressure them. You bribe them. You beg them.  Still, they barely eat more than a bite.

Instead of focusing on vegetable consumption, change the message.  Teach your kids to eat some of everything before they eat all of anything.

In other words, teach your kids an organized form of grazing.  Eating around the plate is a simple strategy that works.

Eat SOME of everything BEFORE you eat ALL of anything.

Most parents plunk down a plate and let their kids dig in… any way they want.   But imagine, instead of powering down the pasta, your kids learned to eat a little of this and a little of that until they were done.   You wouldn’t have to harass your kids to eat two more bites of vegetables anymore!

It might not seem like kids need this type of structure, but young kids don’t know:

  • How hungry they really are.
  • How much food they can eat before they’re full.

A lot of young kids can’t even identify hunger; they think their tummies hurt.

Your kids might be absolutely tormented by tomatoes, plagued by peas, and positively allergic to asparagus, but it’s just as likely that they’re full.

Or at least full enough to resist your reasoning: Mmmm, this spinach is delicious! Don’t you want to grow up to big and strong?

Even if your kids have the best intentions (they actually want to eat their veggies) they’re probably doomed. It’s practically impossible for kids to eat anything other than their favorites when their preferred foods are staring them in the face, just begging to be eaten.

Plus, matching food consumption to hunger satiation is tough stuff — even most adults haven’t mastered that skill.  Teaching kids to eat some of everything before they eat all of anything prevents the problem of premature fullness.

In the past I’ve talked about a technique I call One-One which teaches children to eat some of everything before they eat all of anything.

For more on One-One read My child asks for seconds of pasta before she’s even touched her peas. What should I do?

But here’s another way to teach the same lesson: let your kids play with their food.  Literally.

The spinner tells your children which well to eat from and how many bites to take. Brilliant!

The beauty of this game is that it takes YOU out of the picture.

The rule of what to eat is put it in the hands of…GOD (or rather, maybe it’s Lady Luck.)  Either way, it will be fun and teach your kids a valuable lesson about eating.  (Full disclosure: the manufacturer is a friend of mine.)

Learn more about this plate

A few weeks ago I mentioned another plate that would simply your life and teach your kids to eat right.  Read Forget the Food Pyramid.

If you don’t want to buy the plate, you can make a version of this game yourself.

You could, for example, draw different foods on a piece of paper, attach a spinner and away you go.

Whatever technique you decide to use, remember, the point is to actively teach your kids how to eat. You’ll be amazed by how effectively this teaches kids what to eat as well.

~ Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~