Every parent wants to ensure that their child has a healthy diet. But how does one make them eat those veggies which are the healthiest but somehow seem to be the worst in taste to them?
Different parents adopt different strategies. Some hide veggies in different kinds of tastier foods whereas someone ensure discipline by not letting them leave the table till their plate is cleared.
Some parents “bribe” their children for finishing their veggies. By bribing, some kids definitely get motivated to eat healthy as they are being rewarded for doing so. Besides this, they also learn the value of money as well as develop a habit of eating healthy. In many cases children continue to eat vegetables till up to two months without being given any incentive to do so. But is doing so right?
Are monetary incentives the only thing which will drive our children?
Or can we try motivating them with other forms of incentives as well? In fact it is often observed that when you start getting work done by giving people a monetary incentive, their interest in the task decreases. Their sole motivation to complete the task is the monetary benefit they are going to get at its completion. Bribing your kids to eat their vegetables won't work in the long term. But do non monetary incentives do the trick? Take into consideration the following example -
You tell your children that if they eat their vegetables you will give them ice cream! This motivates the children to finish their plate but it also makes them believe that desert is their reward and they might start disliking the target food i.e. the vegetables.
So what should you do?
- You must remember to start early. If your child is exposed to a certain type of food in the womb, he'll be more inclined to eat it when he grows older.
- Remember to offer food frequently. Don't pressurize your child. It is okay if he rejects it, keep trying. You might need to expose your child up to fifteen times to the same food to get them to actually eat it.
- Let your child experience the food. Don't hide it in any other type of food. If you do so, two things might happen.
Firstly, he might feel deceived when he finds out that you have been doing this.
Secondly, if your child doesn't know that the cake has carrots hidden in it, they might never eat carrots normally.
Ensure that your child eats in a positive environment. Don't let any of your personal dislikes make you believe that your child will dislike the same things too. If your children are old enough, let them lend a hand in the kitchen. Things might get a little messy but it will ensure a positive environment. You need to adopt the method of trial and error. But by doing a little effort in the initial stages of his life you can ensure he leads a healthy life.