Many kids eat only a few foods – which are typically grain-based carbs like break and pasta or mac ‘n cheese. Is there anything really wrong with this? The doctor says he’s healthy. He seems healthy. Do you really need to worry about getting your picky grain-eating kid to eat more vegetables?
Why your kid should eat more vegetables
Ask yourself. Does your kid:
- have allergies, asthma or chronic congestion?
- struggle with eczema or dry skin?
- have headaches, digestive issues or erratic behavior?
- struggle to poop at least once daily?
- talk incessantly or have difficulty concentrating?
- struggle with depression, acne or other symptoms you would love to wash away?
If you answer yes to any of these, then adding vegetables to your kid’s diet could be your answer, and will certainly help.
- fiber to help us poop (i.e. extra toxins),
- protein, a macro nutrient we need, along with healthy carbs and fats,
- antioxidants to prevent and fight inflammation and sickness and
- vitamins and minerals to help our bodies function properly.
On the other hand, though they can provide fiber, grains can cause inflammation – the root of most sicknesses and diseases. Often, gluten in particular can cause or exacerbate depression, acne, skin problems, joint issues and more.
The USDA recommends 5 to 13 servings of vegetables each day. But newer food pyramids suggest that veggies and fruits should make up 75% of our diets, with fruits being 25% at most.
Truth of it is
Now, I like to reference the Bible when trying to figure out answers. And they ate loads of loaves of bread in biblical days! So why would this be any different now? Grains are from the earth after all.
I don’t think grains themselves are bad for us. But I do think the typical ways they are grown and made, especially in the U.S., are not good for us. So unless they are made from sources I know haven’t been modified or tainted, it’s not a chance I want to take.
We also live in different environments than in biblical times. We are busier – too busy – with more pollution, chemicals and man-made stuff that doesn’t necessarily respect our earth, not to mention our bodies.
So our bodies tolerate less. They break down more. We turn on our bad genes, have babies and pass down our new, less healthy genes and so on. Ben Lynch’s book, Dirty Genes, discusses this phenomenon at length.
So how do we get our picky, carb-eating kids to eat more veggies and fewer grains?
How to get your kid to eat more vegetables
- Educate them. Share this blog or another. Explain that feeling OK now doesn’t mean a poor diet won’t catch up to them and cause sickness or disease.
- Lead by example. Start with baby steps if needed, like I did. But now, we often eat veggies for our weekend breakfasts, too. We always eat them for lunch and 1-3 of them for dinner. Make them always try 2 bites of a new vegetable. Did you know it could take 22 or more exposures to a food before someone might grow to like it? For more ways to incorporate veggies, read 10 ways to get your kids to eat vegetables.
- Supplement. Whole food is always best. Food (or avoidance of) as medicine, instead of a pill, is always best. But if you need to supplement, give him something of high quality like Juice Plus+, which provides needed nutrients while possibly changing his taste buds, too. If you use the capsules, it’s powdered vegetables only. If he eats the gummies, he’s getting some added sugar but that’s better than no veggies!
- Be consistent. Eat veggies at every meal (at least lunch and dinner for starters). No seconds or treats till veggies are eaten. Yes, I make exceptions for kids’ parties or occasional dinners out, but I often have them eat veggies at home before or after. Plus, I do have my kiddos take the Juice Plus+ because I know we don’t eat 13 servings per day.
Our bodies are ours for life. Teach your kid to respect hers and explain why veggies are so critical to her livelihood. Lead by example. Try new foods together. Have fun with this and know you are doing what’s best.
Know that you are minimizing the toxins in your body instead of adding to them.
You are teaching your kid invaluable lessons.
- Eat what you need vs. want.
- Do what’s right in the eyes of God.
- Be a good steward of your body.
- You can lead and make a difference in someone else’s life and wellness.
You are taking preventive measures – protecting against illness and disease. Even if you don’t see the results you want right away, I have faith you will soon!
*This blog is intended for use as a source of information and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice.
image from ourkidsmagazine.com