Getting young children to eat vegetables can sometimes be a bit of a challenge! Let’s face it, they look strange, they aren’t always sweet like fruit and, understandably, some children are hesitant to try them.
While Harry (5 years old) has always been a very confident eater and will try and devour most foods Megan (3 years old) has always been a ‘fussy eater’ and is very wary and stubborn about trying new things. As a parent I want my children to not only try healthy foods like vegetables, but also enjoy them!
When I was contacted and asked to try the ebooks from The See & Eat project, led by psychologists from the University of Reading, funded by European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food and supported by partners including the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) I couldn’t wait to check them out. They are all evidence based to support parents with encouraging young children to get excited about eating their veg. Megan loves books and I’m a firm believer in using books and stories to help children learn more about the world around them.
The ebooks are free to download and work through the ‘Our Story 2’ app (which is also free.) They are available in 6 different languages, which I think is great, and are really quick and easy to download and view.
Each book focuses on a different vegetable, there are loads to choose from and they all have bright photos on each page with information about how the vegetables are grown, harvested and cooked. The language used is child friendly and perfect for teaching toddlers about the food you want to encourage them to eat. I’m a firm believer that the preschool years are a really important time to teach children important life skills and values that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, including healthy eating habits and a good relationship with food.
I downloaded the books onto our tablet and let Megan choose which she wanted to read. We looked at them, talked about each vegetable and which we would like to try. (Don’t get me wrong, they have tried most vegetables before but like I say Megan is super fussy!) I also got some vegetables out of the kitchen so she could see the real thing while she learned about them. She loved matching up the vegetables to the ones she could see in the ebook and even took a bite out of a carrot while we were reading!
Now I’m not saying for a second that I think reading a book about a vegetable will magically mean your child starts eating them with no issues at all. Of course not. These things take time. But exposure to new foods is key if you want your children to try them and books are a great way to talk about things in a safe and calm way. Reading about vegetables to get children excited about them, then involving your little ones in preparing and cooking them for dinner are all really good ways to make your child feel more confident, in control of their food and more likely to try the things you want them to! I’m definitely going to keep reading them a little bit every day with Megan to increase her interest and then serve the vegetable we have been learning about. Even if she is still fussy, the books are bright, colourful, educational and don’t cost a penny! What have I got to lose!
As a parent I am wary of the amount of screen time my children have but also think that digital resources can be an incredible tool for children and parents, especially when they are providing learning opportunities. Let’s face it, technology is a huge part of our world today and something that most children have access to, so using it alongside real life experiences to support their wellbeing and learning will always be a win in my book.
Do you have any tips for encouraging young children to eat more vegetables? I’d love to hear what works for you! We are definitely going to continue using these books to get our children excited about vegetables. I love reading them the book about something they will eat for dinner, then letting them help cook it. It really does seem to help with my fussy little girl!
I can also see myself using these in school to support with Science, PSHE, DT and wellbeing. Let me know if you try them and what you think!
**This post is an ad, meaning I have been paid to share these resources with you. I only ever promote things that I genuinely like on my blog and would only ever share with you things that I would recommend to friends and family. If there’s ever something I don’t like, I’ll tell you. All opinions expressed are my own and I hope you find this review useful. **
Thanks for reading x