The clean plate debate
A lot of children grow up with the clean plate club. This exclusive club is only excused from the table if you finish your entire plate, including the ever so daunting vegetable serving. One of the problems with the clean play club is it can cause children and, later, adults to have a poor relationship with vegetables.
Registered dietitian Carla Nowicki shared four tips for how to discontinue the clean plate club, while improving the vegetable intake in your house.
- Increase vegetable intake when hungry. When dinner is still being made and you and your kids are hungry, have grab and go veggies out to munch on while you wait on dinner. This could be carrot sticks, bell pepper slices or cucumber slices. If someone is only hungry for sugary snacks, they are probably not actually hungry.
- Try new vegetables. Trying new things can be hard, especially for children. As a parent, avoid negative talk about food. Your kids look up to you and if you have a positive outlook on your food, that will help to instill in the positivity in your kids.
- Try it. You can’t say you don’t like something if you haven’t tried it. It can take up to 10 times of trying a new food before you truly know you don’t like it. If you don’t like something after multiple tries, don’t eat it. There are no specific foods that your body can’t live without.
- Have a “no thank you helping.” Provide a smaller portion that doesn’t have to be fully eaten, but it needs to be given a try. This teaches children that trying new things like vegetables is normal. Have a rule where if they try, they get a dessert option. This gives the child the choice to try or not, yet it entices them to do something that might be a little scary at first with the offering of a dessert as a reward.
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