Getting kids used to vegetables can start in the womb says Assoc Prof Richard Rosenkranz from Kansas State University.
Studies show that pregnant women who eat more foods with bitter phenolics like kale and Brussel sprouts, have children who are more receptive to them when they try them for the first time.
Here are some ways to win the war...
1. Provide repeated exposure to the food, perhaps 1/ fortnight to month.
2. Focus your attention and praise on the child's willingness to consume the food.
3. Set a good example by eating a variety of vegetables ie practise what you preach! Your kids need to see you eating veggies similar to the ones you are serving them.
4. Start with sweeter veggies like sweet potato and carrot.
5. Encourage toddlers to pick up corn kernels or peas to develop their tactile and fine motor skills while getting their veggies in.
6. Cut veggies up or arrange into smiley faces or animals.
7. Involve children in cooking and food preparation as early as 5 years of age, and increase their role in the kitchen as they grow.
8. Grow some veggies in the garden and get the kids involved in looking after the crop - this can be herbs in a pot!
9. Let them help you select veggies at the grocery store.
10. Grate veggies into bean or meat patties, pasta sauce, frittata, shepherds pie etc.
"When teens become adults, what they may remember most is not what they were told to eat but what they saw their parents consume. A food choice is always about more than just one meal, here and now. It's part of a bigger picture" (Assoc Prof Rosenkranz).
Good luck in the veggie battlefield...