My usual response to this is that the parent is likely not eating the vegetables that they want the child to eat, or, more often, the parent does not expect the child to enjoy the presented “healthy” food. This article may provide some insight.
Researchers conducted a small focus group of 7-9 yr old children and gathered some interesting data. First, presenting fruits and veggies as “good for you” or “healthy” was not the most effective tool to increase intake. Yet I think this is the approach many parents take.
It was found that pleasurable experiences and fun activities surrounding the intake of fruits and veggies were associated with increased likelihood of intake. Associate healthy foods with time spent with your children, picnics or any other fun association you can make. Keegan has always found it funny to steal food off of my plate, trying to get me to look away so he could swipe an olive, artichoke, grape or piece of fruit. It was a game to him. Healthier foods were never promoted as being healthy–rather, I’ve always stressed that we don’t eat foods that are high in “chemicals.”
As always, this starts with the parents. Diet, stress levels and physical activity are all passed on to our children, whether we do so willingly or not. Make no mistake–if you eat poorly, there is NO way your children will. If you don’t make exercise a priority, your children will not understand. If you stress, no matter how much you THINK you are hiding it from your children, they will pick up those signals and forever alter the way they deal with life’s problems.