10 Genius Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Vegetables
10 Genius ways to get your kids to eat their vegetables
Do you struggle to get your kids to eat their vegetables? I know I do.
My son used to eat everything. Then he turned 2 ½. Now it’s almost impossible to get him to eat something other than pizza, chicken fingers or macaroni and cheese. Not exactly a well-balanced diet. I had to get creative, and come up with some fun and sometimes sneaky ways to get him to eat his veggies.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Make a large pot of vegetable soup, then add some small meatballs and fun noodle shapes. My son is really into the alphabet lately, so I have been adding some alphabet pasta. Animal shaped pasta has also been a hit. My son is so happy to be eating the various shapes and letters, that he doesn’t seem to mind the vegetables that are also making their way onto the spoon.
If your child won’t eat their vegetables, try having them drink it. Make a fancy smoothie by mixing some fruit, vegetables, and ice in a blender. Add a fancy straw, and your child may even surprise you by asking for seconds.
Set a good example
If your children see you eating their vegetables, they will be far more likely to eat it themselves. I know my children always think that whatever is on my plate is better than theirs, even if they are identical. If you are only eating unhealthy foods, and not eating your vegetables, it will be much harder to convince them to eat it themselves.
Dip can be magical. Grab some baby carrots, some red and yellow peppers, cucumbers or broccoli (mini trees as we call them), and add some ranch dip, hummus, guacamole, salsa or cheese sauce. Arrange them on a plate with your favorite vegetable dip on the side, and all of a sudden, the vegetables are more appealing to even the most discerning of toddlers.
Make it a work of art
Create faces or abstract art with various shapes and colors of vegetables. Make it together by seeing what kind of creations you can come up with. Use cucumbers for eyes, and a baby carrot as a nose. Make an abstract collage of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Before you know it, you’ll find them sampling their artwork.
My kids will eat just about anything if it is on a pizza. Make your own pizza at dinner, you can use pizza dough or even a sliced English muffin as the base. Add some pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and top with your veggies of choice. Put it in the oven until the cheese has melted, or according to the directions if you used a dough.
Make it Together
Have your child help you in the kitchen by finding age-appropriate tasks. Ask them to wash the vegetables, or help you stir. I find if my son helped make the meal, he is far more likely to eat it. You’ll be amazed how proud they are of the finished product.
Puree the vegetables and hide the vegetables in other food. Think of any dish your child enjoys, and think of creative ways to add some vegetables. The options are endless. If making pasta sauce, blend it with carrots, peppers or any other vegetables. Add boiled mashed cauliflower to mashed potatoes. Think of any dish your child enjoys, and think of creative ways to add some vegetables. If you are making meatballs, add shredded broccoli, zucchini or carrots.
give it a Fancy Name
I know if I call it broccoli, or vegetables my child is less likely to eat it. But when I started to ask him to eat the baby trees, he couldn’t get enough. Baby carrots can be “Olaf’s Nose”. Peppers can be sliced like boats and called “Pirate Ships”. Get creative. I did the same thing with apples. My son didn’t want to eat an apple one afternoon, but when I removed the core and sliced them into circles he was more than happy to eat the “apple cookies” I made. Seems silly, but it works.
“one bite” rule
According to researchers, children must be exposed to a food at least 8-10 times for the food to be accepted. Kids may just be less likely to try something that feels new and unknown. Keep exposing them to the food, and encourage the “one bite” rule, which requires the child try at least one solid bite of the food when it is served. After enough exposure to the food, and once it is less intimidating, the child is more likely to eat it on their own.
Give some of these ideas a try and figure out which work best with your child. It may take more than one try, but keep at it and offer vegetables at every meal. Sooner or later your children will start to develop a taste for veggies.
What are some creative ways you have found to encourage your children to eat more vegetables?