How To Get Kids To Eat More Vegetables
Want to get your kids to eat more vegetables? As a dietitian, I’ve heard “Help, my kid won’t eat vegetables” over and over again. I know as a parent, one of your biggest concerns is raising healthy children. Good nutrition is so important for kids health and development. How do you get your kids to eat more vegetables? In this post, I’m sharing some of my top ways that you can use to get your kids to eat more vegetables.
Vegetables are a great way to boost the nutritional content of a meal or snack. One big but. But, many kids don’t like them. Or at least they think they don’t like them. Taste and often textures rules when it come to eating new foods. I have two little boys that love most vegetables. I’ll detail what I did that helped my kids to become vegetable lovers. It can work for your kids too.
My kids love most vegetables, but that didn’t happen by chance. It took some creativity and a little work. We all know the health benefits of eating vegetables, but what specifically is a certain vegetable good for. This doesn’t mean a complicated explanation on the biochemistry. I find my kids take well to talking about the nutrient properties of vitamins and minerals in simple terms. For example, carrots and sweet potatoes can help your eyes see better because of vitamin A.
Let’s dig in.
1. Allow them to choose vegetables from the grocery store
Kids like to decide for themselves, especially when they reach the ” I can do it myself” age. So let them have a choice in what’s on their plate. They will likely be more inclined to eat what they had a hand in choosing. Granted now that we’re staying out of the store more this will look different. They can still look through weekly circulars and select items online for grocery pick-up.
2. Let them help cook the vegetables
This doesn’t have to be giving a knife to a toddler, but if they’re anything like mine, they will ask for it. Involving them in the kitchen makes them a part of the cooking process. Whatever age-appropriate responsibility you decide is fine. It can be as simple as washing the produce and drying it. Or sprinkling it with seasoning. Who doesn’t like tasting the fruit of their labor? Or in this case the vegetables.
3. Drink Up
Adding vegetables to smoothies and juices is a must for some kids. They’re hardly detectable in smoothies, but depending on what you add it can change the color which is always fun. Leafy greens, beets, carrots, and celery all make great additions. You can make your own, or get them from the store. They usually go over better when paired with fruit to sweeten them.
4. Read about vegetables
Ideally, kids should be reading every day anyway, right? On your next trip to the library pick up a book about vegetables, trying new foods, or gardening. We’ve read many but two stand out. books “You Are What You Eat: And Other Mealtime Hazards” which you can get for less than $6 on Amazon. “The Two Bite Club” is a publication of the USDA and available for free download here. There is another “You Are What You Eat” book that might be helpful.
5. Grow a vegetable of your own
Kids love to get their hands dirty. To watch a seed grow to maturity is amazing for them to see. You can start small with one windowsill vegetable. My recommendation would be a cherry tomato because it’s super simple. They can be eaten raw as a snack or salad, or roasted for a flavorful addition to a dish. If you’re up for more of a challenge, plant a whole garden. Spring, summer, fall, and winter produce different seasonal vegetables. Get their input on what they want to grow, and get planting.
6. Lead by example
Not to step on any toes, but now is not the time to “do as I say and not as I do”. Everyone at the table should be eating vegetables. I know I can barely eat anything without a little hand reaching out for some. The same applies to vegetables. But they can’t want to eat your veggies, if you don’t have them.
7. Serve a vegetable as an appetizer
Pretend you’re a restaurant. Bring out the appetizer before the entree. In this case, the appetizer happens to always include a vegetable. A plate of salad, a small cup of vegetable soup, veggie sticks, the opportunities are endless. Get creative and have fun with it.
8. Prepare it different ways
Baked, steamed, roasted, raw. Give it a try a few different ways before you totally give up on it. One of my sons only likes carrots cold and raw, not cooked. So I serve him his carrots raw. Easy enough.
9. Camouflage them in other foods
If all else fails, just hide them into foods. Most mild-flavored vegetables of a similar color can be mixed in undetected. Think cauliflower in mashed potatoes. Squash and carrots in spaghetti sauce. You can puree most
Have you tried any of these tips? Let me know in the comments below what you think.