Why is it so difficult to get kids to eat their vegetables? It's almost as if they are allergic to anything that is nutritious and good for them. If you've been battling with your kids over the veggies you serve on their plates, then you might want to check out the following tips:
1. Make Vegetables Fun
For this tip, it's all about being creative and thinking like a kid again. You want the vegetables on your child's plate to be associated with something fun, not something that's good for them. Here are some ideas you can try:
- Have an arts and crafts session with your kids, using only vegetables as your materials. Vegetables come in all shapes and sizes; use that to your advantage. Build a vegetable fort in the middle of a broccoli forest. When you're finished, have your child destroy the fort by taking bites out of it.
- Start having nightly contests with your kids to see who can eat the most vegetables. Fuel their competitive nature into something that can benefit them nutritiously.
- Let them use fun utensils for their vegetables. If they want to be messy and use their fingers, then let them! Try toothpicks, chopsticks, ridiculously large utensils, ludicrously small utensils and even items that aren't meant to be used as utensils like a toy shovel.
- Don't stop at the utensils. Find fun things to serve the vegetables on like a toy train, in a doll house or in a toy bucket.
2. Make Vegetables Look Appealing
Vegetables are great for adding more color to your child's plate. Serve up an assortment of vegetables, using as many colors as possible. Here are a few more ideas to make them presentable for a child:
- Cut the vegetables into smaller cuts.
- Make the vegetables look like other foods your kids enjoy, like carrot sticks made to look like fries.
- Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of vegetables.
- Create designs and messages on your child's plate using vegetables.
3. Have Them Drink Their Vegetables
Grab a blender or a juicer and start serving your kids their vegetables in liquid form. Make fun, healthy smoothies by blending vegetables with your child's favorite fruits. Try adding some spinach leaves to their strawberry smoothie, or mix some carrot juice with apple juice for a sweet treat. You'll be surprised how well you can mask the taste of vegetables when combined with fruit juices. It might take some trial and error, but you'll eventually find the right combinations your kids will love.
4. Disguise the Vegetables
A great way to get your kids to eat vegetables is by making them not look different. Vegetarians seem to have no trouble making some of their favorite, vegetable dishes look like meat. An example would be to serve a Portobello mushroom burger instead of a regular cheeseburger. Here are some other ways you can make your vegetables look like something else:
- If your kids aren't buying into the whole "drinking your vegetables" idea, try freezing the vegetable juice and turning them into popsicles.
- Just like a veggie burger, think of ways to disguise vegetables as meat dishes.
- Turn your kids' vegetables into a soup.
5. Serve Vegetables with Fun Dips and Spreads
Get your kids to enjoy their vegetables with healthy dips and spreads. A classic celery dish is "Ants on a Log," which uses peanut-butter and raisins as a fun and healthy spread for a common vegetable. Hummus and Greek yogurt are healthy dips you can use to entice your kids to eat more veggies.
6. Hide the Vegetables in Other Foods
Start turning vegetables into puree and use them as sauces or inject them into your child's favorite dishes. You can embed vegetables in dishes like meatloaf or mashed potatoes. If you're baking some carrot cake, try adding some broccoli bits to the recipe.
7. Let Them Prepare the Food with You
Let your kids be a part of the meal making process. This might encourage your kids to eat their vegetables since they'll take pride in the fact that they helped make the dish. Just make sure you are having them help you make the vegetable dishes they usually won't eat.
8. Make Vegetables the Only Food option
The hungrier your kids are, the harder it will be for them to turn down veggies if that's the only thing on the dinner menu. Eliminate their alternative snack options as well, like chips and cookies, and replace everything in the fridge and pantry with vegetables.
9. Bribe Your Kids to Eat Their Vegetables
One way you could get your kids to eat more vegetables is to reward them with candy or dessert. It may seem like you're just trading something that's nutritional for something that's not, but kids still need to be kids. Let them enjoy their sweets, but turn those sweets into an incentive for eating the stuff that's good for them.
10. Eat the Vegetables Yourself!
In some cases, a parent's own pickiness and dislike for vegetables is to blame for influencing and nurturing their child's own view of vegetables. If you won't eat broccoli, don't expect your kids to eat broccoli. One of the easiest ways to get your kids to eat their vegetables is to actually enjoy them yourself. Create vegetables dishes you enjoy, and teach your kids the values of eating healthier .