From early childhood, some children absolutely love vegetables but at some point, as they get older, most children seem to get quite picky about what vegetables they will or will not eat. It may seem impossible to get your child to eat his or her veggies but it doesn’t have to be! Even the pickiest eater will willingly eat their vegetables as long as it isn’t forced or made to seem like a punishment. Every child is created uniquely so it’s a matter of finding what works best for your child to get them to love their veggies. Below, we’ve provided some wonderful tips to help you get your child eat more vegetables.
1) Always Provide a Side of Vegetables
No matter what the meal, always have a side of vegetables on your child’s plate. It can be a side of corn, something creamy and mashed, some steamed veggies with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (which has a cheesy flavor but is plant-based and is a great source of vitamin B12), or even added to a soup or main dish. Exposing your child to a variety of vegetables from a young age increases his or her chance of eating that food as an adult.
2) Create a Dish Where Vegetables are the Main Course
A great way to do this is to make one day each week completely meat-free. Meatless Mondays has become quite popular around the world and offers families the opportunity to eat vegetarian or vegan and open their eyes to foods they may not normally eat. An abundance of vegetables with grains and different seasonings can be so delicious that your child won’t even notice it’s healthy! You can make a veggie pizza, veggie soup, veggie casserole…again the possibilities are endless!
3) Hide the Veggies
There’s no harm in hiding your child’s vegetables within a dish. You can steam and puree butternut squash and tomatoes into a sauce or soup, add spinach and/or avocado to a breakfast or lunch smoothie, add veggies like beets, cucumbers, and swiss chard to a morning juice, and your child won’t even notice when mixed with other ingredients. Greens like kale, spinach, and swiss chard offer amazing nutrients and vitamins like Vitamin K, C, and A as well as iron, calcium, fiber, and a load of antioxidants.
4) Bake Them Into Recipes – Similar to Hiding the Veggies
You can make delicious breads and muffins with zucchini, carrot, or pumpkin and your child won’t ever know there is a veggie in there! Add them to a delicious egg bake in the morning as well. Again, the possibilities are endless.
5) Keep it Simple
Serve a variety of vegetables as a snack during the day with a healthy dipping sauce or even almond butter! Carrots and celery taste great with almond butter and children will love the combination of crunch and sweetness. Make the veggie plates you serve creatively pretty too – children love presentation and if their vegetables look delicious, chances are they’ll actually want to eat them!
Good luck! Vegetables are so good – Just make sure you’re setting a positive example and don’t force them on your child like a punishment. Make it fun and creative!