As parents, we want our kids to eat a well balanced and healthy diet that contains a good amount of fruits and vegetables. Getting kids to eat those vegetables you put on their plate at mealtime can be a little tougher though. Can you get kids to eat more veggies? Here are a few tips to help get your kids to eat, and maybe even enjoy their vegetables.
How To Get Kids to Eat More Veggies
Set a Good Example
Make sure that you are setting a good example for your children. If you are putting vegetables on their plates, but they don’t see you eating some as well they are much less likely to give them a chance. When you sit down for dinner, make sure that they see you eating your vegetables first.
Let Them Help
When it is time to start preparing dinner or lunch get your kids involved. Show them how to wash the vegetables, maybe even let them peel some. Let them watch as you steam broccoli or cauliflower and once it has cooled a little bit let them place it on everyone’s plate. By involving them in the preparation, and allowing them to help serve the vegetables you are giving them some control and ownership and they may be more likely to at least try the vegetables that they helped you to prepare.
You can also include your children when you are choosing vegetables at the grocery store. Ask them which vegetables they would like to try at home. You might be surprised by their choices, and at how they clean their plate.
Mix Vegetables into Family Favorites
If your family already has some favorite dishes like spaghetti or macaroni and cheese it offers you an opportunity to mix some vegetables into the dish that your kids may not even notice. Cauliflower is a good vegetable to start with for this, you can chop it very finely and add it right into the dish.
If you are cooking ground beef for taco’s, chili, or sloppy joes this is another opportunity to add some veggies into the meal. Throw some cauliflower, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and whatever other veggies you like into the food processor and dice them finely. Just add them to the ground beef when you are cooking it and your kids won’t even know that they are there.
Replace Pasta and Rice with Vegetables
Instead of using rice for your stir fry or as the base for a casserole try using riced cauliflower instead. You can make it yourself or simply buy it frozen. If your family likes spaghetti or pasta-based dishes try using zoodles or zucchini noodles instead of traditional pasta. You can make the switch without telling the family, or you can let your kids in on some kitchen fun to help make the zoodles or riced cauliflower.
Serve Them with Dip
Consider offering raw vegetables like carrots, broccoli, sugar snap peas, or red peppers with a choice of dipping sauces for your kids to choose from. You can offer ranch, hummus, or honey mustard dip for your children to dip the vegetables in. Making up a colorful plate of vegetables and some dipping sauce on the side can make vegetables a more tempting snack than other less healthy options.
Season Before Serving
No one wants to eat bland steamed broccoli fresh from the steamer. Use the seasonings that your family loves like garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to give them a delicious flavor that the whole family is sure to enjoy.
Don’t Give Up
Don’t turn the dinner table into a battleground but continue offering vegetables to your children regularly. You have to try new foods several times before acquiring a taste for them. You may also find that it is not so much the vegetables themselves but how they are prepared. Someone who hates steamed cauliflower may love it when it has been sauteed or roasted.
Hide Vegetables in Dessert
If all else fails keep putting vegetables on the plate, but try sneaking them into dessert as well. This doesn’t work with all vegetables but it does work with some such as sweet potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, zucchini, and black beans. You can easily find recipes online that incorporate these vegetables into delicious desserts and no one will ever know they are there unless you tell them.
The tips above are tried and true methods to get kids to eat more veggies or at least try them. Not all methods will work for every child of course, but hopefully, at least a couple of them will have your kids eating their vegetables in no time.