“My kids eat too many vegetables,” said no parent of small children, ever.
If you’re a mom or dad, you probably know how real the struggle is to get your child to eat one serving of vegetables a day, let alone follow the recommendation that kids should eat them with every meal.
Although it may not happen overnight, it is possible to turn your kids into vegetable lovers with a little creativity and patience. Here are ten tips to sneak more vegetables in!
Get Creative with Your Recipes
One of the best ways to get your kids to eat more vegetables is to surprise them by sneaking produce into recipes. Pureed broccoli or cauliflower can be added to macaroni and cheese and grated carrots and zucchini can be added to baked goods, such as muffins and bread.
Kid-friendly soups, lasagna, and chili are other great meal ideas for incorporating vegetables. Your kids will have no idea that they’re getting a serving of vegetables if they are hidden by other flavors!
Make Them Flavorful
On that note, let’s face it. Many vegetables taste pretty bland without any seasoning or flavoring. You can make vegetables more palatable by serving them with sauces or seasoning that enhance their flavor.
Brussels sprouts, for example, are much more delicious when sauteed in butter and lightly coated with a balsamic vinegar dressing than when you serve them boiled or raw.
Roasting certain vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, can enhance their sweetness. Use complementary herbs and dressings to add a little flavor punch to vegetables and make them more enticing to eat.
Lead By Example
Kids often love to copy their parents, and if they see you eating vegetables often and enthusiastically, they may want to be just like you. Set a healthy example by reaching for vegetables at snack time and making them a regular part of your own meals. It doesn’t make sense to encourage kids to eat vegetables if you’re not eating them yourself!
Grow Your Own
Growing your own produce is a fun way to teach kids where food comes from. If you get them involved in the process, they may be more likely to want to taste the results of their labor. Consider having them plant the seeds and pick the vegetables themselves.
If you don’t have the yard space or time to start a vegetable garden, you can still grow many things indoors, including lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots. If this is not an option, take your kids to a pick-your-own farm. There’s nothing like eating food that’s in season, and they may be excited to taste test what they pick!
Experiment With Variety
Most of us have flavor and texture preferences when it comes to food, and kids are no exception. Some like crunchy produce, such as cucumbers and red peppers, while others may like creamy foods like hummus or mashed sweet potatoes. If you can’t get your child to eat one particular vegetable, don’t get discouraged! Experiment with different ones until you find a few that they like.
Serve Them As Snacks
This does not have to be synonymous with serving vegetables plain. Instead, pair them with something that makes them more enjoyable to eat.
Serve carrots and peppers with hummus, celery with cream cheese and raisins (also known as ants on a log), or cucumber with cottage cheese. Any kind of raw, crunchy vegetable is suitable for dips, which many kids love!
Praise Your Child
Use positive reinforcement when your child tries a new vegetable or eats them with a meal. Tell them how proud you are of them that they gave it a try, even if they don’t like something. Encouraging them to try new foods is something they will carry with them right into adulthood.
Your kids don’t have to chew vegetables to get their nutritional benefits; they can drink them as well! Try making them various smoothie recipes that incorporate vegetables and interesting flavor combinations.
Have Fun With Them
It’s definitely okay to encourage your kids to play with their food, especially when you’re trying to get them to consume more vegetables. Consider presenting cut vegetables in a variety of ways to make them more fun. You can make a face out of them or arrange them to resemble flowers.
Avoid Veggie Burnout
It’s easy to get tired of vegetables if you’re eating the same ones with the same familiar meals. Try to give your family meals some variety by testing new recipes that include vegetables you haven’t had in some time, or preparing them in a new way.
Knowing How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables Doesn’t Have to Be a Struggle
Now you know how to get kids to eat vegetables, but maybe you simply don’t have the time to make a nutritious, home-cooked meal every day. The Lunch Mob can help!
Our lunch selections are never boring. In addition to offering the favorites your kids love, we’re constantly introducing new meals to expand their palate. Founded by a husband-and-wife team, we create healthy meals with veggies that kids are excited to try and that take the pressure off of the shoulders of busy parents.
Contact us to learn more about our new meal delivery service and how to give it a try!