7 Simple Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables
I can’t tell you how many times I wondered as a mom of toddlers how I could get my boys to eat their veggies! Luckily, I came up with some pretty simple solutions and I’m happy to say my teenage boys love their vegetables!
Here are 7 simple ways to get kids to eat their vegetables:
Serve vegetables first, then the main dish. If you do not allow your kids to snack or have beverages other than water before dinner, they will come to the table hungry and eat what you put in front of them! In a recent study, it was found that the main factor in whether your child will eat his veggies is what else he is served. When he is served something he loves, he will eat all of that and less of his veggies. When he is served a main dish he doesn’t like so much, he will eat more of the vegetables. By serving the vegetables first, you make the main dish a non-issue. (And if you think about it, this works for adults too… You’re much more likely to eat your salad when you aren’t already full from eating a burger, right?)
Add flavor to your vegetables with butter, cheese, or a dip! Research shows that kids are more likely to eat their vegetables when paired with dip, and who doesn’t like butter or cheese with your vegetables!? Have a child who doesn’t eat dairy? No worries! Here is a delicious dairy-free ranch recipe to try!
Add vegetables to your kids’ smoothies! This was how I first got my boys to eat kale and spinach, which they both now eat steamed. Plus your little kids can help you push the buttons on the blender, which they love to do! Never made a green smoothie? Here is an easy tutorial on how to make a green smoothie your kids will love.
Disguise the vegetables in other dishes. One of my kids thought the green stuff in my lasagna was parsley. I let him believe that for 4 years! Once he decided he liked spinach, I confessed it was spinach in his lasagna all along. This is also a really fun way to make desserts and feel like you’re feeding your child something semi-healthy. Try this spinach brownie recipe! Your kids will never know…
Start a family garden. Have you noticed that family gardens are totally in vogue right now? From prepping your backyard to planting the seeds to harvesting vegetables, a garden is an amazing learning opportunity for your child AND an easy way to get her to eat vegetables! If you don’t have space for a garden, you can join a community garden or go pick fresh fruits/vegetables at a “you pick” farm. Children who “hate vegetables” will pick and eat green beans, tomatoes, kale, and other vegetables, and munch on them without even realizing what they’re doing!
Give your child more choice. I’ll admit this does not make dinner time easier (and I love anything that makes my life easier as a mom) but it does work. If you make two vegetables, or even one vegetable prepared two different ways (i.e. raw broccoli vs. steamed), your child can choose which vegetable to eat. Control over one’s food choices is empowering!
Finally, practice what you preach! It doesn’t work if you say, “This is really good for you,” but then you do not model healthy eating.
Getting your children to eat vegetables is an age old problem. I wish you the best, and be sure to keep trying! It is said that a child needs to try a vegetable 10 times before they will deem it “safe.”
-Kara a.k.a. Epic Engineer
7 Simple Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables at www.funwhystories.com