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Five practical and effective ways to get your kids to eat more veggies

ways to get your kids to eat more veggies

Are you ready to tackle one of the most common challenges we face in the realm of parenting? Yep, you guessed it—getting our little ones to eat more vegetables. It’s like trying to convince them that broccoli is actually a superhero in disguise, right (it never worked for me!)? Well, fear not! In this blog post, we’re diving headfirst into the veggie battle and equipping you with some tried-and-true strategies to win the war. Because let’s face it, we all want our kids to develop healthy eating habits and get those essential nutrients.

1. Start with yourself.

When it comes to getting our kids to eat more vegetables, one of the most powerful tools we have is ourselves. Yep, you heard it right – leading by example is key! Kids are incredibly perceptive, and they look up to us as their role models. So, if they see us chowing down on those veggies with enthusiasm, chances are they’ll follow suit. It might not be today, and it might not be tomorrow, but as with most things parents – consistency and patience is key. It took me some years to get my kids to eat more veggies, but now my oldest will ask for a salad even when we are out! Trust me, I thought this would never happen.

One of the simplest ways to show your kids that veggies are important is by consistently including them in your own meals. Whip up delicious stir-fries, salads, or roasted veggies as a regular part of your family’s dinner routine. If your kids see you enjoying those greens, and they’ll be more likely to give them a try too.

Another easy way to introduce your kids to vegetables is to make the process of exploring vegetables a family adventure. You can take your kids grocery shopping or to the farmers’ market and involve them in choosing different vegetables to try. Try talking about their colors, textures, and flavors. If you let them have a say in the veggies that end up on their plates, they are more likely to at least try them. It is common knowledge in child development that when kids feel involved and empowered, they are more likely to embrace the experience.

2. Make it fun.

Who said veggies have to be boring? Grab a cookie cutter or a knife and start transforming those veggies into fun shapes. Carrot stars, cucumber hearts, or zucchini flowers—the possibilities are endless! Get your kids involved in the cutting process (safety first, of course) and watch their eyes light up with delight as they discover a plate full of vegetable masterpieces. Or least not cry when these carrot stars appear on their dinner plate!

Let’s bring the fun of food-on-a-stick to the veggie realm. Thread colorful veggies onto skewers and transform them into veggie kebabs. Whether it’s cherry tomatoes, chunks of bell peppers, or even roasted Brussels sprouts, these edible skewers will add a playful twist to mealtime. Bonus tip: Let your kids assemble their own kebabs! They will love helping you and are more likely to eat their own creations.

Do you have your own garden? Consider involving your kids into growing fresh veggies. They will love playing with dirt when you’re first planting the seeds. I know my kids did – in fact, that was their favorite part! Ask them to help you water the plants, and then follow the growth cycle. The pride and joy they’ll feel when harvesting their own vegetables will make them eager to taste the literal fruits (or veggies) of their labor.

3. Make veggies the star of the plate – or hide them well!

Experiment with different cooking methods and preparations to find the ones that appeal to your child’s taste buds. Roast vegetables to bring out their natural sweetness and enhance their flavors. Sauté them with a little garlic and olive oil for added depth. Steam veggies to retain their vibrant colors and maintain their crispness. Offer fresh uncooked carrots, cucumbers, peppers and cherry tomatoes in cute bowls. By offering vegetables in various forms, you increase the chances of finding a cooking method that your child enjoys.

You could try creating sauces and dips that feature vegetables as the main ingredient. Blend steamed cauliflower or butternut squash into a creamy pasta sauce. Puree roasted red peppers or carrots for a flavorful dip. These veggie-centric condiments not only add a burst of flavor but also sneak in extra nutrients without compromising taste. I always use my KitchenAid Mixer to help with this task.

Put your creative hat on and find ways to incorporate vegetables into your child’s favorite dishes. Finely chop or grate vegetables like carrots, zucchini, or spinach and add them to meatballs, burgers, or meatloaf. Sneak pureed vegetables into tomato sauce or chili for an added nutritional boost. The key is to maintain the familiar flavors while increasing the nutrient content of the meal.

4. Make it playful.

You can turn it into a game. Start by organizing a taste test challenge. Gather a variety of vegetables, both familiar and new, and invite your kids to try them and rate their favorites. Encourage descriptive discussions about flavors, textures, and preferences. This not only makes veggie time interactive but also empowers your kids to express their opinions and develop their taste buds.

Celebrate every step your child takes toward embracing vegetables. Whether it’s trying a new veggie, eating a full serving without fuss, or discovering a new favorite recipe, acknowledge their accomplishments with praise and rewards. Positive reinforcement and celebration create a supportive environment that encourages continued veggie exploration.

5. Be patient and persistent.

Last but not least, is what I would consider the more effective way to get more veggies into your kids’ diet. Changing eating habits and preferences takes time, and it’s crucial to stay committed and resilient.

Remember, developing a love for vegetables is a gradual process. Your child’s taste buds and preferences are still evolving, and it may take multiple exposures to a vegetable before they develop a liking for it. Don’t be discouraged by initial rejections or picky behavior. Stay patient and keep offering a variety of veggies in different forms and preparations.

love veggies

Continue to show enthusiasm for vegetables, include them in your meals, and involve your kids in cooking and mealtime. By consistently prioritizing and enjoying vegetables, you create an environment that fosters healthy eating habits and positive associations with veggies.

Try providing a wide range of options. This way you expose your child to a variety of tastes and increase the likelihood of finding veggies they enjoy. Be open to trying new vegetables and preparing them in different ways to keep things interesting.

Maintain a positive and encouraging atmosphere around vegetables. Avoid pressuring or forcing your kids to eat veggies. Instead, focus on creating a relaxed and enjoyable mealtime environment. Celebrate every small step and accomplishment, whether it’s trying a bite of a new vegetable or finishing a serving without complaints. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in shaping healthy eating habits.

Remember, the journey to getting your kids to eat more vegetables is unique to your family. Stay patient, be persistent, and adapt your approach as needed. With time and a positive mindset, you’ll witness the gradual transformation of your child’s relationship with vegetables.

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