How can I Get My LIttle Ones to Eat veggies?
Is it a daily struggle for you to get your kids to eat their veggies? You know about the vital nutrients and vitamins veggies provide, but explaining the science to your little one is not the way to persuade them. If you struggle to get that plate cleared of veggies at mealtime, keep reading this article for more tried and true tips to help get your kids to eat more veggies!
- Be consistent. Offer vegetables with every meal. Vegetables can have a starring role in a meal or just be a supporting player as a side dish.
- Let kids participate in choosing veggies. Take your kids grocery shopping or ask their opinion when you are meal planning. They will feel involved and have a sense of control. Eating veggies won’t feel like a forced thing for them.
- Serve vegetables that you know they like. Your kids don’t have to love every vegetable. Some vegetables taste better to kids than others. Also, ask them how they want their veggies cooked. For example, if they love carrots, ask if they want them raw, steamed or roasted that day.
- Plant a vegetable garden. Whether it’s a full garden or just some potted plants, get your kids excited about vegetables by involving them in the planting process. Grab the kids and go to a local nursery. Pick out seeds and map out a backyard garden together. Make watering the garden a daily chore of theirs. Before long, they will be so anxious to pick all the ripe veggies, and they will feel proud of their cultivating work.
Make veggies fun. Add yummy dips to encourage veggie eating. Try setting up a fun taste test with a variety of vegetables paired with dips. You could include low-fat Greek yogurt, hummus, or low-fat ranch dips. Salad dressings add flavor to veggies, too! In fact, here at Toss Salads & Wraps, we have 18 different dressings to choose from. There is sure to be an option that your kids love!
- Make creative names. Kids have wild imaginations. Entertain them and make veggies more appealing by naming the snack. For example: call spinach and hummus dip ‘Hulk’ dip or offer a fresh veggie tray with the colors of the rainbow.
- Serve veggies in shapes. Use cookie cutters to cut veggies into fun shapes like stars or hearts.
How can I cook veggies in a tasty way?
It’s important to know the difference in cooking methods so you can bring out the flavor and texture that is to your child’s liking. Let’s explore some cooking methods:
- Roast vegetables- a great way to bring out a caramelized flavor, which sometimes tastes better to kids.
- Steam vegetables- a great way to soften vegetables if your child doesn’t like the crunch. You can control how soft you steam them.
- Sauté vegetables- a great way to soften vegetables while infusing them with the flavors in your pan.
- Oven-fry vegetables- this makes for some tasty, crunchy vegetables and can entice picky eaters without all the added fat from deep-frying.
What are some kid friendly recipes?
Pizza: This is a great way to pack in some veggies while still serving what is possibly one of their favorite foods. Involve your kiddos. Have them put the toppings on the pizza. Instead of topping it with meat, have an assortment of colorful veggies that they can place on top. You can even make the pizza crust out of cauliflower.
Taco bowls: With meat on the bottom, let your kids top their bowl with an assortment of veggies. Fresh salsa may include tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro. A little lime juice can change up the flavor. Put it in a fun colored bowl, too!
Snack plate: Did you grow up eating “ants on a log”? You know, the traditional celery sticks with peanut butter inside topped with raisins.
Quesadillas: Cheese and veggie quesadillas on a whole-wheat tortilla with finely diced bell peppers or tomatoes that melt in the cheese.
What example are you setting?
Be a veggie role model and show your children the importance of a healthy diet by eating plenty of vegetables yourself. Their observation of you, along with regular conversations about the role vegetables have in building a strong body, lays the foundation of lifelong healthy eating habits for your entire family.
When you choose a fast food place, do you choose healthy options? A perfect example of being a role model in this department is choosing fresh food fast at Toss Salads & Wraps.
How can I sneak veggies into foods?
Be sneaky! Mix veggies into your kid’s favorite dishes, such as Mac & Cheese and pizza. Puree veggies into a creamy soup that you know they like. Hide the veggies by rolling them up with meat and other flavors in a wrap. In fact, at Toss Salads & Wraps, you can make any salad into a wrap. It’s an excellent option for kiddos! I always enjoyed a wrap more than a traditional sandwich when I was a kid.
How can I educate my kids on the importance of eating veggies?
Kids need more than just facts. The phrase “it’s good for you,” just won’t be sufficient. Instead, empower kids with the knowledge to pick the perfectly ripened veggie when they are grocery shopping with you. Teach them to use their five senses along with descriptive words that will help them articulate what they like and don’t like about foods.
If you can’t grow a garden, visit a local farm. Often when kids learn about where food comes from and the farm-to-table process of growing and cooking that comes before eating, they’re more likely to be interested and excited to eat. No farm nearby? Visit a local farmer’s market to buy local produce. Interview the farmers casually and pique the interest of your kids.
Keep it familiar. Children aren’t known for their adventurous palette. If it were up to kids, many would eat one of three things every day and night. Keep vegetables familiar by pairing new options with favorite meals or mixing them in entrees.
Involve your children!
The more kids are involved, the more they are willing to try their creations. Try this: With your kids, cook cauliflower multiple ways – mashed, riced, roasted, steam, blended. Then ask which way they liked it best. With all of these different options, you are sure to find at least one way they enjoy cauliflower! Also, a good recommendation is to work with familiar flavors. Many children are familiar with an Italian seasoning blend, so try sprinkling that on the veggies.
What can you do daily for veggie consumption?
- Serve veggies first. If your family is in the habit of not finishing their veggies with their meal, think about serving them as an appetizer. When people are hungry, they are more likely to clear their plate and the veggies will be gone. After veggies, move onto grains, protein, and dairy. Enjoy fruit as a dessert!
- Make snacks count. Snack time is another opportunity to get the veggies in! Try packing lunches with vegetable snacks. Serve veggies and dip as an after-school snack. It’s a great way to make snack time vitamin and nutrient packed.
- Make breakfast green. There’s a popular myth that breakfast needs to be composed strictly of breakfast foods. However, fruits and veggies add to a great easy and healthy breakfast. Think about warm avocado, mashed and spread on toast, or sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. You can also prepare egg muffins with veggies ahead of time.
Don’t give up! Do what works for your family. Remember that taste buds change, so try the same foods often. Have fun experimenting with your little ones.