Hands up if the only veggies your kids eat are potatoes! I thought so. All parents do struggle and are desperate to find ways to get kids to eat vegetables. The challenge seems to span right through the kids’ childhood. I parent kids within the 11 – 17-year-old range. Some still avoid vegetables.
Besides ensuring that you limit the junk and sugar that the kids consume, there are quick wins that will encourage them to eat more veggies.
Quick tips to get kids to eat vegetables
Most of these tips will work well for younger children.
Hide the vegetables in their favorite foods. I had to resort to this idea back in the day when my son was 3. He still loved his rice and potatoes (not quite a complete nutrition source when consumed alone, day in, and day out). I’d mash peas or pumpkin into these favorite foods of his, and he was none the wiser. Another hack that works is to cook the vegetables, then add fun food like alphabet noodles. They may be distracted enough not to pay attention to the veggies in their plates. Another sneaky tactic of mine was to grate carrots and cook them with mashed potatoes. Older children may appreciate a cheese-covered vegetable bake.
My niece makes quite a mean tomato based pasta sauce. It is loaded with veggies, and my picky eater daughter loves it. Here are some recipes to help you hide veggies in food.
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Make them drink their veggies instead. Make their favorite smoothies, and sneak in some vegetables into the blender. My 11-year daughter loves to make smoothie ice lollies. I always encourage her to throw in some veggies as well. Vegetable soup is another fail-proof way to get kids to eat vegetables. When blending and juicing vegetables, you’ll lose some fiber, but it’s still better than no veggies at all.
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Switch them to raw vegetables and dips. It could be that your kids will find the crunchy veggies and dips more palatable than the cooked variety. You can find various recipes for dips on recipe sites. Younger children will prefer colorful vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers.
Experiment with a variety of salads. Once you find the hit, stick to it. It’s better to serve the same thing repeatedly, rather than having unfinished leftovers piling up in the refrigerator. As you experiment, you will build up a variety of salad dishes that your kids will eat. A spiralized carrot salad is a perfect way to get the kids to eat more veggies. You can serve it with their spaghetti and favorite sauce (mixed together). you can find more vegetable based and kid friendly salads here.
Get the kids to help make a vegetable pizza. Take care to ensure that you use the vegetables that they prefer. It won’t help much if you include olives (which no kid seems to like, at all). Stacie has an impressive recipe (below) that will have your kids asking for more.
Lastly…….Get them involved in the kitchen. My daughter fell in love with spinach once he knew how to cook it. We experimented with creamed spinach made only from the cream cheese. She was pleasantly surprised that she could pull it off and has become her favorite vegetables now.
Dealing with picky eaters can be difficult. I hope the above food tips will make the kids more enthusiastic about meal times. Do you have any tips that are not mentioned above? Please do share.