If you have a picky eater in your house, sometimes you have to be creative with how you’ll get them to eat their fruits and vegetables. While sneaking spinach into your berry smoothie can be a good place to start, we decided to ask three Vegatopian moms how they get their little munchkins to eat more of the good stuff. Here are the 8 practical tips they came up with.
1. Teach them
Teach them about how veggies make them amazing! Say your 5-year-old wants to be Spiderman. Okay, so Spiderman loves veggies because they give him the energy to climb buildings. Makes sense right?! Capitalize on this. Work it hard. Spiderman loves parsnips, we’re sure of it.
2. Let them help in the kitchen
Empower them to choose a few of their favorites; carrots, cucumbers, then add some broccoli. They may not eat the broccoli the first time, but if they participate in plating it a few times, you’ll be surprised. You can take this a step further and have your kids help you grow the veggies. This makes them feel AWESOME. They made those peas and lettuce, they OWN them. It’s magic. It worked with our kids, so it could work with anybody else’s!
3. dips and dressings
Let’s face it, veggies are better with hummus or ranch dressing. Try making your own vegan ranch dip (and let them help too).
4. Veggie Appetizers
You know that 1 hour before dinner? When your kids are starving and driving you a crazy? Slide a plate of veggies and dip into their playspace. Seriously, they don’t even realize they’re eating it. This is also magic.
5. hide Veggies in sauces
It’s amazing how kale looks like oregano when it’s .25 of a millimeter.
6. Consistency is Key
Continue to put it on their plates. I know it sounds so simple, but if you keep introducing something and don’t force them to eat it but do tell them that they have to try it, even just a small bite, after a while they will get used to it and their palates will adapt. Familiarity might just win over.
It is not about fighting with the kids, just showing them that there are alternatives and that it is a daily part of our lives. It’s just about continuously introducing them, hiding them, and/or making slight modifications.
7. Introduce Early
Strategic Account Manager, Melissa Hauser’s son Nolan is now 3-years-old, but he’s been easy to pea-se when it comes to eating vegetables.
“Perhaps I’m blessed, but I have a child who loves vegetables! Nolan’s favorite foods include peas, broccoli and carrot juice (he’s no health-nut though; he also loves vegan mac n’ cheese and frozen waffles!). Vegetables were the first foods that we introduced him too; steaming, pureeing and then freezing sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, and broccoli. He developed a taste for these vegetables years before we introduced him to sugar and processed foods, which I truly believe set the stage for healthful eating.
8. encourage trying
“We also have a house rule that you must try at least one bite of everything that’s on your plate during a meal. If you try it and hate it, then we can go back to a staple, but you must at least first try it. When I do feel that his veggie intake is low, we resort to smoothies. I plop lil’ man on the counter, and he helps me load up the blender with greens, cucumbers and fruits.”
How do you get your kids to eat vegetables?