Okay, so your child doesn’t want to eat vegetables. Now, what? Let’s look at a few tips that may actually help your child crave veggies. Here’s How to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Vegetables!
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You’ve probably heard it said a million times, “Kids are like sponges.” Children watch their parents, even when parents think they aren’t paying any attention. Not only are children observant, they usually mimic their parents’ mannerisms and their likes and dislikes.
This is especially true when it comes to mealtime. It’s awfully hard to tell your child to eat their broccoli if you, as their parent, do not eat broccoli. It goes back to the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do” and that never seems to work well.
Who says that mealtime has to be boring? One of the tricks to get kids to eat their vegetables is to make mealtime fun and engaging. Food presentation really is important. Did you know that’s why most restaurants serve food on white plates? The colors of food really stand out against white dinnerware.
A couple years ago I wrote a blog post called 12 Cute Christmas Breakfast Ideas for Kids. It has been a huge hit on Pinterest and in 2017, it was featured on the Racheal Ray website. Why? Because it’s all about being creative and enticing kids to enjoy eating their food.
Consider turning vegetables into darling animal figures. A cute dog (as shown in the picture below) can be made by using a variety of fresh vegetables. Plus, it’s the perfect finger food for little ones! Kids will giggle while they munch on the doggie’s tail or ears. You can also encourage them even more by asking which body part they will eat next.
Since most children love dipping things, have a little veggie dip on the side and watch how quickly the veggie dog disappears!
How to make a Veggie Dog
Use part of a green pepper for a doggie’s face, two cherry tomatoes for eyes (cut a small section out), a black olive for a nose with two halves of an olive for eyeballs, slices of cucumbers create ears and a tail, part of a cucumber or pickle for the body, two snow peas for legs and two chunks of carrots for feet.
Normally vegetables lose out to other foods that may not be as healthy. Children will usually pick foods such as chips, chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese and French fries over vegetables any day of the week. Therefore help kids make the right choices by serving vegetables by themselves before any other food is on the table. Since they will be hungriest at the beginning of the meal, they will be more apt to eat more veggies.
Another idea is to hide vegetables inside other foods. My daughter, Anna, wrote a blog post called 10 Sneaky Ways to Add Spinach to Your Diet. Spinach is ridiculously healthy so she hides it in things such as spaghetti sauce, smoothies, omelets and much more.
Deceptively Delicious Cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld is a great book loaded with recipes and tips on how you incorporate hidden vegetables in your cooking. Sometimes using a kid’s food tray can help with creativity too.
I learned a lot about growing vegetables because I grew up on a farm with a mother who is an avid gardener. Looking back on my childhood, I now realize that we ate some of the best organic food on the planet!
Let me tell you from personal experience that children are much more interested in eating vegetables if they personally have a hand in growing them. Not only will your child learn how plants grow, you can spend quality time together and make some tremendous memories.
Believe it or not, shopping for groceries presents a great teaching opportunity. Young children love spending time with a parent who is plugged in and engaged! Even if that activity is as simple as picking out the best head of lettuce at the supermarket or farmers market.
I remember shopping with my mother when I was a child. As we walked up and down the aisles, she taught me how to pick the best watermelon or cantaloupe, the difference between a yam and sweet potato, the different varieties of lettuce and much, much more. These were just a few life lessons my mother taught me at a young age. I think they have served me well.
Your children will be much more interested in eating their vegetables if they are involved in choosing and preparing meals. If they are old enough, allow them to help you in the kitchen and consider buying several kids cookbooks.
Remember the picture of the cute dog made from vegetables? Let your child’s creativity flow. Perhaps they will surprise you with their talent.
Remember to be creative and hopefully, your kids will grow to love eating their vegetables too!
Here’s to having healthy meals and healthy children! Happy eating!
More great ideas: