How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables
Getting kids to eat their vegetables is one of parenthood’s classic struggles. Some lucky parents have kids who eagerly chow down on whatever is put in front of them, while others have kids who insist on buttered noodles for every meal. It’s important for kids to get the fiber and nutrients found in vegetables to aid in the growth process, support healthy brain function, and strengthen their immune systems. Plus, eating nutritious foods helps them start a healthy habit at a young age. However, convincing kids to eat the recommended 1-3 cups of vegetables per day is easier said than done! With that in mind, we’ve compiled these hacks to get your kids to eat vegetables.
Tips for how to get kids to eat vegetables:
- Let kids choose. Being part of the decision helps kids feel in control and more excited about what is being served, so they are more likely to actually eat what’s on their plate.
- Serve veggies throughout the day. Include a serving of vegetables and fruit at lunch and dinner, and also provide them as snacks as well. This gives your kids more opportunity to eat a variety each day.
- Play with your food. Try playing games with your picky eaters. Encourage your child to eat leaves from a tree (broccoli) like a giraffe or Stegosaurus would. Get them to practice their numbers while counting how many peas they eat. Ask them to name other foods that are the same color as what they are eating — they may get distracted enough to eat without complaint.
- Use fun dishes and let your child help “plate” the food so it looks pleasing to them.
- Set a good example. Kids pick up on cues from adults, so it’s important for them to see you eat and enjoy a wide range of fruits and vegetables.
Hopefully a combination of the above tips help to get your kids to eat more vegetables, but if you need to, there’s nothing wrong with using a few tricks. These stealthy solutions are great ways to make sure your kids eat their veggies — and they’ll have no idea! Pro tip: these tips are also useful for adults looking to up their veggie intake.
Sneaky Ways to Serve Veggies:
- Add cauliflower to your mashed potatoes. Simply steam cauliflower and mash with your cooked potatoes until they are blended. Once seasoned, your kids will never know the difference. (Speaking of cauliflower, check out this article for different ways to serve it.)
- Hide them in meat. Grate carrots, mushrooms, or squash into ground turkey, beef, or plant-based crumbles. Use the grounds to make pasta, burgers, or meatloaf and enjoy your sneaky serving of veggies.
- Add to sauces. Hide mushrooms and carrots in tomato sauce, steamed sweet potato or butternut in a mac & cheese sauce, and steamed cauliflower in an Alfredo sauce. A good blender will help make the vegetables disappear.
- Make smoothies. Blend fruit and greens into drinks so delicious, kids will have no idea they are drinking something “healthy.”
- Embrace Zoodles. Mix zucchini noodles with traditional noodles and hide them all under a yummy sauce. Over time, increase the amount of zucchini in your child’s meal. It doesn’t have to be zucchini every time — check out this article for other veggies that make a delicious pasta substitute.