For years, parents have been struggling to get their kids to eat their vegetables. It starts when they are still eating baby food. You go out of your way to sing songs and play games, but if it’s green, it’s not going in.
When children get older, they’re sneaking veggies under their plates, hiding them in their shoes and even giving them to the dog!
Teenagers may just leave them on their plate altogether!
So, what’s a mom or dad do to make sure their child gets the nutrition they need? Here are a few ideas.
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Add Dip: Your kids might not like fruits or veggies, but they will be a lot tastier, and a lot more fun, when served with a nutritious and delicious dip.
Humus, salsa, peanut butter, low fat ranch and yogurt are all great options for dips that will make your child’s meals healthy and enjoyable. Just put in raw vegetables, cut fruit or even bite sized healthy snacks to make sure your children eat a nourishing meal.
Pack a Lunch from Home: A lot of parents may choose to buy school meals rather than pack meals themselves for the convenience factor alone. However, packing a meal from home means you have more control over what your child eats and there is a greater chance of them eating something nutritious.
To make kids even more excited about their home lunches, give them the option to prepare meals themselves. This will give them a feeling of pride and make them more inclined to eat the healthy stuff they packed.
In fact, getting kids to help in the preparation of any meal will make them feel more motivated to eat it.
The Food Processor is Your Best Friend: When serving veggies to your child, your blender or food processor can be your best friend. Put in veggies and process them so that they are as finely chopped as possible. Then add them to food.
Pureed veggies can work well in dishes like macaroni and cheese, lasagna, stews and more.
And when thinking of using blenders for food prep, smoothies can take on a whole new meaning for parents who are trying to get their kids to eat more veggies. Veggies can easily be hidden in a fruity, delicious smoothie with yogurt and other nutritious ingredients added.
Make Them a Main Ingredient: While pureed veggies can be thinly chopped and hidden in dishes, there are also ways you can hide them in plain sight!
Kids may not like veggies, but they do love pizza! Try adding veggie toppings to pizza for a dish they will love, and that you will feel good about. Or do one better by making a pizza with a cauliflower crust.
Veggies can be cut thin to make great tasting ‘fries’. Zucchini pasta can also be a great way to sneak veggies into a pasta meal.
Or think of baking healthy breakfasts like blueberry avocado muffins or sweet potato French toast. Just be sure to leave the veggie reference out when they ask what you’re making!
Keep Reintroducing: If you think you’ve tried everything and your children is still refusing to eat veggies, don’t give up. Their tastes and attitudes may change as they get older and they will never lose their need for nutrition.
Also, remember, some kids may like veggies cooked while others might prefer them raw, steamed or sautéed. Keep trying different preparations until you find one that will please your child.
Work on Creating a Fun Appearance: Your child will be more likely to try food that looks fun to eat. Do your best by creating cute arrangements and serving veggies in brightly colored bowls that will be appealing to the eye and may encourage them to dive in.
Try Oven Frying: While we all know deep frying veggies increases fat content and basically counters the food’s nutritional value, oven frying may be a more nutritious option. This can add a bit of a crispy, crunch to veggies that can entice even the pickiest of eaters.
There’s no two ways about it, your child needs their veggies! If your little one is being obstinate, don’t let that stop you. Let your creativity and your culinary skills take control. Start healthy habits early. Your child is sure to thank you later!