Parents know vegetables are important for everyone’s diet, but their children probably don’t. The fact is most kids don’t like vegetables, especially when they are young. And, just because 1 type of veggie doesn’t taste good for your kid can make them hate all of the veggies. However, there are still a few strategies for you to turn the tables. Read on to know the secrets of how to get your kids to eat more vegetables.
Try Different Shapes and Textures
There’s no need to start with “easy” vegetables like corn and work your way up to Brussels sprouts. You can start by offering a bit of veggie your family is eating, and keep trying different forms such as mashed, baked, or raw. Also, easy-to-handle portions are appealing! Remember that hard and raw vegetables like carrots can cause a choking hazard for kids under 4-year-olds. So, you should grate or finely slice those veggies before offering it to your child. On top of that, a great way to get your kids enthusiastic about what they are going to eat is making it appealing. Try cutting your foods into funny shapes like these to help your kids enjoy their meals even more.
Turn Your Child Into Your Sous Chef
When your kids are there by your side cooking, they’re much more willing to eat their food more. In fact, research has shown that children who are involved in the preparation of their meal develop more positive attitudes towards and preferences for those foods. So, why not offer your little sous chef a job in your kitchen. Letting them wash the veggies or mixing salads are great ways to start. Also, sometimes you two can have a trip to a farm or farmers’ market. Your kid will have a lot of fun time picking and learning about veggies with you.
Veggies With Superpower
With a healthy diet that contains a good amount of vegetables, anyone can have better health than normal. Well, that’s quite a superpower for me! So, try telling your kids that veggies give them power, like Spider-Man, perhaps. Little kids love heroes and their superpowers. So, they will take any chance to get what they like, even if that is eating more vegetables. With just a little bit of imagination and encouragement, your kid will be willing to try any “superfood” you offer.
Don’t Serve Your Veggies Naked All The Time
To be fair, just boiled or raw vegetables are quite boring. Science shows that most kids hate broccoli and kale because of their bitterness. Unlike adults, who have grown accustomed to the taste, young children are particularly sensitive to the bitterness. So, to get your kids over that hump, you can try butter, dips, tossed veggies with syrup or apricot glaze to temper the bitterness. Moderate amounts of these additions are fine. You can put pretty much anything into a patty and your kids will devour it. This technique not only makes the green taste better, but it also adds more vitamins, which are important for your kid’s development.
Have Them Eat Veggies First
We don’t suggest starving your kids, but waiting until they are really famished to serve up a pile of vegetables might do the trick. For example, right as your kids walk in from school, have a vegetable plate out. So, this will be the first snack they see after going back with an empty stomach. And, instead of asking for anything else, your kid will go straight for it. Also, your kids can have other snacks, but at least give them veggies at first.
Give Them More Options
If you haven’t noticed yet, kids love exerting power and control because it makes them feel like grown-ups. So, give your child more choice of vegetables. For example, at dinner offer two colorful vegetable options and ask your kids if they want broccoli or carrots or both. So, instead of choosing not to eat, your kid will always choose at least one when given the options.
Give It to Your Kids Straight
In case your hiding veggies in food trick failed, it’s time to let the veggies step out of the dark! Yes, it’s fine to puree vegetables and add them to a dish for your kids. But, note that sooner or later they will figure it out and probably not trust the foods you offer them anymore. Your child is responsible for choosing whether they are going to eat and how much. So, if there is spinach in the soup, you should tell your kids what it is if they ask. Don’t worry, if they refuse the food, you still have more tricks up your sleeves!
Simply Ignore Them
Studies show that kids may need to try a new vegetable 10 to 15 times over several meals before they can actually accept it. That is a long process and after a couple of times, some parents might force their kids to eat vegetables. Remember the less attention and pressure you put on your kids, the more likely they are to eat their vegetables. Also, you can try to not let your child snack too much during the day. That way, your kids will stay hungry enough during meals and are more apt to eat their vegetables.
If you have any questions or tips to get kids eat more vegetables, let us know in the comments!