Are you having trouble getting your kids to eat vegetables? Yes of course.
My daughter used to be great to try and eat just about anything … and then she turned 2 1/2 years old. Now it’s virtually impossible to get her to eat anything other than corn when it comes to veggies. So I had to come up with some fun and sometimes sneaky ways to get her some veggies. Here are some of my favorites.
1) Make a large pot of veggie soup then add in some fun noodle shapes. You can use letter noodles or look for fun and novel shapes. You may be able to find some cartoon characters, toys and sports shapes, etc. I have even seen shapes of pumpkins and Christmas trees. Hopefully, your kids will be too busy writing words or identifying shapes to notice all the vegetables they are eating in the soup.
2) If you can’t make them eat, make them drink. Pour some vegetable juice over ice and add a straw, cocktail umbrella or stick of celery and watch them drink it. Your kids may not get as much fiber as eating whole veggies, but getting them to drink their veggies is better than having none in their system.
3) Have you tried offering them raw vegetables with a ranch dressing for dipping? Many children who don’t care much about cooked vegetables will eat them if they can get them wet. Just take a bag of baby carrots and chop up some red and yellow bell peppers and some cucumber. Arrange them on a plate with some ranch dressing or your favorite veggie dip on the side.
4) Go one step further and let them create works of art from their vegetables. Offer them raw vegetables of different colors and shapes and encourage them to make a collage of vegetables on their plate. You can easily make a face by using cucumber slices as eyes, a small carrot as a nose, and a red pepper slice as a mouth. You can use grated watercress or carrots or even a little cheese for hair. Before you know it, you’ll find them trying out their “art supplies.”
5) To get them to eat more veggies for dinner, try a small salad bar. Scoop out some lettuce, some sliced or chopped tomato, cucumber slices, grated carrot, red and yellow pepper slices, little broccoli flowers, and whatever else you can think of. You can also offer them some options when it comes to salad dressings. The favorites in our house are Ranch, Italian, Catalina and French. To top it off, add some croutons and grated cheese.
6) Gather the children and make a cold vegetable pizza. Start with a can of crescent muffins. Unroll the dough, but do not separate the triangles. Instead, gather the seams and bake on a baking sheet according to package directions. Let the dough sheet cool completely, then slather with a little cream cheese (we like a vegetable or herb flavored one) and top with some thinly sliced raw veggies. Cut into squares and serve.
7) Involve them in the kitchen, especially when it comes to cooking. Ask them to wash the veggies, if they’re old enough, let them cut them (under your supervision, of course), let them help you stir, or whatever else you can think of that is age appropriate. You will be surprised how proud they will be of your finished product. Trust me, they will try almost anything if they succeed.
8) If all else fails, hide vegetables in other foods. My mom used to make us a special orange mashed potatoes. We thought it was very fancy, but all it did was cook some carrots with the potatoes and puree them right there. You can also top the broccoli with tomato sauce or cheese. Think of a dish that your child likes very much and put some vegetables in there.
Try some of these ideas and see which ones work best for your kids. Keep going and sooner or later they will start to develop a taste for vegetables.