I am always trying to learn how to get kids to eat vegetables. Fruits haven’t been too much of a problem, but anything green? No way! When you ask my little guy what his favorite food is, he will almost always say “peas.” Seriously. If he ever tells you that, do NOT believe him. I’ve called his bluff many times and given him peas. His reply, “never said that.” Bless his heart.
Despite my little guy’s apparent pea obsession, I’m always on the hunt for a new way to get my boys to eat more vegetables, and so I took a class on Child Nutrition from Stanford University. It was relatively simple, but there were four good takeaways. I’ve been using these tips for a year now, and honestly believe that I learned how to get kids to eat vegetables.
Want to know how to get YOUR child to eat more vegetables?
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How To Get Kids To Eat Vegetables
- Plan Meals Around The Vegetable
Do you do this? I have always planned meals around protein! Hmm, we want to eat steak this week. What should we serve with it? After we joined the(CSA) crop share, the process slowly moved to meal planning around the vegetables out of necessity since there was such an abundance, we didn’t want anything to go to waste.
In the winter, it was much more challenging without all of the fresh produce staring at me. I’ve had to think about the vegetables first, especially in this house full of carnivores. But a simple change in thinking has helped the whole family to eat more vegetables. Think about what vegetable you want to eat and then plan around that. When you emphasize an ingredient, it’s able to shine more, and it’s more likely to taste better! Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, and only a quarter should be protein.
- When Prepping Dinner, Place A Plate Of Vegetables Out
When I am making dinner, I chop the vegetables first. This simple act has been a game-changer for us. My boys are always STARVING right before dinner and looking for snacks. So now, instead of them raiding the pantry or fridge, they eat the vegetables I’ve prepped for dinner. Probably because they are desperate and hungry, but either way, they are eating vegetables. I nearly fell over when my little one was quietly munching away on cucumbers before dinner the other night. Prep the vegetables and put them out before dinner. A hungry person will surprise you with what they will eat.
- Have Kids Assemble Their Dinner
Now, cooking with kids can be a lot of fun. However, it’s not always realistic. Especially on a busy weeknight — the mess! But assembling your meals is much more doable. Think tacos, pizzas, pitas, etc. Just have a bunch of vegetables chopped for inclusion and encourage your kids to try them. The bonus is that these meals can be prepped the day before with little cooking time.
- Don’t Lose Hope! Keep Trying New Foods
It takes as much as ten times of a child trying new foods to like it. In my house, it feels like more like 100, but you can wear them down; I mean, get them to try new foods by merely showing them the food. Keep trying.
What Do You Think?
Are you struggling with how to get kids to eat vegetables? If you have any strategies you’ve found successful, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
Want to learn more about family cooking? Check out our post on the Benefits of Family-Style Dining.
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