I don’t know about you, but I am always trying to get my kids to eat more vegetables. Fruits haven’t been too much of a problem but anything green? No way! Even though 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, “I’ve never said that.” Bless his heart.
I’m always on the hunt for a new way to get my boys to eat more vegetables. That, coupled with my obsession with food, had me recently take a class on Child Nutrition. It was a fairly basic class but there were a few good takeaways.
Here’s how I got my kids to eat more vegetables
- Plan your meals around vegetables. Do you do this? I have always planned meals around the protein! Hmmm… we want to eat steak this week. What should we serve with it? When we joined the crop share it slowly moved to planning around the vegetables out of necessity – there were so many vegetables that we didn’t want go to waste. In the winter it is much harder without all of the fresh produce staring at me. I’ve really had to think about the vegetables first. Especially in this house full of carnivores. But a simple change in thinking has really helped the whole family to eat more vegetables. When planning dinners think about what vegetable you want to eat and then plan around that.
- When prepping dinner, place a plate of vegetables out. When prepping dinner I try to chop the vegetables first. This has been a game changer for us. My boys are always STARVING right before dinner. They are always looking for snacks while I’m cooking dinner. 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 4-year-old was quietly munching away on cucumbers before dinner the other night. Prep extra vegetables and put them out. A hungry kid will surprise you with what they will eat.
- Have your kids make their own 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 create your own meals can be. Anything where your kids create their own dinner. Think tacos, pizzas, pitas, etc. Just have a bunch of vegetables chopped for inclusion and encourage them to use them. A bonus is that these meals can be prepped the day before with little cooking time.
- Don’t lose hope! It takes kids as much ten times of a child trying a new food 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 simply by showing them the food. Keep trying.
What about you? Are you struggling to with how to get your kids to eat vegetables? If you have any strategies you’ve found successful, I’d love to hear them!