Oh, the constant battle of getting kids to eat healthy food! For my oldest, she’ll eat any leafy green. Not my youngest, no sir. She loves the crunchy, salty treats, and the sweet stuff. Loves. It.
So, I’ve devised a few ways to get her eating more vegetables. I’ll tell you my secrets, then you tell me yours!
1. Show more.
Always present vegetables, taking up at least 1/4 of the plate. In different forms, colors, with dressing, without, just so they are always available and always interesting. Even though many of them may end up in the compost, at least you are developed a habit sharing them, and teaching your kids they should be part of every meal.
And hey, they may just eat them.
Have you seen the book Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld? It’s packed with great ways to “hide” more veggies in your meals. You can puree squash into marconi and cheese, for example. One of my favorite ways is to make a pesto out of spinach or kale for pastas, pizzas, and sandwiches. This is a great way to get more vegetables in your child’s diet, especially when combined with tip number one, to showcase the actual whole vegetable.
Kids love to dip! Add choices for dipping to any vegetable side. A few types of dressing will jazz up the taste and kids love to be active while eating. And with their own small pool of dressing, double dipping will be no problem.
Say what vegetables do. Carrots make you see better! Spinach makes you strong (maybe I watched too much Popeye growing up…). Talk about how strong and healthy you can be if you eat lots of fruits and vegetables every day.
Talk about the farmers, too, how they worked hard to grow and harvest the vegetables for us.
You can make some sweet designs of your child’s plate to motivate and inspire more vegetable eating. Spiky orange carrot hair, banana eyes, pea mouths… surprise the kids and they may surprise you with a clean plate.
6. Appetizers, anyone?
You know the drill. It’s 5:30 and dinner is not ready. Grab some appetizer veggies and watch them disappear. An appetizer vegetable can be anything– just plunk it down before dinner.
What are your tips for getting your kids to eat healthy?