As a parent, feeding your child vegetables can be challenging. Some kids love eating veggies, while others need to be constantly reintroduced to them in different ways. Vegetables provide essential nutrients for children’s growth and development. Introducing them at a young age will help your kids become better eaters.
There are scientific reasons behind children not liking the taste of vegetables. They can taste bitter due to our ancestors’ evolution, discouraging children from eating them. Thankfully, there are tactics to hide or encourage the consumption of vegetables for your kids. Here are some clever ways to get your kids to eat their veggies.
1. Use Vehicle Foods
Serving veggies as they are may be the downfall of why your kids won’t try them. Incorporating veggies into the food you know they already like could give a gentle introduction to them. For example, if your child likes dips such as hummus or guacamole, you can cut peppers, carrots or broccoli to get them to eat vegetables. It can cover up the taste with something they thoroughly enjoy.
You can also use meals to do this as well. If you make homemade pizza, ask to make a face on it with veggies. You can use zucchini noodles if your child is a spaghetti lover and try to make an event out of including veggies. You can add broccoli to eggs for green eggs and ham day.
2. Make Them Sweet
Making veggies sweet may seem impossible, but turning them into sweet snacks can be done. There are plenty of baked sweets to make that are full of veggies. There are chocolate cakes with zucchini and more to make with your child.
Some options to try out can be cookies, cakes and pancakes. Cookies often use lots of butter. Instead, you can use a white-bean puree to attempt a healthier dough. With cakes, you can add carrots or yellow squash and even experiment with pumpkin pancakes. All light veggies go with light-colored cakes.
3. Juice It
If baking seems too difficult, juicing veggies and making smoothies is an easier option. Combining ingredients like yogurt, nut butter and milk can completely mask the taste of the vegetables. There are also added benefits from the fiber in the fruits.
You can also make ice pops with vegetable juice. Add a little fruit, honey or greek yogurt for natural sweeteners and pop it in the freezer with a fun shape. It is a great refreshing dessert with nutritious ingredients.
4. Let Your Kids Choose
If you tried time and time against to get your little one to try the same veggie, it might be time to let them take it into their own hands. It can give children a sense of empowerment by deciding what to eat. You can bring them along to the grocery store and allow them to select the recipe.
For example, say your child chooses broccoli mac and cheese. Find a way they can get involved in making their recipe and even the portion size of it. It may be intimidating to have their mac and cheese looking majority green. So adding some here and there could be a significant first step.
5. Make It Fun
When we eat, it is with our eyes first. Visually unappealing foods can make children hesitant to try them. There can also be a difference in what we think looks appealing compared to your little one. Luckily there are ways to turn bland veggies into exciting meals for them.
Cookie cutters are a huge plus when it comes to creating appealing foods. You can cut star shapes or whatever fits best into veggies and pair them with a dip to dunk them in. Or even arranging them into a smiley face can make a difference. Whatever your creative side has to offer, anything is better than a plain plate of veggies.
6. Turn It Into an Event
Unfortunately, persuasion may not work for all children and can be challenging. This is when you can get creative and turn meals into fun events. If your child views dinner as an Italian theme night or bases a dish on their favorite movie, it can get them to experience a new veggie.
You can set the table with fun colors and an array of veggies into shapes of figures. We usually tell our children not to play with their food, but this can be an exception. Seeing veggies made into a castle or figure may be the kick they need to try it.
Do not give up when it comes to getting your child to try veggies. It may take some time and creative ways to get them on board, but once they do, you will be glad they are getting the nutrients they need.