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Every parent strives to help ensure their child is the healthiest they can be. One of the biggest struggles we face is how to get our kids to eat healthy foods. Whether your child is a chicken nugget and fry fanatic or simply one who struggles with textures and flavors of popular vegetables here are 15 Ways To Get Kids To Eat Veggies that are sure to help you sneak in at least one or two portions of vegetables each day that your kids will enjoy. This list does include some things that are already common practice, a few that may be new concepts and at least a few that will work great for your children.
15 WAYS TO GET KIDS TO EAT VEGGIES
- Let Them Dip It: Ranch dressing is popular as a dip but not always the healthiest option. Whip up a simple Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip for lower fat and calories, higher protein and calcium with the same familiar flavor.
- Shred Into Breads/Cupcakes: For extra hearty flavor add shredded carrots and zucchini to almost any bread, cake or cupcake batter for nutrients and moisture
- Make A Smoothie: Mix in some Greens with your strawberries, bananas and yogurt for a vitamin rich shake
- Make Veggie Fries: Slice and roast zucchini, squash and sweet potatoes or green beans that have been lightly coated with Bread Crumbs & Parmesan Cheese for a crunchy “fry”
- Eat Veggies Too: Don’t require your child to eat them if you aren’t willing to do the same thing. Being a good example and not making faces or saying something is gross will help your kids to feel and think the same.
- Add To Meatloaf: Hide shredded veggies in your kids favorite meatloaf
- Add to Pasta Sauce: Shred, Cube or Dice Veggies into your favorite homemade or jar pasta sauce before tossing with pasta and meatballs or ground meat
- Serve With Cheese: It doesn’t have to be drowning in cheese sauce but a sprinkle of shredded sharp cheddar melted over most vegetables adds flavor they like without too many extra calories.
- Let Them Cook It: Let them pick out the vegetables, clean them, prep them and prepare them how they want
- Grow Your Own: There is something about seeing a seed turn into a plant and then produce a vegetable that makes kids feel accomplished and wanting to eat what they grew.
- Make Them Fun Shapes: Grab a fun kitchen tool that cuts fruits & vegetables into fun shapes and make your green beans, carrots, zucchini and similar vegetables into diamonds, stars, hearts or whatever your kid prefers.
- Try Non Traditional Vegetables: Have an ethnic foods night and try things that are outside the box. Try a variety of peppers for Mexican night. Saute a stir fry with things like snow peas and bok choy for Chinese night or even make saurkraut to go with the bratwurst for German night.
- Use Bacon: Much like cheese a little can go a long way to add flavor and appeal for a kid who is typically anti-vegetable. In fact recent years the addition of bacon to the often unsavory Brussel Spouts has made them something of a new “popular” vegetable to eat.
- Don’t Make Them Clean Their Plate: Requiring 2-3 bites instead of “you must eat all of your vegetables” goes a lot further toward encouraging them to enjoy the food rather than dread it.
- Bribery: Let’s face it sometimes it isn’t the flavor they don’t like but just pure stubborn behavior. On occasion a promise of special dessert or seconds of another favorite dish is enough to get them to clean the veggies off their plates.
These 15 ways to get your kids to eat veggies are easy to incorporate, can be fun and will not feel like extra work for you. Ultimately teaching our children healthy eating habits begins with our own example and ends with understanding their needs. For some children certain textures are unsavory, cause a gag reflex or are hard to digest. If your child is legitimately ill from eating a specific vegetable that is one you don’t want to visit again. By experimenting and offering something outside the standard you will find a lot more opportunity for them to grow their palate and become healthier.