There is no surprise that one of the foods that kids usually struggle to eat is veggies. It’s not like you’re not doing your job as a parent in teaching your kids to eat foods from all the groups. But, here’s the thing, the reality is veggies are not as palatable as other foods. Kids usually enjoy eating more processed foods for one reason: the taste! Whether it is the sweetness, the crunchiness or the strange over processed flavors, kids’ brains tend to go for what seems to have a better taste sensation. Sounds logical right? Of course, you and I know that children need to have more nutritional foods in their bodies because of their development and to make them healthy overall. Don’t worry, it’s not that hard. I’ll teach you some fun ways to make your kids eat veggies that they’ll absolutely love!
How to make your kids eat veggies
1. Include them in the meal prep
Yes! Meal prepping doesn’t have to be challenging or boring, you can actually ask your kids to join into the fun… It’s important that they learn how to shop for food from when they are little, so that they can have that sense of choosing health and balance. From the grocery store, to the kitchen, having your kids active in the process will make them become aware of how important it is to eat veggies regularly. One good tip is to take them to the place where they can actually see the fresh produce, so that they can get used to how they look like and smell.
2. Educate them about veggies
It’s important to teach them about all food groups in general, not just about how to make your kids eat veggies. Once they understand why their bodies need veggies, then it will be easier for them to get the idea of having them in their plates all day. Let them know that it’s more than just the taste, fruits and veggies are important because they have all those crucial vitamins and minerals for their brain, muscles, gut, to be able to have energy and learn better in school. These are some examples that usually work when teaching your kids about the importance of fruits and veggies. A simple trick that is also useful is to let them know that eating veggies will help them poop better. It’s actually a fact, friends! These foods are some of the main sources of healthy fiber.
3. Make your kids eat veggies: Let them choose their favorite veggies
Ok, so here’s the fun part. There are many varieties of vegetables, so kids shouldn’t feel like it’s a chore to eat veggies. The good thing is that you can start by introducing them little by little to different types of veggies. Don’t do it all at once, it can be overwhelming for some children, if they are not used to eating veggies that much. Start with the colorful ones, because bright colored veggies have more nutrients, are fresher and they have better taste. Let them have the initiative of choosing their favorite veggies. When you go shopping with them, let them choose which ones they want to have on their plates. The same thing goes for the fruits. This is just another easy way to make your kids eat veggies.
4. Go for whole fresh foods rather than frozen veggies
Say hello to the whole fresh foods! Even for us as adults, having more fresh foods is a sure way to get in more of those essential nutrients our bodies need. Fresh foods are not only nutritionally superior in quality, but their taste and smell is more appealing. Even when cooking or preparing them for different dishes, you can definitely spot the difference. Frozen veggies may be packed with extra additives that not only make them taste different, but reduce the nutritional value. Fresh produce has brighter colors and is crunchier, among other things. If you are looking to make your kids eat veggies, this is the way to go.
5. Produce that’s in season? Oh yes! Hands down
You want to make sure of choosing foods that are in season. These types of foods have better quality in terms of how they look and taste. Children are very delicate when it comes to taste, so if you want to make your kids eat veggies, let them eat more foods that are in season. The best places to check for foods in season are the local grocery stores, small shops and farmer’s markets. I love going to the farmer’s market regularly, there I can get enough fresh fruits, greens and my yummy avocados!
6. Sneak them into each meal, including their snacks
Another smart way to make your kids eat veggies is simply adding them to different dishes. Yep, you want to include them in all meals if possible. Let me give you some ideas. Add some fresh fruit to their breakfast oatmeal or make a healthy smoothie blend. Also, adding them as desserts or snacks is a sure way to make your kids eat veggies. Some good snack ideas they’ll love are: fresh celery sticks or carrots with a yogurt ranch dip, fruit slices with cheese dices, fruits with nuts, etc. You get creative, friend! But, the important part is that you sneak in those veggies in all their meals.
7. Try more raw rather than cooked to make your kids eat veggies
This is hands down one of my best tips to make your kids eat veggies. Children love that crunchy sense in their mouths, so it’s best that you use more raw veggies than cooked. Besides the flavor, raw veggies keep more nutrients and fiber than cooked. It’s not that you can’t cook the veggies, but, for example, kids will surely love more fresh spinach in their sandwich or salad than cooked into a side dish, trust me. You want to get them that vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, well… you know it… all that good stuff!
8. How to make your kids eat veggies: Mix’ em up!
If you are still struggling to make your kids eat veggies, then here’s another trick. You want to mix up the veggies or stir them into a dish. For example, making that chicken casserole is a fun way to add different kinds of veggies. I love doing that with minced meat. Another thing you can do is stir in those veggies into a pasta or rice dish. Here in Latinamerica we love our “arroz con pollo”, so it’s a fun and healthy way of adding those veggies like carrots, string beans, green peas, chayote and others. You can even modify your own recipes and add more veggies or mix’ em differently. Same thing goes with fruits. Introduce them to fruit salads, I’m sure they’ll love experimenting with different flavor combinations.
9. Embrace healthy fats!
Healthy fats with veggies? Sure, why not? If we as adults eat them regularly, so should kids. Healthy fats are essential to develop a healthy brain and nervous system, in general. Remember that healthy fats are great sources of omega 3 and important vitamins like A, D, and E. You can add some dressing to the salads, as long as they are made of healthy oils like olive oil. Some kids enjoy vinaigrette over their salad, so you can check out a healthy recipe here. You can also combine fresh veggies with nuts, they’ll love almonds, peanuts, for example. Or you can try mixing these nuts with their fruits as snacks. Another thing is to make healthy avocado dips, or guacamole. I can bet there’s no way a kid would turn down a good guac dip!
10. Combine them with dairy products
Another trick to make your kids eat veggies is to have them eat more dairy products. Products like cottage cheese, yogurt, white cheese or even milk can be combined in a blend, or even for a mid morning snack. Here, it’s important to be flexible. Kids may want to experiment to see what they like the most, so introduce them to different combinations and see what they prefer. I like some cottage cheese with carrot or celery stalks, for example. Besides getting those veggies nutrients, you’ll make sure to add that extra calcium that is super essential for your kids healthy brains, muscles, bones and teeth.
A final word…
It is easy to make your kids eat veggies. All you need to do is get creative and practice these simple, yet effective strategies. There’s no need to get complicated when it comes to choosing the best foods for your kids. Just remember that quality matters. Kids are picky with flavors and textures, and they like to try different things. Let them explore, teach them value and give them some initiative! Hope this helps… Let me know your thoughts in the comment section of the blog. Tell us what things have you tried to make your kids eat veggies. Share this with someone you love!