Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies

10 Ways to Cut Back on Your Grocery Bill
Lucky (Super Easy to Make!) Homemade Ice Cream

If you are like most parents, you have the age old struggle of getting kids to eat their veggies.  There are ways to get those much needed nutrients into their little bodies without a battle. Need some ideas on how to get those servings into your children’s (or family’s) diet? 

1. Readily Available. Try to keep fresh vegetables and fruits in the house as much as possible. For instance, you could cut up a watermelon into cubes and keep it in the fridge covered under a bowl or slice up some cucumbers and carrots that can easily be slipped into sandwiches. You might also sauté some spinach that can then be added to a quesadilla or burrito. It is easier to get kids to eat their veggies if they are readily available.

2. Eat Fruits and Veggies that are in season. We all know what discriminating eaters children can be. They know when a carrot is past its prime or when a strawberry is not quite right. However, produce that is in season is more nutritious, better tasting, and less expensive than that which is shipped from far away. Giving kids the best tasting produce will increase the odds that they will not only eat and enjoy it, but will want more of it as well.

3. Get your kids cooking.  If you want to get kids to eat their veggies, then get your child involved in healthy eating practices by letting them help you in selecting recipes and then letting them help with the preparation. Preschool children can cut soft foods such as bananas with a spoon or tear up lettuce leaves while older children can wash vegetables, measure ingredients, and knead pizza dough.

4. Shop together. I know this is easier said than done.  If you are like me, the trip to the grocery store without children can actually be a wonderful break.  However, grocery shopping with your children can really make a difference when trying to teach children about healthy eating. Encourage them to pick a new vegetable or fruit each time. Also, walk through the various aisles and make a game of identifying vegetables and fruits in all colors while taking time to taste any samples that are being dished out.

5. Be a good role model. Children are likely to learn far more from what they see you do rather than what you say. So, if your kids often see you enjoying nutritious and healthy food, they will be more likely to do so themselves. It is confusing to young kids when you try to get your kids to eat their veggies and fruits yet they see you indulging in junk food.

6. Don’t give up.  Don’t give up on getting kids to eat their veggies. Even if your child does not take to the new food adjustments at first, don’t give up. Children usually require numerous instances of examining and testing new foods before they actually settle to eat and enjoy them. Just ensure that you include something that your child likes in their meals. 

7. Go small. Since little hands require small morsels to hold on to, be sure to cut your kid’s food into bite-sized pieces. Remember, bite-sized for a child is vastly different from bite-sized for an adult. Parents are often amazed at how small bites contribute to the vast improvement of their eating habits leaving you with children who are more likely to try new foods.

 8. Be sneaky. If all else fails, then you can sneak fruits and veggies into your children’s diet. Sautéed greens can go on pizza, pureed vegetables can go in pasta sauce and soup, mashed bananas can go into muffins, and lots of frozen or fresh fruit can be blended together with yogurt to produce a nutritious smoothie. You can also dunk vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, squash and broccoli in a creamy dressing or dip while peaches, bananas, berries and other fruits may be dipped in yogurt. Apples are particularly great with almond or peanut butter.

 Bottom line is there are so many ways to get kids to eat their veggies on a daily basis.  With a little planning and creativity, you can introduce your children to all sorts of healthy foods.  Just remember, have fun with it and include your kids in the planning and you’ll see some great results.

Want to try some of Build A Menu’s fun and healthy “Cooking With Kids” recipes?  Give these a try.

Veggie Cheese People; Watermelon Slush

 

Lisa and her husband, Will, have six children and live near Austin, Texas. Lisa is co-founder of BuildAMenu.com and is known as the “Queen of Meal Time Makeovers.” She is an author, speaker, and an advocate for adoption, family nutrition, savvy grocery shopping, and family dinners. Feel free to email her at [email protected].

10 Ways to Cut Back on Your Grocery Bill
Lucky (Super Easy to Make!) Homemade Ice Cream

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