Getting kids to eat veggies can be a difficult challenge. What’s a good-natured parent to do when their kids just won’t eat those nutrient-packed veggies? I’ve found some tips from moms on how they make veggies taste good and appeal to their own kids. Try these tips if your kid will not eat their veggies:
1. Make Pureed Whole Foods for Babies
Tiffany Pidruchny’s baby, Serafina, is 23 months old, and she loves a variety of pureed and solid, plant-based foods. As a baby, her mother started feeding her what they were eating, but pureed, like soup and rice with red lentils. Now, this baby is eating delicious and nutritious plant-based foods like cucumbers, hummus, perogies, lasagna, chili and smoothies. Try pureeing whole foods for your baby and see this article on How to Make Your Own Healthy Plant-Based Baby Food.
2. Make Mealtime Fun and Artsy
Jazz up meals and make them fun by drawing shapes, names and designs on and with food. Try making a smiley face out of cashew cream overtop a bowl of raw soup. Make rainbows and butterflies out of colorful fruit pieces, and use nuts and fruit to make shapes and faces over oatmeal. Try this Purple Monster Vegan Oatmeal. Cut sandwiches with a cookie cutter so they’re in fun shapes. Pidruchny recommends to make an Eat the Rainbow Poster and have a competition to see who can eat the most color in a day, and to call a food by a different name. “We like to call broccoli “trees,” and each bean has a different name, too,” she says. “Chickpeas are “grandma beans,” black beans are “baby beans,” kidney beans are “daddy beans,” etc. Naming the different foods makes eating them so much more fun!”
3. Incorporate Vegetables Into the Main Dish, Not a Side Dish
A side of vegetables can look like just that to a kid, and that can look pretty boring. Instead of serving vegetables as just the side dish, incorporate them into the main dish. “We don’t usually have a blob of vegetables as a side dish; they’re often incorporated into the main dish,” says Dina from Vegan RD. “I think this shapes the way kids think about food; they don’t see vegetables as a pile of evil; they see them as a normal part of the meal at large.”
4. Make Bite-Sized, Kid-Approved Meals
Make anything bite-sized for kids to make the meal more appealing for them. Try these Veggies and Mushrooms Mini Bites and these Lentil and Veg Mini Shepherd’s Pie, Make these Also,try these kid-approved recipes from allrecipes.com.
5. Lay out Raw Veggies Before Dinner
Dr. Ann Kulze, family physician, author of “Eat Right for Life,” and mother of four says kids will eat when they’re hungry, so lay out colorful vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers, and red bell peppers, along with a hummus or low-fat salad dressing while you’re preparing dinner. They’ll nibble on the nutritious raw veggies as an appetizer, and you’ll ensure they’ve gotten their veggies before dinner even gets to the table.
6. Let Kids Be Part of The Cooking Process
Get kids in the kitchen and have them be part of the process. Kids will get excited to eat something they helped make themselves. “I like to give age-appropriate kitchen tasks to my children, like washing the fruits or vegetables, adding ingredients to a mixing bowl, stirring, or (for the older kids) peeling or chopping vegetables,” says Pidruchny. “Involving kids in food preparation is a sure way to get them excited about eating their creations and gives them such a sense of accomplishment.”
Lead image source: Purple Monster Vegan Oatmeal