Getting kids to eat vegetables can be so hard! Mine flip flop, back and forth, on which they like and don't like. And I can never seem to keep it straight. Sometimes you've got to get a little tricky…maybe even hide them in their food…You'll probably want to bookmark these 8 ideas for getting kids to eat vegetables! Because sometimes a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.Let's face it, I think very few people would actually say they enjoy vegetables, but kids seem to have an even bigger aversion to them! Ask any parent and they'll tell you that getting a kid to eat green leafy things is harder than finding love on the Bachelor. But it's important that we figure out how to get kids to eat veggies because it can affect their health as adults, whether they like it or not. So, if you can’t get them to eat it the nice way, just trick them… they truly won’t know the difference. I kid, kind of…
Tricks for Getting Kids to Eat Vegetables
Most kids hate broccoli, but they love other veggies like cucumbers or carrots. Serve veggies in tandem. Pair one that they like with a smaller portion of the veggies they don't. We insist that the kids keep trying the ones that they don't like and cook them in different ways to see if they like one way enough to eat a bunch. And, since taste buds change as kids get older (or by the week if you're my kids…), they might grow to love them. I don't plan my menu based on my kids likes, but make sure there are things they will eat mixed with things they need to eat. They always need to try it, although I'll never force them to eat all of something that I know they just don't like. I HATED salmon patties growing up. I get it.
Be The Perfect Example
Kids are smart, so if you try to pull that “do as I say, not as I do” philosophy on them, they'll probably stage a coup. If they see you eating veggies, they'll likely follow suit, because that's just the way kids are. If you act like you're grossed out by broccoli or lettuce, but force your kid to eat it, you're a) acting like a jerk and b) sending your kid all kinds of mixed messages about nutrition. I don't think there is a vegetable I really don't like, thank goodness. And as an adult, I realized that there were certain veggies we never ate, growing up, because my mom didn't like them. I try to make it fun to try new things (some of which we like and some we don't) and show the kids that I, too, keep trying things to see if I like them now. Y'all, it took me until I was 28 to like avocados.Hasta La Pasta, Baby
Most stores now carry Veggie pasta. The pasta is actually made with puree from real veggies like zucchini, spinach, and carrots. In fact, your kids will wind up getting a nice serving of veggies per portion and not even know it. You can also easily hide or disguise veggies in the red sauce. If you need to, puree the vegetables so your kids don't even notice them. You can make your own marinara sauce really easily and it will have WAY less sugar than the store-bought ones. Just make a few batches at one time and freeze it!
It's All In The Smoothie
Kids seem to like fruit way more than vegetables, so a fruit smoothie is a great way to get some whole foods in to their diet. While you're at it, add some carrots to the mix. Your kids probably won't realize they're drinking veggies. As they get used to the flavor, you can bump up the amount of carrots you include. While I don't have much experience making “green” smoothies at home, I know that if I add kale or spinach to a smoothie, I may need to compensate with more fruit to make it tolerable for them. Play around with it and see if you can come up with a good balance that your kids love.
Make A No Bake Oatmeal Bar
When kids are hands on with their food, they are more likely to eat it. Have them help you make some no bake oatmeal bars with carrots. They are really easy and will be excited to taste what they created. Even though they'll know they have veggies in them, no way are they going to pass up this yummy treat! (You can also have the kids help with pumpkin or zucchini bread). While cooking can take away some of the good properties from vegetables, it's a good way to be able to remind them that they “like” zucchini, even if it's hidden in a baked treat.Make Them A Veggie Frittata
Kids are jerks. And if they see a vegetable straight up on their plate, they will often resist it on principle. But if you mix eggs with veggies, you could wind up making the healthiest frittata ever, and your kids will love it. Just add some minced broccoli and some cauliflower into the scrambled eggs. A frittata is super versatile and can be made differently every time. If you roast or saute the veggies first, you'll add even more flavor and make a soul satisfying dish, that is also healthy.Pudding For Breakfast
Pudding for breakfast? Yes! Any time my kids think they are getting dessert in the morning, it turns in to the best day ever for them. But this one is healthy. Just blend one ripe avocado with some milk, honey and cocoa powder in a blender until it's smooth. Let it chill in the fridge for about an hour. Then garnish it with almonds, cocoa nibs, granola and/or fresh fruit. It’s unbelievably tasty, and could fool anyone.
Go South Of The Border
Suddenly, my taco lover from a few months ago, no longer likes tacos. But I'm not giving up my Taco Tuesday. So we pretty much keep the same ingredients but change-up how we serve them. While traditional tacos are a great way to get in some lettuce and tomato, doing a Chipotle style burrito bowl can sometimes be an opportunity to get in more veggies (salsas can be a great place to hide more veggies if you make them yourself!).
It can be a HUGE trial and error process for figuring out how to get kids to eat more veggies! But it's worth it. The things we teach them now, will stay with them through adulthood! Ugh. No pressure.
Recipe ideas for getting kids to eat more vegetables!