If you’re looking for some tips on how to get your child to eat more vegetables, you’ve come to the right place. I am not a pediatrician or a nutritionist, but I did raise three of my own children and thousands of day care kids to eat practically every kind of vegetable grown on the planet
Here’s how I did it:
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip #1:
You must have patience and you must be persistent. Make the commitment that your child is going to eat more vegetables. Unless an allergy is involved, eating more vegetables is not going to kill your child. Do not throw up your hands and give in. Do not allow your child to dictate policy. If you have a set back, start right back in the next day.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 2
If your child is eating solid foods, there is no reason that every vegetable you put on his plate has to be cooked. There are plenty of vegetables that you can eat raw: carrots, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash, zucchini, and bell peppers. Did you know that raw kohlrabi, brussel sprouts and asparagus all taste like very mild cabbage in their raw state?
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 3
Think about the size of the mouth these veggies are going into. Cut the vegetables into kid size pieces. A child will not pick up a big branch of broccoli and nibble on it. However, he just might stick a little floweret in his mouth. Three or four flowerets of cauliflower look easier to eat than a big chunk. Many vegetables, other than carrots and celery, can be cut into match sticks. A little sprinkle with a few grains of coarse salt and a speckle of black pepper will enhance most vegetables.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip #4
If your child is old enough to stand on a chair at the sink, he is old enough to help you prepare the vegetables. Children become more interested in foods that they are invested in. Most children can learn to scrub vegetables and use a vegetable peeler. Even the littlest ones can put some veggie snacks in smaller containers for their own snacks.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables — Tip # 5
Let your child help himself to vegetables for a snack. My mother used to cut up carrots, celery, bell peppers and green onions and put them in the refrigerator in a bowl of water. We were allowed to have them any time – even right before dinner. The independence of deciding when we could snack was quite liberating. You can make up a few little containers in advance and place them on a shelf that your child can reach and encourage him to help himself.
During the summer, my dad kept an old pickle jar filled with fresh raw carrots and celery sticks in the refrigerator. After packing the jar with the veggies, he added water and about one teaspoon of salt. After shaking the jar to dissolve the salt, he put the lid on the jar and stored it in the refrigerator where we could all reach it. He told us and our friends that anyone was allowed to help themselves to the veggies all day long. We’d run in the house throughout the day and grab a handful of veggies. We loved the salt water, too. Sometimes we’d even forget to pester him for a nickel so we could go to the store and get some candy.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 6
The texture of a vegetable could be what your child finds offensive. Cherry tomatoes are a wonderful thing, but I could not stand the slimy mucus that the seeds were in. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop the gel and seeds out. Better yet, you do the cutting and let your child do the scooping. I’m 53 years old and I’m just now learning to tolerate the entire tomato. Of course, I’ve been scooping my own tomatoes since I was six years old. And I never, ever let my own children see me do this!
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 7
Make vegetable ribbons. You can make vegetable ribbons out of carrots, zucchini and cucumbers by pressing hard with your vegetable peeler, as you travel the length of the vegetable. Make a little bird’s nest of them, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 8
Make a slaw out of the vegetable. You can grate cabbage, carrots, asparagus, brussel sprouts and kohlrabies. Because carrots are so sweet and the least offensive of vegetable, grate a little carrot and mix it with all the other vegetables. Put them in very small dishes with a little salt and pepper and serve with a spoon.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 9
Add a little salad dressing to the vegetable of the day. Sometimes the only way a child will consider a new vegetable is to mask the unknown taste with a familiar one. Many kids are happy with a vinaigrette type dressing. Just a little drizzle should do the trick.
A basic vinaigrette dressing is two parts oil to one part vinegar. You can use lemon or orange juice instead of the vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper for seasoning. A vinaigrette dressing is so easy to make, that your little one can help you. This basic recipe can be altered by any herbs you care to add. Mix it up. Keep your children’s taste buds guessing. Many children will grow up to love only the ranch type dressings – and that means more fat and calories, but really try to stick with simple vinaigrette. As they get older, consider adding a clove of crushed garlic and/or chopped shallots for a more mature taste.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables — Tip # 10
Cut vegetables into fun shapes, diamonds, circles, squares, and strips. Small metal cookie cutters work well on vegetables. Cut up cucumbers and zucchini into very thin rounds and then roll them up. Yellow squash, zucchini and cucumbers can be cut into pie shaped pieces.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 11
Take your little one to the grocery store and let her help you pick out a vegetable to go with dinner or to eat as a snack. If she turns up her nose at it, remind her that it was her choice.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 12
“Mom, I hate tomatoes,” your little angel screams as he dunks his french fry in a puddle of ketchup. Try talking to your child about the ingredients in some of his other favorite foods. Be careful, however. If your child HATES onions, don’t tell him that you put them in they spaghetti sauce.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 13
If you have decided to try more raw vegetables in your child’s diet, remember that there are more enzymes and fiber in uncooked vegetables. He’ll probably feel fuller with less. Don’t force him to eat more.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 14
Take him to the salad bar. My children thought it was a huge deal to go to the salad bar when we went out to eat. At 7, 6 and 3, they would rather get the salad bar than any other thing on the menu. Go to the salad bar with them, to assist and to explain what each of the offerings are. It’s fun to see your children willing to try a new vegetable on their own.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip #15
Once your child is eating raw vegetables on a regular basis, the next step is to get him to try cooked veggies. Again, remember the texture could be a deal breaker. Start by steaming a favorite veggie like carrots for 1 minute. Serve it side by side with the raw and judge the reaction. Some children don’t like a favorite raw vegetable hot. Just stick it in the refrigerator for a while or drop the vegetable in an ice water bath for a few seconds.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip #16
Think outside the box. A mild, homemade salsa made with raw ingredients and served with pita chips is a favorite at any age. You can also make a raw “gazpacho” that most kids like to eat with crackers.
Serve it cold. If you will mince a vegetable fine enough, you can add it to anything.
How to Get Your Child to Eat More Vegetables – Tip # 17:
Share in the food. How can you tell Johnny to eat his vegetables, when the only variety you are eating is potato chips? When you’re putting together vegetable snacks for the troops, include one for yourself. Make sure they see you eating your vegetables. And don’t sigh, groan and complain. Eating vegetables yourself might give you insights on how to improve the flavor or preparation.
If you teach your children to love vegetables, you are giving them a gift they will use for the rest of their lives.