The Secret To Getting Kids to Eat Vegetables

Is there any more common frustration among parents than getting kids to eat vegetables? While your infant likely consumed large quantities of vegetables through their baby food, once they enter the toddler years your child is far more likely to become a picky eater. And when children start to reject certain foods from their diet, the first thing to go is usually all of those vegetables that are so good for their health. And once your child gets a taste for sweets, you’re likely to fight them tooth and nail to get something green on their plate.

Here are a few suggestions for getting your child to eat more vegetables.

1.    Eat More Vegetables Yourself

You are unlikely to have any success incorporating vegetables into your child’s diet unless you consume large quantities of these foods yourself. There are a few reasons for this.

First, children like to emulate and mimic their parents. If they see their parents eating vegetables and enjoying them, they are more likely to develop a taste for these healthy foods themselves.

Second, when your child reaches an older age and begins to reason than eating lots of vegetables yourself will give you the congruency necessary to incorporate greens into their diet. It’s hard to tell your kid to eat three cups of vegetables a day when you don’t even eat at least that quantity yourself.

2.    Learn the Right Way to Prepare Veggies

One of the main reasons why children don’t like to eat vegetables is the fact that they aren’t always the most delicious element of their meal. And as long as eating vegetables remains a chore, your child is less likely to want to eat them.

Vegetables can be just as delicious as anything else you feed your child, but you need to learn how to prepare them properly. Overcooked green beans or watery frozen mixed vegetables are a hard sell to anyone, but most people will gladly eat a bowl of thoughtfully prepared, combined and dressed salad. Each vegetable has its own unique preparation needs, and learning a handful of simple recipes that you can master quickly is a great way to make vegetables an enjoyable part of your child’s plate.

3.    Use Vegetables as Snacks

Given the choice, most children will reach for cookies and chips over vegetables when it comes to snack time. When it comes down to it, most adults would prefer to do the same thing. If you’re going to get your child to snack on vegetables, than you can’t provide any other options than sliced carrots and celery sticks with healthy dressing.

While this is considerably easier to monitor at home compared to when your child is at school, building the healthy snacking habit when you do have a say is better than throwing up your hands in defeat at the waves of highly-processed junk food tempting your child.

4.    Trick Them

When it doubt, trick your child into eating more vegetables. I’m not suggesting that you make a tofu-loaf and try and convince your kid that it is made from beef, but I am suggesting you chop up vegetables very finely and mix them in with your meatloaf’s ground beef before cooking.
There are lots of different foods and recipes that lend themselves well to a high content of stealth-vegetables. Ground meat dishes are the easiest, especially if you use strongly flavored meat and blander vegetables. With the right spices, your child won’t even realize that their hamburger contains a good amount of carrot, celery, onion and spinach.

Pasta dishes are also very good for sneaking in vegetables. Layered dishes like lasagna work well, as do filled dishes like manicotti or ravioli. Incorporating whole vegetables into spaghetti isn’t as good an idea as your child will be able to easily pick around them, but it’s relatively easy to incorporate minutely cut vegetables into thicker sauces.

Tricking your child into eating vegetables isn’t particularly hard, and while the quantities you get them to consume might be smaller than if they ate a full bowl of veggies, sometimes you simply need to get some greens in wherever possible.

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