July 4, 2013
Getting kids to eat veggies can be a challenge. Some veggies are eaten without a fuss, but others they just will not touch. Think leafy greens; most kids just don’t have the palate for it. Anyone who says “just make them eat it”, is likely not a parent and/or has probably not had the endless battles at the dinner table. Or maybe they just got REALLY lucky!
Either way, the bottom line is that many parents need to become super sneaky and creative to get the daily requirements (and variety) of veggies into our kids.
1) Blend it
I would love to say that you can teach kids to love veggies quickly and easily, but it can take months to years before they will willingly eat certain ones. Solution? Smoothies! This is the best way to get your kids to eat veggies they normally wouldn’t touch. As long as there is some frozen fruit to make it pink/purple/orange (and not green), kids will drink it up without a fuss. It is amazing how many vegetables you can squeeze into a smoothie without them even knowing.
Choco-Veg Smoothie: Try blending a frozen banana, a handful of spinach, a teaspoon of peanut butter, 1 tablespoons of cacao powder, 1/2 cup frozen organic strawberries, 1 teaspoon of honey and a 1/4 a serving of chocolate protein powder together with some almond milk for a chocolaty ‘treat’ loaded with nutrients.
It does not end with smoothies, you can sneak veggies into sauces, soups, and baked goods in the puree form. This is pure brilliance! A kid favorite is mac and cheese – try adding pureed cauliflower, squash, yams and/or carrots to the cheese sauce. Another fave is spaghetti – try adding a mix of spaghetti squash to the regular noodles, and add chopped spinach into the sauce. You can even go a step farther and blend in a variety veggies to the spaghetti sauce so the texture is consistent.
3) Set an example
Many parents make the mistake of piling veggies on their kids plates, without doing the same for themselves. I have heard it over and over “my kids just won’t eat their vegetables”. I ask: “do you?”. More times than not I get a sheepish “no”. Bottom line: kids follow the example set by their parents. Period. It may takes months to years before your little one openly accepts certain selections, but keep up the example and eventually they will fall in line.
4) Juice it up
Kids love juice, but don’t make the mistake of buying the store bought nutrient void, sugar filled juice. Get yourself a juicer, and get creative with a mix of fruits and veggies. Add carrots, beets, celery, with apple, pear or pineapple. The mixtures are endless!
5) Constant offerings
Have a veggie plate available at all times, and make a yummy homemade dip. Most kids love to dip! A rule of thumb is to offer the veggies before anything else, and while they are super hungry.