I still have a picky eater son, but my daughter is more adventurous and loves them! The only way I was able to get my son to eat 3 kids of vegetables is partly by accident and by trying to make it fun, and keep it real. I am not a fan of hiding vegetables as the main way of getting veggies into my kids. I know it works, but what are we really teaching our children? We’re not helping them in the long run.
We have to get real, and do the hard work of going against the marketing giants who convince our kids they want to eat junk food. I want to see kids choose Carrots over Cheetos! The only way it’s going to happen is if they eat Carrots and know how good it feels like to eat real food.
Okay, I’m stepping off my soap box, and will finally get to the good stuff…
5 Easy Ways To Get Kids To Eat More Vegetables
1) Snack time – Instead of opening a box of crackers or making toast, have some carrot and celery sticks ready to go. I even know some kids love raw Broccoli. The great thing about these veggies are that you can prep them ahead of time and store them in the fridge for 3 days.
2) Peer pressure – We went to the Zoo recently, and lucky for us it was feeding time. We watched as the Gorillas were fed Lettuce, Celery an Kale. It was super fun ask the kids if they could tell what the Gorillas were eating, which they could, and then point out how strong they were! If you don’t have a Zoo for an experience like this, recruit your friends and family. My daughter hated Carrots for the longest time. Then, finally, my brother-in-law was over for dinner. He enthusiastically ate some raw carrot sticks and commented on how they were cool, crunchy and yummy. Like magic, my daughter agreed and to this day will only eat carrots raw.
3) Presentation – Sometimes it’s more fun to eat something that is pretty or looks different than we’re used to seeing it. Carrots, for example, can be cut in any sort of shape. My Mom came up with the idea to cut carrots diagonally to create “Carrot Chips” – they were raw, of course, but it worked on my younger sister in Elementary school. It works for my kids too!
4) Naming – Kids are creative. Have you ever noticed how foods are marketed to kids? Something as simple as naming a veggie after an animal or super hero is all the marketing you need to get your kid to eat Broccoli, for example, by calling it Dinosaur Trees. Carrots? Vision Super Rays.
5) Simple Nutrition – Kids are curious too. My children have been fascinated by their bodies since an early age. We have a few fun books about how vision works, the digestive system and the 5 senses. I’ve also gotten books from the library about vegetables (yes, even board books with fun pictures). All I’ve done is tell them what veggie is good for what part of their body. Carrots are good for their eyes, broccoli is full of calcium for their bones, etc.
And, some of these tips work on big kids too…even the ones who will never grow up.
Do you have any other ideas to share? Please do!