Kids and vegetables have a longstanding conflict. Many kids are picky eaters and they just don’t like to eat ANY veggies, while some kids are selective about which ones they choose to eate. Getting toddlers to eat vegetables is something that parents all across the world struggle with. At HueTrition, we aim to help you and your family stay healthy with our family nutrition programs. Here’s our starting guide to help your kids eat veggies.
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Benefits of Eating Vegetables
Vegetables provide kids with vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and many phytonutrients (nutrients naturally present in plants), all of which are important for toddlers and kids. Introducing vegetables in kids’ diets can help prevent excess weight gain and protect them against chronic diseases like cancer, heart diseases, and stroke. Providing your kids with a healthy portion of vegetables instills good habits and keeps them strong as they develop.
6 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Veggies
Follow these 6 steps to get kids to eat veggies on a regular basis and help them develop a healthy relationship food that will last them for a lifetime.
- Make It Fun
Eating food doesn’t have to be boring, especially for kids. Don’t hesitate from turning cooking and eating into an activity for kids. Let them choose the toppings or involve them in the plating process. Not only will the kids feel more involved, but they’ll be more excited to actually eat the veggies. They can help you throw together spices, measure out ingredients, or even just mix a salad.
Another way to make healthy eating fun is to try out HuePets. With HuePets, your child can adopt a virtual pet, then ‘feed’ the pet whatever they’re eating in real life. Tracking what they eat with this fun tool will encourage them to eat better since they’ll see how eating right helps their pet grow strong.
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- Don’t Be Sneaky, Find Substitutes
For kids who just don’t eat any vegetables, being picky is the way to go. One simple trick is to find substitutes for their favorite meals. Do they love pizza? Substitute the crust with a cauliflower crust. Do they love pasta? Add vegetables to the sauce and tell them it is a super sauce! Vegetables complement almost any dish and are VERY easy to incorporate into your daily menu.
- Make Them Look Good
Simply put, kids love to eat what looks good. If a dish looks more presentable and tasty, they are more likely to eat it. You can achieve prettier plating by slicing vegetables in a different manner, placing food on the plate more creatively, and even switching up the dishes you use. If you are making a smoothie bowl, you can place ingredients out on the counter and have your child decorate their own smoothie. If you are making an afternoon snack with vegetables like carrots and cucumbers, you can julienne these veggies instead of cutting them into chunks or regular slices. Kids are often encouraged to eat based on what looks fun and what doesn’t. A simple change in the presentation of veggies can make all the difference.
- Experiment With Flavors
Figuring out how to get your kids to eat vegetables can be a fun cooking experiment rather than an unbearable chore. If they don’t like steamed veggies, try roasting them, grilling them, or even preparing them raw. It’s never too late to experiment with flavors. Kids are still in the process of developing their tastebuds and it’s important to introduce them to new cooking methods and flavors. This teaches them that vegetables don’t have to be boring, and that there’s actually a limitless number of ways that they can consume them.
A single vegetable can be served in countless ways. For ideas, try experimenting with various cuisines. Experimenting with different cuisines will open up a whole new world of taste and flavor and you never know which one will make the cut.
- Don’t Give Up
As a parent, it’s a test of your patience when it comes to getting your kids to eat their veggies. The key here is to not give up. Kids, by default, don’t like new flavors that are introduced to them. Introducing and re-introducing vegetables in different forms usually does the trick.
The best thing you can do is lead by example. Showing kids how fun and tasty a particular veggie is over a period of time will get them to try it eventually. Don’t make different dishes for kids and adults. Stick to the same meal for everyone and show kids how delicious veggies can be. After all, kids pick up things that their parents are doing and tend to imitate them in all aspects.
- Incorporate Vegetables Into Various Dishes
Veggies on their own don’t have any particular taste, especially for kids’. Incorporating various vegetables into other dishes will create a new flavor profile for kids. For example, trying vegetables with various dips or dressings will get kids interested in them. Introducing veggies with dips like hummus or putting ranch salad dressing on them is a good starting point. One can also roast cut veggies with a spice mix that their kids like. Use a cookbook like HueTrition’s Healthy and Colorful Eating Made Fun for creative and nutritious ideas.
Wrapping It Up
Remember, getting kids to eat vegetables is a game of trial and error. At the end of it all, they’re still kids. The more one pushes, the more they resist. Make eating habits a fun process for them and they’ll thank you in the long run. Sometimes it is better to let it go once in a while so that kids feel the sense of independence and willingly try out new dishes without feeling pressured.
There are many more ways to get kids to eat their veggies depending on your current cooking style and family eating habits. All kids are different and their palate is different, so the most important thing to remember is to let the process develop over time and your kids will slowly begin to enjoy eating vegetables. For a helping hand, check out our e-book for fun and healthy recipes.
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