Parents understand the importance of eating vegetables. They are rich in nutrients and it is a part of having a balanced, healthy diet.
As much as an adult might understand the value of eating vegetables, it is often difficult to get kids to eat them. They don’t recognize them as an important part of their diet, and they are often unconvinced by parents telling them they need to eat more vegetables because they are good for them.
For many families, this can turn mealtime into a struggle. The parents keep trying to get the kids to eat vegetables and the kids keep finding new ways to avoid them. Rather than dealing with the issue, many parents just get frustrated and give up.
Instead of giving up on balanced meals for kids, parents should look for ways to get little ones to eat more vegetables without making mealtime unpleasant.
Make Vegetables First
One of the problems at the dinner table is that there might be a lot of options. It is good to have variety, but kids will often fill up on the foods they like and avoid their vegetables if they have the chance. Instead, make a vegetable dish that you can put on the table before the rest of the food. Encourage the kids to eat the dish like an appetizer as they wait for you to finish preparing dinner.
Vegetables as a Snack
Keep your home stocked with fruits and vegetables that your kids can eat as a snack. You could even have vegetables sliced up and ready for them to eat at any time. Let your kids know that while there might be limits to how often they can eat other types of snacks, they can always eat some of the vegetables when they want to.
Try Vegetable Smoothies
Your kids might not like eating a pile of vegetables on their dinner plate, but you might be able to get them to drink a vegetable smoothie. Turning it into a drink can be a great way to change a child’s perception of vegetables and you have a variety of vegetable smoothie recipes that you can try.
Switch to Vegetarian Recipes
Your kids probably have a few favorite meals that could be turned vegetarian without them even realizing it. Trying recipes for vegetarian lasagna, spaghetti or chili can be a good way to introduce more vegetables to their diet without it being a big issue.
Eat meals as a family as much as possible. It gives you an opportunity to set an example for your children. When they see you eating vegetables, they will be more likely to want to try them as well.
Don’t Buy Unhealthy Snacks
Don’t keep things like candy bars, potato chips and cookies around the house. They don’t have a lot of nutrition to offer and most kids will reach for them before healthy snacks if they are available. If these unhealthy snacks are not an option, your kids will be more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they want a snack.
Add a salad to some of your meals. Before you bring out the rest of the dinner, you could serve a salad as an appetizer to get your kids to eat some vegetables before filling up on other foods. You just need to keep salad ingredients in the house and buy healthy dressings your kids will enjoy.
If your kids don’t enjoy eating plain vegetables on their own, you might be able to get them to eat more by adding a dip. Kids like foods they can dip and it will enhance the flavors of the vegetables. You have a number of dips you could buy at the store, but you also have healthy dip recipes that you can make at home.
Grow Your Own Veggies
Starting a vegetable garden will require some work, but it can be a good way to get kids to eat more vegetables. The veggies you grow in your backyard will usually taste better than the ones you buy at the store. If your kids are old enough, you could get them to help in the garden. If your kids helped to grow and pick the vegetables, they will be more likely to want to try them.
Don’t Give Up
Don’t give up on getting your children to eat vegetables just because they are reluctant at first. It is normal for kids to be wary of trying new things, so you should make them vegetables regularly and provide encouragement.