I frequently get asked how I get my kids eat their vegetables. As you may or may not know, we are plant-based at home. So we eat a lot of vegetables!
My kids love veggies (most of the time). Their favorite veggies include broccoli, sweet corn and carrot.
Don't get me wrong, they go through phases when it comes to food, and one food is loved one day and hated the next day.
Here is what works for us:
Offer, offer, offer. If they see it in front of them every single day, they’re bound to eat it. This is how I got Hannah to love broccoli when she was 2. It was her home mid-afternoon snack for months.
Make it appetizing - no one really likes raw plain broccoli 🥦 do they?! Pop frozen broccoli in the microwave (or steam raw), toss with a little (vegan) butter and a little salt. It’s so good! My girls can devour a whole plate of this in one sitting.
Offer safe foods. Sometimes, just give them what they like. If I am making something with peas (one kid loves and one kid wont touch), I will add a veggie I know she likes.
Try to eat meals as a family. If kids see you eating it, you are leading by example.
No special food for kids. We eat rice with veggies/legumes everyday. I will serve chicken nuggets or pizza only if that is on the menu for the whole family.
Give options. I only make one thing for days. There are no options to eat different things. However, I add more than one vegetable in the food especially if I know it will cause problems (like peas).
Cater to moods - Sometimes. If she doesn’t like peas, I pick it out and give her extra carrots. She used to dislike mushrooms so I used to blend it into the marinara (she's a fan now). Some days it is just not worth the fight.
Start early but it’s never too late - we introduced solids at 4 months. By 6 months she was eating regular table food and doing baby led weaning #BLW. Food before one isn’t just for fun, this is the time to introduce different flavors and textures. Talk to your pediatrician
Cook together. They can sprinkle in the spices and even stir at a very early age. They can help prep the table. Their dinnerware is in a low drawer within their reach. This way they can feel they are making choices for themselves.
Dessert after meals or with meals. My preference is the former. However, studies show that giving dessert with meals might actually be better in decreasing their obsession with dessert. I do not consistently do one or the other. Do your research and make a plan.
Hiding foods? I sometimes resort to pureeing veggies and hiding them into sauces, but I do this very infrequently. I figure, life doesn't work this way and they need to get used to it. Besides, tricking them does not seem like a good long term solution
Smoothies. I don't hide the fact that I'm putting veggies in smoothies. We are not a big smoothie family, we may have it once a month or less. But when I do, it is most often when I food that is about to go bad
Thinking outside the box. I haven't done this, but many use beans in brownies and other veggies into other foods. This is kind of like hiding food, but it is also a smart way of using up good food in a healthy and delicious way. So Why not?
Kids are like sponges. It’s important to teach them good habits early. But like all parents, we are not perfect. I have learned to be ok and move on if they don't want to eat something (or at least I'm trying).
If you have any tips or tricks, share them below!
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