Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat their veggies? I sure do.
My daughter used to be great about trying and eating just about anything…and then she turned 2 ½. Now it is pretty much impossible to get her to eat anything other than corn when it comes to vegetables. So I had to come up with some fun and sometimes sneaky ways to get some veggies in her. Here are a few of my favorites.
1) Make big pot of vegetable soup, and then add some fun noodle shapes. You can use alphabet noodles or look for some fun novelty shapes. You may be able to find some cartoon characters, toy and sports shapes etc. I have even seen pumpkin and Christmas tree shapes. With a little luck your kids will be too busy spelling words, or identifying the shape to notice all the veggies they are eating in the soup.
2) If you can’t make them eat it, make them drink it. Pour some vegetable juice over ice and add a straw, a cocktail umbrella or a stick of celery and watch them drink it up. Your kids may not get as much fiber as eating the entire vegetable, but getting them to drink their vegetables is better than not getting any vegetables in their system.
3) Have you tried offering them some raw vegetables with some ranch dressing to dip them in? Many kids who don’t care much for cooked vegetables will eat them up if they can dip them. Just grab a bag of baby carrots and cut up some red and yellow peppers and some cucumber. Arrange them on a plate with a little bit of ranch dressing or your favorite vegetable dip on the side.
4) Take it even a step further and let them create artwork out of their vegetables. Offer raw vegetables in different colors and shapes and encourage them to make a vegetable collage on their plate. You can easily make a face using slices of cucumber as eyes, a baby carrot as nose and a slice of red pepper as a mouth. You can use watercress or shredded carrots or even some cheese as hair. Before you know it, you’ll find them sampling their “art supplies”.
5) To get them to eat more vegetables at dinnertime try a little salad bar. Put out some lettuce, some sliced or chopped tomato, slices of cucumber, shredded carrot, slices of red and yellow peppers, small broccoli flowerets and anything else you can think of. You may also want to offer them some choices when it comes to salad dressing. Favorites in our house are Ranch, Italian, Catalina, and French. To top it all of set out some croutons and shredded cheese.
6) Get the kids together and make a cold vegetable pizza. Start out with a can of crescent rolls. Unroll the dough, but don’t pull the triangle shapes apart. Instead push the seams together and bake on a baking sheet according to the package directions. Let the sheet of dough cool completely, then spread with some crème cheese (we like a vegetable or herb flavored one) and top with some thinly sliced raw veggies. Cut into squares and serve.
7) Get them involved in the kitchen especially when it comes to cooking. Ask them to wash the vegetables, if they are old enough let them cut veggies (under your supervision of course), let them help you stir, or anything else you can think of that would be age appropriate. You’ll be amazed at how proud they will be of their finished product. Believe me, they’ll try just about anything if they made it.
8) If everything else fails, hide the vegetables in other food. My mom used to make us some special orange mashed potatoes. We thought it was very fancy, but all she did was to cook some carrots with the potatoes and mashed them right in there. You can also cover broccoli with tomato sauce or cheese. Think of a dish your child really enjoys and sneak a little bit of vegetable in there.
Give a few of these ideas a try and see which ones work best for your children. Keep at it and sooner or later they will start to develop a taste for vegetables.