How Do You Get Your Kids to Enjoy Vegetables?

science-picky-eaters-viThis is a question for all the parents out there: How can we get our kids to eat and enjoy vegetables?

This week, NPR featured an article suggesting that forcing kids to eat vegetables leads to less consumption (check out the article here: Selling Kids on Veggies When Rules Like ‘Clean Your Plate’ Fail). They list a few ideas like grilling vegetables or adding produce to dessert, but we figure the best ideas on this subject will come directly from parents. So if you have an idea that works for your kids, please share it in our comments below.

To get the ball rolling, here are a few ideas:

  1. Plant a few vegetables in a garden box at home. If kids are part of the growing process, they’ll be more likely to try what they grow.
  2. Try to always have bite-size veggies available. While you’re making dinner and your kids tell you, “We’re starving!” you can give them some veggie appetizers for a pre-dinner snack.
  3. Experiment with lots of veggie loaded recipes, and make sure you try everything you cook (kids will follow your lead). If you’re constantly giving new options, it’ll make veggie eating fun. If you need some vegetable recipes, check out our Healthy Recipe Pinterest Page.

Those are our ideas, what do you have that works?

Related Post: Introducing Kids to Track and Field

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8 Comments

  1. カジュアル 腕時計

    Reply
  2. Charis

     /  March 7, 2013

    Early on we nicknamed many healthy items “treats”. After dinner my son may want a treat, but sometimes that means he would like cherry tomatoes, sometimes a cookie, we don’t make a fuss either way. We never “made” him eat his vegetables, we just highlighted them as an enjoyable part of his meal rather them making them seem negative. The pay off is a kid that loves his veggies. The other night my son refused to eat his entrée (pasta) and said, “Can I just have more salad instead.” I found myself very conflicted, but I stayed the course so my reply was for him to eat his dinner and then he could have more salad.

    Offering choices between healthy food is also helpful, “do you want strawberries or apples.”

    Also for the older kids, nicknaming veggies/healthy foods: example: Super Hero vision Carrots has been documented (via research) to increase consumption of healthy foods.

    I love the other ideas too. I think each kid is a little different, my daughter is not the veggie lover her brother is, despite the same encounters with healthy foods, so it is helpful to have new ideas to try out. THANKS!!

    Reply
  3. Colleen Thompson

     /  March 7, 2013

    With our two 8-year-old, we’ve found that involving them in shopping and food prep process helps. They enjoy taste-testing new fruits and veggies, especially when they’ve had a hand in shopping or helping out in the kitchen. They’ve always eaten the same foods we prepare for ourselves and we have a longstanding policy of fresh fruits and veggies being unlimited items, available for self-service any time. Our pediatrician got us off on the right path by coaching us to not refer to “bad” or “junk” foods, but instead to identify healthy foods as those that “help us grow.” Having kids who’ll try anything and like most anything sure makes dining out – or in! – much easier and more pleasant for all of us.

    Reply
  4. Justin

     /  March 6, 2013

    How about a veggie bracket, similar to March Madness basketball tournament? Have the kids try two fruits/veggies each day and pick their favorite. The winner each day advances in the bracket until one is ultimately crowned fruit/veggie champion. It will get them eating more fruits and veggies, and will let you know which ones they are most likely to consume in the future!

    Reply
  5. I agree that setting a good example is the best way we can get our kids to eat better and live a healthier life. I made a point early on when my kids were just starting to eat solid foods to blend vegetables along with other foods so they were exposed to a variety of different flavors and textures. My kids have always eaten what we eat and the food, including vegetables, have always been presented as food that helps them grow big and strong. I don’t force them to eat vegetables they don’t like but I do try and reintroduce vegetables they may not have liked the month before, at another time. You never know when they might start developing new tastes for new foods. I also make sure that I ask my kids what veggies they like – you’d be surprised at how many they might actually like. Also, get creative. Kids may not like carrots cooked one way, but rather raw – keep trying!

    Reply
  6. Kumari

     /  March 6, 2013

    Those are all really great ideas! I try to get my kid involved in the cooking process and it seems to help. Also setting a good example by eating healthy (lots of fruits and veggies) in front of them can help. I try not to be too serious with it and try to make it fun when we are eating, like playing games, or explaining why certain foods are really good for your health. Not letting your kid fill up on snacky foods is also good, then while dinner is getting ready, you can give them a carrot or some broccoli to eat before the meal is ready. I find that having lots of fresh fruits and veggies available to your child always helps. I usually have to offer new things or stuff that my child doesn’t like several times before she will readily eat it, so don’t give up!

    Reply
  1. Infographic: What’s a Serving? The Fruit and Vegetable Serving Guide | Million Ideas
  2. March Madness: The Veggie Bracket (part 1) | Million Ideas

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