Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat their vegetables? Of course.
My daughter was very fond of trying and eating almost anything…and then she was two and a half years old. Now it’s practically 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 clever ways to put some greens in it. Here are some of my favourites.
1) Make a big pot of vegetable soup then add some fun noodle shapes. You can use alphabet noodles or come up with some fun novelty shapes. You may be able to find some cartoon characters, toys and sports shapes etc. I’ve even seen shapes of pumpkins and Christmas trees. Hopefully, your kids will be too busy spelling words or identifying shapes to notice all the vegetables they’re 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, cocktail umbrella or celery stick and watch them drink it down. Your kids may not get as much fiber as eating the whole veggie, but getting them to drink their veggies is better than no veggies in their system at all.
3) Have you tried offering them some raw vegetables with a little ranch dressing to dip them in? Many children who don’t like cooked vegetables much will eat them if they can get them wet. Just take a bag of baby carrots and cut up some red and yellow bell peppers and some cucumber. Arrange them on a plate with some ranch dressing or your favorite vegetable dip on the side.
4) Go a step further and let them create works of art with 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 cucumber slices for eyes, a small carrot for a nose, and a slice of red pepper for a mouth. You can use grated watercress or carrots or even some cheese for hair. Before you know it, you’ll find them trying out their “art supplies”.
5) To get them to eat more vegetables at dinner time try a small salad bar. Put some lettuce, some sliced or diced tomato, cucumber slices, grated carrot, red and yellow bell pepper slices, little broccoli florets, and anything else you can think of. You can also offer them a few options when it comes to salad dressings. Favorites in our house are Ranch, Italian, Catalina, and French. To top it off, layer on some croutons and grated cheese.
6) Gather the kids and make a cold veggie pizza. Start with a tin of crescent rolls. Unroll the dough, but do not separate the triangle shapes. Instead, gather the seams and bake on a baking sheet according to package directions. Let the dough sheet cool completely, then spread with some cream cheese (we like a vegetable or herb flavored one) and top with some thinly sliced raw vegetables. Cut into squares and serve.
7) Involve them in the kitchen, especially when it comes to cooking. Ask them to wash the vegetables, if they are old enough, let them cut the vegetables (under your supervision of course), let them help you stir, or whatever else you can think of that is age appropriate. You will be surprised how proud they will be of your finished product. Trust me, they will try almost anything if they succeed.
8) If all else fails, hide the vegetables in other foods. My mom used to make us special orange mashed potatoes. We thought she was very fancy, but all she did was cook some carrots with the potatoes and mash them right there. You can also cover the broccoli with tomato sauce or cheese. Think of a dish that your child really likes and include it with some vegetables.
Try some of these ideas and see which ones work best for your children. Keep it up and sooner or later they will start to develop a taste for vegetables.