If you’re a parent you are probably very familiar with the struggle to get your children to eat vegetables. Eating healthy is an important part of childhood. As their bodies are continually developing and changing it’s important for them to eat healthy foods. Here are some clever ways to incorporate more vegetables into your children’s diet.
1. Be sneaky. While sneaking vegetables into your child’s diet may seem deceptive or mean, sometimes a little deception might be required in order to get them the nutrients their bodies needs in order to grow. There are ways to incorporate vegetables into their food where they’ll never know the difference. With young children you can make casseroles that conceal vegetable content completely. Another approach is incorporating vegetables in such a way that they don’t look like vegetables anymore once they’ve been put in with everything else. No matter what you choose to do the goal is to conceal the vegetable as much as you can.
2. Make it fun. The most important thing to kids is having fun while they eat. So even though you may look like a fool trying to get them to eat their vegetables, if it works then keep doing it. There are many ways that you can make vegetables look more appealing such as setting the vegetables up in the shape of a face or an animal. Whatever you can think of that will make it interesting and fun for kids to eat will work. For example, make a happy face using green beans for the smile, potatoes for the hair, some zucchini for the ears, cherry tomatoes for eyes and a small carrot for the nose. When you make it fun, kids really get a kick out of eating their vegetables for dinner.
3. Vegetables in disguise. This is somewhat like sneaking it into their bodies. Camouflaging vegetables is easier than you think. A serving size of spaghetti sauce equals a day’s worth of vegetables. There are also plenty of vegetables that are the same color as foods you would serve in a main dish. For example, potatoes and pureed cauliflower can be mixed together with some milk and butter and children don’t know the difference. Make meatloaf and add crushed tomatoes or red peppers into the recipe; your kids are none the wiser.
4. Give them choices. Sometimes the best way to get your kids’ their daily dose of fruits and veggies is as an after school snack, or a mid-day snack if they’re not in school yet. Set a basket out with several different fruits and vegetables in it. Give them instructions that they must choose a set number of fruits and vegetables to eat and then let them choose which ones they want to try. Often times when children know they can choose what they eat they are more likely to eat it happily. It’s important to remember that children are learning how to make good choices so help them out by giving them several choices.
5. Hero talk. Many young children have a favorite super hero or television character. The suggestion that their hero eats their vegetables to be big and strong they are more likely to eat them. You might even want to pick real heroes that your kids can look up to and want to be like “when they grow up”.
Getting your child to eat their vegetables can be a daunting task but with a few tricks and some creativity it can be done. Hopefully these suggestions will give you some ideas on how to incorporate more vegetables into your kid’s diet.