Broccoli. Spinach. Peas. Green beans. Salad. These are feared words to the ears of many children. They spend their dinner times disguising their vegetables under other food, pushing them around the plate, or even hiding them in a napkin to avoid eating them. Vegetables are a vital part of healthy diet and many parents struggle to get their kids to eat them. If that’s a problem in your household, here are some ways on how to get your kids to eat their veggies.
Vegetables lose not only their flavor but also all of their nutrients when they’re cooked. Try serving your children raw, or barely blanched, vegetables with dipping sauces like ranch, hummus, cheese, or marinara sauce. The flavor of fresh vegetables is completely different and delicious. Plus with a little added crunch your kids will have more fun eating them. Some great dippers are carrots, celery, jicama, cucumbers, bell peppers, and sugar pea pods.
In recent years there are have been tons of cookbooks released that are dedicated to recipes that will allow you to hide vegetables within your children’s favorite dishes. Puree cauliflower and use it in a cheese sauce for homemade macaroni and cheese. Steam carrots and combine them with mashed potatoes. Place spinach, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, or peppers in a spaghetti sauce; for pickier kids you could even puree the spaghetti sauce to completely hide the vegetables. Pick out your children’s top dishes and figure out how you can sneak some vegetables into them and you’re kids will be eating veggies with every meal.
Try getting them to drink their vegetables by making a juice every morning or afternoon. Use any combination of spinach, kale, carrots, or beets and add in apples, pears, pineapple, citrus juices, pomegranate or cherry juice, and bananas to make a nutrient-packed and delicious smoothie. With the right combination of sweet fruits, a splash of fruit juice and vegetables, your kids won’t even know they’re drinking something healthy. Our bodies absorb nutrients faster out of liquid so you’ll also be giving your kids a boost of energy and plenty of essential vitamins and nutrients.
Don’t forget that kids learn by example. Cook, eat, and enjoy all the vegetables you can and your kids will eventually catch on. They start learning their taste for food while in the womb so your diet will always affect them. Give them the taste for fresh fruits and vegetables from the start by eating them. The more fresh foods they eat, the less taste they’ll have for processed foods.
Mix up your cooking styles and sample foods from all around the world. In many cultures vegetables are the staple, not meat, dairy, or grains. Look to Eastern cuisine from India, Thailand, or Vietnam to find recipes that encourage cooking with mostly vegetables. Expanding your cooking repertoire will help you find delicious and inventive ways to cook vegetables that you would maybe never think of on your own. Look online for Shahiya recipes and other inspiration for using veggies as your main dish.
With a little nudge from Mom and Dad your kids will eat vegetables like candy. Teaching your kids to eat healthfully is a gift that will benefit them for their whole lives.