5 Steps to Get Your Kids to Eat More Veggies

5 Steps to Get Your Kids to Eat More Veggies

Most meal directors, also known as multi-tasking parents, would welcome the chance to offer more vegetables to their children and have those vegetables eaten willingly. We secretly hope that the vegetables that we present will be eaten without threatening, shouting, and/or tears from any of the parties involved. 

Having several vegetable delivery routes in your arsenal is definitely an advantage to you in your goal for reaching the MyPlate recommendation of having half of the plate filled with vegetables and fruit at each eating occasion.

So, here is a 5 step plan to add more vegetables for you and your family that will get rave reviews from the toughest of critics.

Step 1: Serve Them as a Supporting Role

Always have a side of vegetables. Whether they’re raw and with or without dip, steamed with a sprinkle of cheese, mashed, added to a pasta salad with whole wheat pasta, or made to look like a forest, be creative and keep presenting them to your family. A study done by the University of Arizona showed that exposure to a food in childhood, regardless of whether the child liked it at the time, is related to liking that food in adulthood.

Step 2: Serve Them in a Starring Role

Make the vegetable(s) the entrée with vegetarian fare, or give them part of the limelight in the entrée. If you’re serving pizza, chop bell peppers, spinach, artichoke hearts, and more to add to your toppings.  When you are making a casserole, pick vegetables you chop and throw in?

Serving a marinara? Add carrots, bell pepper, and zucchini.

Step 3: Serve Them Behind the Scenes

Sometimes, hiding the vegetables has its advantages.  Yes, continue to present vegetables for your children to try, but there are so many opportunities to incorporate vegetables into food where your child just won’t notice that they’re there, and you get to boost the flavor and nutrition of your meal.

 

You can also use vegetables to replace grains in some recipes. Your family may not notice the substitution, or they may notice and enjoy the new flavors.

Step 4: Serve Them as Extras

Add an “extra” of powerful green vegetables to your set of favorite smoothie ingredients.  The greens add almost no flavor but they pack in the nutrition. Greens such as spinach and kale provide iron, calcium, vitamins C, A, and K, antioxidants, and fiber.

Step 5. Serve Them as Cameo Appearances  

Did you know that vegetables can make cameos as ingredients in delicious baked goods? Zucchini muffins, fruit and veggie smoothie muffins, and zucchini carrot muffins make delicious snacks or breakfast fare. I like to replace the all-purpose flour called for in recipes with white whole wheat flour, whereas some people like to use a combination of half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour. You can experiment to see what works for you. I also often use applesauce for the oil in baked goods.

With the right plan, you can get your kid to love vegetables.

 While your kitchen wins at home may not bring the paparazzi out in droves, you’ll feel as though you are a superstar when you succeed at serving your children vegetables that they will eat and enjoy.

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