As a parent you know it’s important to get kids to eat their vegetables. Depending on their ages, kids need to eat 1 to 2-1/2 cups of veggies a day. Follow these tips to make it a little easier.
Kids say vegetables are gross for a reason. It's not just a desire to be difficult. Some vegetables are more bitter than others, and kids' taste buds are especially sensitive to bitterness. Don’t fight them if they refuse the broccoli or kale.
Start by introducing your kids to starchy vegetables, like carrots, peas, corn and sweet potatoes. They tend to have a sweeter, milder taste, so kids are more likely to eat them.
Mix veggies into kid favorites like lasagna or Confetti Mac and Cheese. It's not just a matter of masking the taste but of suppressing it. Some of the compounds that make vegetables taste bitter actually dissolve in fat. Puree cauliflower into Cheesy Smashed Potatoes or put chopped spinach in Smart Spaghetti & Meatballs or a meatloaf to hide the flavor. You can even add veggies to desserts by mixing in finely shredded zucchini into brownies or a Chocolate-Zucchini Cake.
A quick dip in a salad dressing like ranch gives raw vegetables a nice flavor kick. So does cream cheese and peanut butter. Try out creative recipes like Ants on a Log or Easy Asian Veggie Dip for kid-friendly snacks. Lots of condiment and dairy products in your refrigerator are worth a try: barbecue sauce, ketchup, honey mustard, sour cream or yogurt. Let kids experiment with mixing flavors.
Cut thin strips of carrots and peppers, and encourage your kids to create designs on a plate or let them make a vegetable tower. Make eating vegetables fun by having your child help you create snacks like Skeleton Brain and Dip.
And not just with making sure your kids eat vegetables. Overcooked and boiled vegetables can turn into bland, mushy mess. Try steaming or roasting to keep vegetables nice and tender yet crisp. They'll retain their flavor and they'll be a bright, appetizing color.
Be an Example
Good luck getting a child to eat those green beans if he's never seen you eat one! Model good eating habits for your child by putting something from each food group on your own plate at every meal.