With the school year approaching, and lunchboxes getting hastily thrown together in the mornings, it is very easy to forget about making sure that your child is receiving the proper nutrition he/she needs to receive in order to stay healthy!
I was blessed with a child who absolutely loves vegetables, but my youngest….not so much! Here are ten ways to help (and maybe trick) your child into eating their veggies!
1. Make it creative. Think of unique and creative ways to engage your child to enjoy their snack! For our kids- we make “Ants on a log”- a simple piece of celery with some peanut butter smeared on top and raisins lining the top for the ants!
If you know your children will have a difficult time choosing to eat his/her veggies at dinner, make a monster out of the veggies, or design it into the shape of a heart. My husband loves making the kids “smiley faces” with their food!
2. Let them choose. When you go grocery shopping- give them the choice to pick what veggies they want! This always helps with my kids- they feel more independent and more in control of things so they are more likely to eat it when you fix it!
3. Be sneaky– my youngest hates most of his veggies. So when it’s time for “junk” food snacks, we buy him veggie chips. Veggie chips certainly shouldn’t replace their meals or regular servings of vegetables, but it’s a great way to sneak in just a few more veggies!! Puree veggies and add them to casseroles and roasts!
4. Vegetable Pouches– I hate to say this, but when we are desperate to get my youngest eating more veggies, or if we are traveling and concerned about proper nutrition, I buy Happy Baby Vegetable puree pouches. They are very expensive- about $1 each, but it is straight veggies and very healthy for your kids. My son believe it or not will actually eat the spinach/pea/green bean pouch, when he would normally turn his nose at all of that on the dinner table.
5. Instill a “no thank you” bite. I learned this genius tip from one of my child’s daycare workers. My kids have to take one bite of everything. That’s it, one bite. It helps them get over the “I’m not in the mood to try anything” funk and afterwards they are allowed to refuse the food. More often than not they find that they really like most of the foods.
6. Add some garnish and sauces! Sometimes, allowing your kids to DIP their veggies makes all the difference- seriously! I don’t even know why. Try some ranch, ketchup, gravy, or whatever else you can think of to get them to eat up!
7. Serve it different ways. My boys won’t eat cooked carrots, but they’ll eat bags and bags of raw carrots! If your child refuses to eat their veggies one way, try it in a different format. You can serve them hot, cold, raw, pureed, frozen, cooked, etc.
8. Keep trying! Even though my kids may refuse their veggies, I just keep trying. I place a small dish of the veggie they won’t eat on the table next to them. I don’t make them eat it, but I offer it at every meal. Usually, after a while, they end up getting interested in it and trying it out.
9. Pack them in their lunches! Try to always pack a veggie in your child’s lunchbox! One of those days they might be so hungry they have to eat it! It’s healthy for them and chances are- they’ll love it!
10. Cut your losses. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, they just refuse a particular veggie. It’s OK! Find a new one and start with it! There are many varieties of veggies to try so don’t get too hung up if there is one or two they won’t eat. Just keep the veggies on their plate and eventually one day they will try them.