08 Oct Creative Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat Vegetables
As a parent, you know vegetables are extremely important to our diet, especially in growing children. As adults, we have an understanding of the multitude of benefits accessed through fitness and proper nutrition. However most of the time, our kiddos need a bit more convincing. Coming up with creative ways to get kids to eat vegetables won’t always be easy, but that doesn’t mean impossible. Slight changes in appearance or even occasion can make fruits and veggies for kids’ household favorites to look forward to.
Federal surveys conclude that at least 20% of children ages 6-11 eat less than one serving of veggies a day. Considering the recommendation is at least 7 servings daily in the United States, there’s room for improvement.
What’s more, 45% of youngsters have zero servings of fruit in a day, contributing to unbalanced nutritional harmony. The good news is, with some creativity, we can both encourage the increase of vegetable consumption, and enjoy it too!
List Of Creative Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat Vegetables
There are many creative ways to get kids to eat vegetables, and below are five easy tips to do so!
Tip 1: What They Don’t Know Won’t Hurt Them
Let us face it, very few kids will opt for steamed broccoli over a crispy fried chicken nugget. Honestly, can you even blame them? Although every once in a while these foods can be enjoyed in moderation, one way or another veggies should too. For most caregivers that means doing what it takes to sneak them into their meals, and hope they don’t notice.
Hiding veggies in meals or incorporating them into your child’s favorite meal works for those especially picky eaters. If your child is stubborn and will not budge to try any vegetables to start, especially those incognito. The easy way out is to purchase vegetable-based products such as chickpea pasta, cauliflower rice, etc. Your child might taste a slight difference in comparison, but won’t realize it’s truly a vegetable, and likely eat it.
Tip 2: Colorful Camouflage
Another way to do this is to keep your meals colorful. Try adding a sauce to coat pieces of veggies mixed into your dishes, like cauliflower and chicken teriyaki. Sometimes mixing a stir fry increases the chances that at least a few will make it to the fork. Mix those peas into that thick white sauce, or chunks of eggplant into their chicken spaghetti. If you’re brave you can even go full vegetarian lasagna, or replace meat with veggies in a hearty chili.
Remember, if at first, you don’t succeed, it’s important to keep trying. Packed with important vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables for kids play a role in growth and development. It may feel sneaky to trick your children into eating their veggies, but it is for their benefit. Will it work every time? No… probably not. But once you get a few in there, you’ll be secretly celebrating, knowing their nutritional needs are met.
Tip 3: Kids Love Entertainment
From an early age, many children play with toys consisting of various shapes and colors to distinguish one from another. Fruits and veggies for kids can also be manipulated into different shapes to boost both curiosity and appeal. Changing the presentation into something playful makes eating nutritious foods a more exciting opportunity, and a bonus learning experience too.
If you are stumped for ideas, keep it simple. Remember presentation is just as important to taste so keeping it upbeat might help too. Try using a fun-shaped cookie cutter and cut the vegetables into appealing patterns. You can also stack them to create a fun figure, house, flowers, etc!
Tip 4: Work With What You Know They Love
There are just some food favorites that kids can’t turn down. Using this to your advantage allows for creative ways to get kids to eat vegetables. Most of the time they’ll be aware that vegetables have taken the place of certain ingredients, but don’t panic yet. As long as the meal itself is relatively the same, there is still hope.
For a kid that can’t go a day without their spaghetti in sauce, opt for zucchini noodles. For buttered noodle lovers, spaghetti squash just might work. If that still doesn’t cut it, substitute in some vegan meatballs and they’ll never know the difference. Most adults don’t either.
While we would love for our kids to embrace these vegetables and the meals they make, some don’t. That’s why fun foods stand a better chance. Some others worth trying call for substitution of vegetables for kids in place of their favorite foods, like cauliflower pizza. Another option is Mac and Cheese, mixing the cheese sauce with something like a carrot puree.
Tip 5: Keep The Healthy Snacks Available
When kids are hungry, they are more likely to take the path of least resistance. As adults, we are often guilty of utilizing convenience as well. Aiming to help your little ones eat the recommended 1-3 cups of veggies a day can seem time-consuming. But realistically, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Although creative ways to get kids to eat vegetables regularly do help, having clean and cut options available also works. We mean this very literally too. It takes just a few minutes a week to prep, clean, cut, and portion fruits and veggies. Especially fruits and veggies for kids high in fiber satisfy hunger and quench snack cravings best.
Some of the best high-fiber snack options of fruits and veggies for kids are:
Helpful Hints: Some fruits like apples and bananas can turn brown quickly after being cut and exposed to oxygen. For bananas, try wrapping them in plastic wrap for transport, to keep a tight seal. Apples, on the other hand, only need a splash of lemon, or any citrus juice, to prevent discoloration.
Reaching in the fridge for a quick bite can be made even healthier when finger foods are placed upfront. Having sliced and portioned carrots or celery is an easy on-the-go treat, for even the busiest of health-conscious parents. Fruits and veggies for kids as treats on the go take an extra step or two, but it’s worth it. Besides, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Tip 6: Try Cooking Together
Speaking of creativity, cooking together makes for a fun way to introduce nutritious foods to kids. By allowing your child/children to create their very own dish, you give them the power to become inspired. One of the most creative ways to get kids to eat vegetables is to make them the creators!
With your help, provide your child with a variety of vegetables and other ingredients to choose from. They can combine or cook whatever they choose, making a meal of their very own. When they know this food is of their creation, they are more inclined to try it. Who knows they might end up loving it, and that’s an all-around win.
Tip 7: You Are The Parent, You Provide The Food
Remember, you are the parent, and you make the household rules. While we’d all love to believe that eventually kids will come around and love fruits and veggies, sometimes they don’t. Forcing your child to eat their veggies may not always be ideal, but sometimes it is necessary. As they grow their taste will change, and what they once thought of as yuck, may soon evolve into yum.
Because of this, it’s important to continue to introduce and re-introduce vegetables at mealtime. Don’t allow your child to continue to reject what you provide once and quit, instead keep trying. If the vegetables are continuously reintroduced, they might just say yes to it. When they do, make it a point to celebrate it. Until then be patient and keep at it.
Tip 8: Tis’ The Seasoning
Preparing vegetables for kids is as much about what they will like, as what they surely won’t. For example, when cooking or seasoning veggies, steer clear of spices that require a more mature pallet. Keep it simple and if you need to embellish, do it with the basics. Try a bit of butter or spread on the peas.
Maybe even a touch of salt on the corn. What about a dash of cheese on the broccoli? Get creative, but keep it simple. I assure you, no 4 year old has ever had a craving for saffron or clove. Keep it quick and basic, and once they start chowing down, remember what worked. Remember… no sudden movements.
Tip 9: Knowledge Is Power
There is an alternative to forcing or tricking your child into eating healthy foods that are good for them. In fact, at a certain age growing big and strong is a desirable objective. Informing them that fruits and vegetables are the ways to get there may make them more appealing. By educating kids on the importance of essential nutrients and which foods they are found in, they gain perspective. Soon, they can begin to make their own health-conscious choices.
You could start by explaining how Vitamin A is important for healthy eyes and good vision. Some foods to encourage that are rich in Vitamin A include spinach, carrots, and broccoli. Likewise, a parent could reinforce the benefits of a strong immune system, and how Vitamin C contributes. While Vitamin C is also found in broccoli and carrots, alternative sources include tomatoes, oranges, and strawberries.
Tip 10: Monkey See, Monkey Do
Kids are sponges for information. Especially at young ages, they watch and repeat almost everything. Because of this, the most creative way to get kids to eat vegetables is by seeing them do it. Remember, you are your child’s first and most influential teacher.
You are also their hero. Make it a point to eat your veggies and healthy snacks around them. Let your child see you eating them, and especially enjoying them. They will eventually become more curious and especially if they see you eating it they might want to try it. Besides, even if it doesn’t work, you are still contributing to your health, and likely even your waistline.
Tip 11: Targeting The Essentials
If you are still having trouble, you are not alone. Most people have trouble making the right food choices. FITTEAM Global is dedicated to encouraging healthy relationships between you and your body.
Reach out today to learn about the products and services available and make your health and wellness dream a reality. With some creativity, you and your loved ones can all begin to feel your best, and enjoy doing it too!