One of the questions we get asked most often is “How to get kids to eat their vegetables?” Getting children to eat vegetables can be even more difficult if you have a picky eater and you force the issue. Doing this can prove to be counter-productive with kids refusing to eat any vegetables.
So, what can we do? Before trying to trick children into eating vegetables, we first need to understand why kids don’t like them.
There can be many reasons for this. Maybe, your child doesn’t like the way you prepare veggies. The fact is, they may find the taste boring or bland, or they are just a picky eater. In fact, according to a research study, when children are told about a food’s usefulness, they are less likely to eat it.
Identifying what doesn’t work will often help find what may work. In this article, we will discuss some smart parenting tricks to get kids to eat their vegetables. Remember, smart work is better than hard work!
A Spoonful Will Start A Picky Eater
It is going to be a reasonable compromise for your picky eater. Teach them it’s polite to at least try a food before rejecting it. Assure them you won’t force them to eat something they don’t like the taste of.
When trying to get kids to eat their vegetables, understand that taste buds may take time to adjust to new flavours. Kids often begin to enjoy food once their taste buds begin to accept that flavour. So, starting with a spoonful and then gradually increasing quantities can work wonders.
Food Texture Matters To A Picky Eater
Food textures can be crunchy, juicy, smooth, soft, crispy, chewy or dry. To understand how to get kids to eat their vegetables, you first must know that picky eaters like food with a particular texture.
Identify which texture your child likes and turn veggies to the one that suits.
- If your kid prefers a smooth texture try mashed potatoes.
- Similarly, for a crunchy texture consider coated fries. You could even try a fried eggplant?
- For a dry or chewy texture roasted potatoes are perfect.
- Cauliflower Manchurian can provide the desired juicy texture.
- Vegetable soups may also work well for juicy cravings.
Experiment with different textures until you reach the desired one.
Hiding Them May Get Kids To Eat Their Vegetables
Sometimes, kids don’t like how vegetables look so they don’t find them attractive. When dealing with a picky eater, the smart alternative is to conceal the vegetables in their favorite food.
Try the following methods of concealing food to get kids to eat their vegetables:
- Who doesn’t like patties? Turn veggies into patties
- Muffins are delicious. How about trying spinach muffins?
- Veggie pancakes are both healthy and delicious. Give them a try!
- Veggie stew may also work if your kid like gravies
- Adding veggies into your kid’s favorite meatball recipe is a next level persuasion.
- Mixing some veggies into the Alfredo sauce or spaghetti is another way of adding nutrition to your child’s diet.
- Try Zucchini noodles and Pumpkin Bread. Your picky eater will love it.
- Vegetable smoothies are another must-try!
Avoid the word “Vegetable.”
Let me give you a useful tip to get kids to eat their vegetables. Most often, it’s not the taste of the vegetable that bothers them but the association with the word “vegetable”.
Try not to make a big deal out of it. When you don’t mention the name “vegetable,” they may not even notice it’s there.
If you make a vegetable sandwich for them, don’t mention that they are vegetable sandwiches. Just say that you have prepared yummy sandwiches and then see how things start turning in your favor.
Get Kids To Eat Their Vegetables By Making Them Fun
Sometimes, picky eaters are not worried about the taste or texture, they just find vegetables boring. Adding fun and a sense of play in the presentation of food can get kids to eat their vegetables.
Try shapes by making trees or faces. Make veggies fun by getting them in the garden to grow and pick yummy fresh vegetables. Allow them to help in both the harvesting and preparing of fresh vegetables.
You may also try storytelling. Use their favorite character to show how good veggies are for you. Use Popeye the sailor man, encouraged many kids to eat their vegetables, specifically spinach.
This will work with other cartoon characters. In fact, Bugs Bunny shows kids how much he loves carrots.
A lot of children are picky eaters. This can be because they don’t like the appearance, texture, aroma or taste. This may make it difficult to get kids to eat their vegetables. Fortunately, it is not impossible.
Using smart tricks like concealing, incorporating play or changing texture and shapes may work in making food look attractive to picky eaters.
You need to select the trick that works best for you in getting kids to eat their vegetables.
With an educational background Alana loves the science behind child development. Her passion is the way in which children learn and grow. After an accident that ended her career as a teacher she has dedicated herself to studying child development. She has been learning styles to help influence teachers with the needs of different children. She hopes to one day have a big impact in this space and we are so lucky to have her as part of our writing team. Alana is mum to 3 young adults and loves being a big part in their life.