How can I get my kids to eat vegetables?
This is a constant battle in some homes. Do you have a great solution that has worked to get your family eating more veggies?
We asked several Toddler Approved community members for their best tips and then we added in some of ours and we created an awesome list of ideas for you!
One of our goals this new year is to make sure to include a vegetable with each meal and/or get our kids to eat more variety of veggies. Our kids can be picky, so we love finding new ideas.
21 WAYS TO GET KIDS TO EAT THEIR VEGGIES
Here are 21 fun ideas to try if you’re stuck in a rut.
1. Serve Veggies as an Appetizer BEFORE dinner.
We often pre-eat veggies before dinner. I’ll offer fresh or cooked veggies on a plate, sometimes with a dip (my little loves balsamic glaze) Then he will graze as I prep dinner with him. He’s usually pretty hungry by then so he makes a good effort of the veggies but still has room for dinner.
2. Be consistent.
Just put it on their plate everyday(vary the veggie and the way it is prepared and or seasoned) and make sure you and other family members are eating their veggies too…don’t push it….eventually, they will eat them!
3. Watch shows about eating veggies.
And if you allow screen time, Youtube “Mother Goose Club Dinosaur Stomp” which is all about eating veggies. Now we eat our veggies like dinosaurs (especially when trying to get him to eat raw!).
4. Encourage them to try two small bites.
I don’t believe in hiding veggies in other foods and I know of no other way to force ( for lack of better word ) kids to eat them. I do know that if you keep serving them in small portions they will eventually try them with a little encouragement. I have a two bite rule here. You choose to try two small bites, one to see if you like it and one to make sure. If you really don’t like it then you don’t have to eat it. Because children eat with their eyes and there’s no pressure beyond those two bites they are mor apt to eat it with out a problem.
5. Puree the vegetables!
Puree and put into things he will eat: chicken nuggets, spaghetti, mac & cheese are all great with added cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, etc.
6. Give the food cute names!
I call broccoli koala trees, cauliflower snow trees, peas are boogers, corn is yellow boogers, carrots are bunny food, etc etc and I make a big deal about how awful it would be to eat trees, boogers and bunny food. Kids can’t wait to stuff it in when you tell them not to do it!
7. Add seasoning! Try different ways to dress it up.
My kids turned their nose up at broccoli and cauliflower until I roasted it in the oven with olive oil, garlic salt, and some parmesan cheese. Now they’ll eat it every which way. Sometimes you just stumble across a way to cook it that appeals to them.
8. Make it colorful and fun looking with dips!
Start with toddler friendly veg: raw red bell peppers (very sweet) cucumbers, shredded carrots (cheese grater) and make sure veg is being eaten by everyone else in the house- lead by example. Don’t overcook veggies, offer different dips to try, and don’t push or bribe, and Don’t offer treats, sweets, or unhealthy alternatives if the veggies are refused. Offer fun fruit and veggie plate combos, make them Colorful! Remember: you choose what to offer, they choose how much to eat. It will come with time if you foster healthy eating options
9. Cook it different ways
Continue offering different vegetables to him cooked in different ways steamed baked etc. For example I love raw carrots but unless they’re in a dish or something to just eat cooked carrots by themselves I don’t care for them
10. Add them into other foods or in smoothies.
Mince them up and add it to other things he eats. My little loves smoothies I make with a mix of fruits and veggies. Tomato sauce on pasta is a great carrier of minced veggies. Cauliflower AND mashed potatoes. I am not too good for trickery.
11. Mix with something you know they like!
We had trouble with ur toddler eating carrots but she loved sweet potatoes. So we smashed up carrots and mixed with sweet potatoe and gradually left the carrots more chunky and mixed in less sweet potatoe. She now loves carrots.
12. Plant a garden!
Not sure where you live but having a garden was a game changer for our son:). He would graze on tomatoes, spinach etc. I get him to help planet and pick:). Even a small patio planter helps. Also get them involved with making supper . It surprises me what he ask for and then he does not feel tricked:) he actually asked me to put kale in soup
13. Keep offering them!
Finger veggies and just keep offering them. We grow deck pots of cherry tomatoes and other veggies so he thinks it’s cool to pick and eat. Different dipping sauces – hummus, dressings, etc. Our boy has come to expect and ask for cucumbers and tomatoes and carrots (he likes his slightly steamed not crunchy) with every lunch. It takes up to 8 exposures for kids to try and like something. We do make him take “no thank you bites” every other day or so of something new and sometimes he throws fits about it. He can’t leave the table or have dessert (usually just a little fruit) until he tries his “no thank you bite.” If he doesn’t like it, he can say “no thank you” to eating more this time. We don’t force this battle every meal, but a couple times a week. Also, sometimes while we are chit chatting at the table I can get him to eat something without him even realizing it.
14. Make them in a muffin form!
Vegetable muffins were our go to when he was being fussy and not wanting veggies…keep offering along with meals he likes. Ours went through a fussy stage now back to loving his veggies again. I don’t give in whilst still providing food I know he’ll eat
15. Serve soups!
I make a soup and blend all the veggies, like a bisque, but with veggies. Works like a charm. That is essentially what baby food is, blended up veggies and fruit
16. Be a good example!
Keep offering. You eat a variety. Make sure he sees you eating. Eat with him. Two year olds get stuck in a rut. They like the color or the texture. With persistence he’ll branch out. You can hide somethings, like carrots in Spaghetti sauce, but that’s just getting it in. You want him to enjoy the variety on their own.
17. Feed them veggies at their hungriest time!
I find most kids & tots are hungriest mid morn & mid afternoon! Get Em hungry thru lots of play then serve up some lovely blanched beans & carrots etc use cookie cutters to make them into fun shapes ie stars , serve with mayo or humus . Other thing is let them help with food prep & it builds their full enjoyment & appreciation for the food
18. Blend into pasta sauce
If he likes pasta sauce blend veggies into it. Also always put some on his plate. He doesn’t have to eat it but you are just offering in case one day he does. You may see him sneak one here and there. Just don’t make a big deal. I blend stuff in my kids smoothies too.
19. Keep it low pressure.
Don’t make too much of it. At this age they go through so many changes and phases that by next year he will probably not want something else he once loved and eat something he doesn’t eat now. Keep offering it but with no pressure and eventually he will probably want some especially if everyone else is eating and enjoying it.
20. Have your child help you shopping!
Have your child help pick out different veggies in the grocery store. And then help prepare (wash, cut-under supervision) and assist with cooking them. Then encourage then to serve them on their own plate.
21. Turn it into a taste test!
One of our favorite ideas for picky eaters is putting the veggies into muffin tins and then having a taste test. The kids will rate their favorites while the eat! I love how it encourages them to try new things.
You can also have the kids have fun cutting and creating with their vegetables while they are eating it!
Find more awesome ideas for picky eaters HERE.
Alright, now that you heard all of our ideas… do you have any others?