Kids and vegetables often go together like oil and water; they just don’t mix. It’s no strange thing that many kids are not fans of vegetables, but not all kids are haters of these delicious food items. For example, your kids might just love the concept of vegetables or they might not feel so fondly for the green things. I have an almost 7-year-old who hates vegetables and acts like we’re trying to kill her when we make her sit down and eat them. I also have a 4-year-old who is so happy to eat vegetables that I often have to get up and make her a bowl of edamame or cucumbers or green beans for breakfast in place of something like pancakes. She’d rather eat a green bell pepper at the store than the cookies available to kids at the bakery. She’s a super awesome little girl, and we appreciate her veggie love. We aren’t experts by any means, but we do have a bit of an idea of how to get kids on the vegetable train. Some might work, some might not and you might find that it’s easy or just plain difficult. But you do have to try.
Eat Vegetables of Your Own
If you set a good example of proper vegetable eating habits in your home, you will find that your kids are more likely to eat veggies at home, too. They’re going to see you eating them and appreciating them, and it’s just going to be a second nature for them to do the same. This is why we love the concept of a good example; it works without you actually needing to work.
Let them Help
If you let the kids help in the kitchen, you might find that they are more inclined to want to eat the veggies. If you allow them to prep the vegetables, season them and treat them as their own dish, you are going to make them want to eat the dish without actually making it obvious.
Let them Choose
Try letting your kids choose which vegetables they’d like to have with dinner. Your kids are going to have a much easier job of eating veggies if they get to choose the ones they want to see with dinner. It seems simple, but when they choose something to eat at a meal, they can’t just refuse to eat it. They’ve chosen it, so therefore they are required to now dine on that particular veggie dish.
Let them Dictate What they Like and Don’t Like
This is what we do with our kids; we let them choose. I love veggies and so does my husband, but we don’t like all veggies. And that’s not a problem. We’ll eat anything but Brussels sprouts, and we’d never force our kids to eat something they dislike so intently when we could serve them other things they actually do like. We’ve found that veggies are easier to serve and less of an issue if we just don’t serve what the kids really dislike. They like more than they don’t like, so we choose not to pick our battles. We will revisit these veggies at a later date when taste buds change.
Grow Your Own Veggies
Want your kids to want to eat their veggies? Try growing them at home. The more you do at home with your kids in the garden, the more they will want to help. If they grow something and take care of it on their own, they’re going to want to eat that meal, too. It’s a simple way to get kids more interested in the concept of eating vegetables.
Reward Vegetable Intake
We are not above bribery, even if some people are. We believe that kids who do a good job eating a healthy meal can handle a reward. After all, it’s what helps us get our oldest to eat her veggies. She sees her sister getting a new page of stickers or some other silly little gift and she wants one, too. This helps to encourage her to eat her own so that we have fewer problems.
Give Veggies with Healthy Dip
Most dips are not all that healthy, but if you provide your kids with veggies that come with a dip, you might find that they are happier to eat them. After all, a vegetable that comes with a little extra goodness is always preferable. Just remember to keep the dips healthy so that you don’t take away the benefits of eating veggies.
Make Veggies Your Snack
When kids come home from school hungry, give them something delicious to eat. No, not cookies or crackers; give them veggies. When you provide these regularly as a healthy meal alternative, it makes it much more likely that your kids are going to learn to love vegetables and probably even want them more than other items.
Make it a Habit
When vegetables are a habit, it’s easier for kids to learn to love them. Here’s our advice for those who have small children or don’t even have children yet; make sure that vegetables are a part of life from day one forward. When your kids can’t remember not eating veggies, they won’t think that it’s something weird or gross. When you try to introduce veggies at a later age thinking it’s time to get healthy, you’re going to find that it’s much more difficult.
Always Include Veggies
The fastest way to get kids to like veggies is to make sure they’re present at every meal. You should not skip a meal and make your kids feel that they no longer need veggies in their lives. We love the concept of just having them all the time so that it’s never a question as to what’s for dinner or lunch. The more you provide your kids with vegetables at every single meal, the more likely they are to see it as part of your dinner and eat it without any complaints.
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