How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables

How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables

Nothing is better for kids to eat than vegetables — and nothing seems harder to serve to a picky toddler or preschooler! Pick up some yummy menu ideas that even the grownups will love.

Is your little one a classic vegetable-hater? Then try these easy, crafty ways to slip a few more nutrient-rich you-know-whats into her diet. Remember to consistently offer vegetables every day, even if she doesn't eat them. You'll be surprised sometime when she decides to take a bite!

1. Be a good role model. Children have their parents as primary role models and often like to copy what they see. If your child sees you regularly eating vegetables, she’ll be more willing to try them herself.

2. Vary types and textures. Serve those veggies any way you can — canned, fresh, or frozen. Each type has a different taste and texture, so while one child will eat only canned green beans, another child will prefer fresh steamed ones. Nutritionally, they are all fairly equal, with the exception of canned vegetables having a lot of salt. Just rinse them if you're concerned about that. If your little one loves the texture of mashed potatoes, see if she'll eat other vegetables that have been mashed or pureed.

3. Add toppers and dips. If having a cheese or butter sauce or ranch dip makes all the difference between eating vegetables or not, then let your child sauce and dip away! Sometimes just drizzling melted cheese on broccoli or cauliflower will make that vegetable acceptable. Kids love to dip their food, so encourage eating raw vegetables, like colorful bell pepper strips, with a favorite ranch dressing.

4. Pile it on pizza. Try any vegetable that will work on this all-time kid favorite food. Add chopped tomatoes to the pizza sauce. Sprinkle on shredded zucchini, canned or fresh mushrooms, chopped onion, or red or green bell pepper rings. Some kids will even enjoy broccoli "trees" on their pizza.

5. Whip up an omelet. Sauté some spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper, and onion and add them to the omelet before folding. Don't forget to throw in kid-friendly cheese.

6. Mix up some coleslaw. Maybe your toddler would welcome the crunch and color of coleslaw. Make your own with pre-packaged slaw mix (or get out the grater and a head of cabbage) and add low-fat slaw dressing. Boost the color and nutrients in the slaw by adding a few more shredded carrots. Try serving broccoli slaw. If he already likes regular coleslaw, he may really enjoy this "bright green crunchy coleslaw."

7. Slather on spaghetti sauce. Spaghetti sauce and all canned tomato products count as vegetable servings. So have spaghetti often, if tomatoes are one of the only vegetables he'll eat. You could shred some zucchini or carrot into the spaghetti sauce, but be careful with this concept — it often backfires. Keep the salt and spice levels low. Whenever you serve breadsticks, set out a bowl of spaghetti sauce. He'll love dipping the breadsticks in this vitamin- and mineral-rich sauce!

8. Doctor the soups. A child who refuses a plain serving of carrots or corn may eat vegetable soup. If that's the case, then add a few extra canned or frozen vegetables to the soup when heating.

9. Go liquid. Tomato juice and vegetable juice count as vegetable servings since they're both packed with valuable vitamins and minerals.

10. Serve more fruit. If nothing works in the vegetable category, don't give up! Just serve more fruits. Fruits have many of the same crucial nutrients that vegetables do, like vitamins A and C and fiber. Doubling up on fruits will ensure your toddler or preschooler gets all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

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Vegetables

2/6/2016

I like the suggestions. Sometimes I feel like serving vegetables has to be plain but adding things still help to make the kids want the veggies.

Very very fussy eater

Doc 2/4/2016

My son just turned 3 yrs. old in January. It seems his diet has changed very much in the past at one yrs. old and even early twos. He was a much better eater and now it seems as though his food groups consist of chicken nuggets, French fries, pizza , yellow rice, hotdogs, and cold cuts mainly salami and ham. He doesn't like to dip his food into anything the only vegetable he likes is corn which has no nutritional value. The only upside if he absolutely loves fruit. Any ideas would be very helpfu

Kids

1/31/2016

My Kids love fruit but veggies not so much. We try to substitute with beans a lot .

Interesting

1/28/2016

My son seems to prefer vegetables anyway it's prepared. He actually rather eat vegetables than his meats. Every child is different though. He didn't like veggies at first. it's all about enforcing what you think they should be eating other wise disguising them and mixing them in with things is not getting you far. I didn't want a picky eater so if he doesn't want what I give him i will save it for when he's hungry and he'll eat it. You get what you get and you don't get upset.

Lucky

1/20/2016

I guess I'm lucky my kids love veggies.

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