How to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies (And Even Enjoy Them!)•
Posted on February 28 2022
Guest post by Leah Sucharski
If you're looking for some ideas to help expose your kids to fruits and veggies, or to get them excited about eating their greens, I'm sharing some of my tried and true tips that have worked for my 4-year-old. I know it can be hard for some parents to get their kids to eat veggies, so I love creating recipes that incorporate these foods - and most of the time you don't even taste them!
Read on to get my mint chocolate chip spinach muffin recipe!
Don't pressure your kids to eat their veggies
One big tip is to not put pressure on eating fruits/veggies. Yes, inside you might be screaming, but if your child is finished eating and they didn’t eat their veggies, move on and try again at another meal. If they are constantly being pressured to eat their veggies, they will start to think they aren’t fun foods (we don’t pressure our kids to finish their dessert right?) and they won’t want anything to do with them. I make sure to eat and enjoy plenty of healthy foods around my daughter so she sees that mommy eats and loves them too. Now, how to make these foods fun/more appealing? Read on!
Get your kids involved
One of the ways to make eating healthy fun is to get your kids involved in the kitchen and/or grow your own garden! My daughter gets so excited to run out back and pick the fruits/veggies we grow at home. When we eat a meal that has any of the fruits or veggies in it that we are growing, she will ask “is this the tomatoes/peppers/spinach etc from the garden?” She feels so proud knowing that she was a part of that process! If you don’t have access to a garden, just having your kids in the kitchen to help you cook and prepare the meal is a great way to expose them to veggies. My daughter is not the biggest zucchini fan but when she helps to season it or to lay it out on the baking sheet for a meal, I’ve noticed that she actually will eat them during dinner that night! When your kids are involved in the process, they get more excited to try new foods, possibly because they don’t seem so scary when they help prepare the new foods.
My daughter always gets excited when we use the veggies we grow.
Share the knowledge
I also love talking about the benefits of each food (in kid talk) and what they do for our bodies. For example, for carrots I say how they help you to see better and keep your eyes healthy. For things like oranges/peppers I say they have vitamin C in them which helps our bodies fight off getting sick. My daughter now has started asking me what each food she is eating helps her body do, and that has made her excited to eat (or at least try!) it.
Don't give up on the good stuff
Sometimes, it’s not even the actual food that they don’t like, but the way it’s served. There’s a lot of trial and error here but I have discovered that my daughter actually likes certain veggies I thought she didn’t; she just didn't like the way they were served. For example, she never liked sugar snap peas any time I’d put them in her lunch. One day, I decided to cook them instead of serving them raw and she ate all of them on her plate AND asked for more! Chickpeas/beans were another food she used to never eat or would throw on the floor when she was younger. One day, I decided to serve her smashed chickpeas with avocado and she ate it all up. I then figured this would work for black beans and created a quesadilla recipe using pureed black beans and salsa and other spices, and she LOVED it. So, don’t give up on a certain food if your child doesn't seem to want it - it may just be the way it’s served. Now she will eat both chickpeas/black beans in whole form!
For those with picky eaters…
For those with super picky eaters, one of my favorite ways to incorporate veggies is in a smoothie. Spinach, zucchini, or swiss chard are great veggies to make a beautiful “green hulk” smoothie and you don’t taste them at all. Cauliflower rice is one of my go to veggies to add because it doesn’t change the color, so if your child is “green adverse”, you can always get away with that veggie thrown in there. Add some fruit to help sweeten it, a fat source like nut butter, hemp, flax, or chia seeds and some protein like yogurt or a protein powder and you’ve got a balanced meal with veggies!
I also love baking with veggies. You’d be surprised how easy it is to mask the flavor of veggies in baked goods. Some of my favorite veggies to bake with are spinach (add it to almost anything and you can’t taste it at all), zucchini (zucchini bread is a thing for a reason - so good!), and carrots (I mean, how can you go wrong with carrot cake?!) I have created recipes for so many different baked goods using veggies: beet pancakes (we all dislike beets but LOVE these), spinach pancakes, carrot cake protein bites, and mint chocolate chip spinach muffins are just a few.
My mint chocolate chip spinach muffin recipe:
Carrot protein bites:
About Leah Sucharski
I’m incredibly passionate about helping families get nutritious food into their diet, and especially love coming up with fun and creative ways to incorporate veggies. I also have a free ebook that you can download from the link in my Instagram bio that has nut free snacks perfect to send with your kids to school! Find me on Instagram at @tapey1026 for more recipes, tips and tricks, and easy family approved meals!