Sometimes I doubt my parenting skills. There are days I wonder how in the world I won’t mess these little people up and scare them for life. One decision I feel good about is instilling a love of vegetables in my children. After all, can you really go wrong with that one? Vegetables are good for you packed with vitamins, minerals, and none of the junk in processed foods that make you so sick. Getting kids to eat them can be the hard part. The fact is kids don’t care about the health benefits of food.
Encouraging kids to love vegetables
Feeding kids vegetables can take a lot of time and patience. Taking your child shopping for whole foods with you is a great way to get them interested. The farmers market is packed with so many new and interesting vegetables that you are bound to find something worth a try.
Grow your own garden of veggies with your children. Gardening is a great homeschool activity. Kids learn so much about where their food comes from and the work involved. When kids grow their own food they have a sense of pride that makes eating a meal made from all of that hard work exciting.
If your child is still an infant you can really benefit from taking advantage of those first few foods. When starting your baby on their first foods introduce vegetables before fruits and grains. It may take time before your baby begins to accept the foods you are giving him. Just keep going and offering the same food until they take it. Your baby will develop a taste for the foods you give them. By starting with vegetables before sweeter foods they will enjoy the subdue flavors of vegetables more. Avocado makes a great first food either as a mashed baby food or sliced for baby lead weaning, packed with healthy fats for a growing brain.
Toddlers can easily be trained to eat vegetables without them even realizing. We call broccoli trees and spinach and salad veggies leaves to make them fun for the littles. This makes them seem cool and exciting. This trick worked well on my oldest and before I knew it she was choosing green beans when her father came home from training with the Army and offered her ANYTHING in the store she wanted. To his dismay, she walked right past the Halloween candy. Sometimes the trick in life is to make something seem exciting.
Sometimes older children are not so willing to eat vegetables as younger ones. Older kids have often developed preferences for flavors and textures. For picky eaters like this, you can often encourage children to eat vegetables by leaving them raw and crunchy. Carrot sticks or chips are always a great option for a crunchy snack.
If all else fails don’t fear giving dips like ranch dressing or hummus a try to encourage your children to give vegetables a fighting chance. While it is not ideal to hide vegetables behind flavors it is better than having a child refuse them all together. For cooked vegetables give fresh herbs and spices a try when cooking to boost the flavor and make them more exciting.
For cooked vegetables give fresh herbs and spices a try when cooking to boost the flavor and make them more exciting. Have your child help you cook and create new recipes using vegetables. This gives them a sense of control over what they are eating and pride in the new thing they learned to cook.