With just four simple techniques and some patience, your children will radically improve their attitude about vegetables. You can discover how to get your kids excited about vegetables through participation, games, and family attitudes.
Here are four straightforward changes to make vegetables a part of your child’s daily life.
Four Ways To Get Kids To Eat More Vegetables
These techniques take very little time and effort to implement. If you stick with them, your children will eat their vegetables without a fuss in a matter of weeks or months.
1). The One-Bite Rule
Serve your family at least one colorful vegetable every night, and make it a rule that everyone must take one bite of everything on the plate.
Forcing the issue beyond the one-bite rule can bring on a power struggle that will not help your children to develop a positive attitude about vegetables. Vegetables shouldn’t be a punishment. Our kids have never given us any issues or push-back on the one-bite rule.
WHY THIS WORKS: It’s been researched and proven that a child may need to try a food up to 15 times before he accepts it, and the one-bite rule provides the opportunity for your child to get used to a wide variety of foods.
Over the course of a year, you can introduce dozens of new, healthy foods that will eventually become standard fare for your family.
2). Lay Out Healthful Pre-Dinner Snacks
The hours after school and before dinner are prime time for grazing. Make it easy for your family to take the edge off hunger with a plate of veggies and hummus or a low-fat yogurt dip. Keep the plate on the kitchen countertop or in the family room at the time when your family starts pre-dinner snacking.
This was the KEY to getting our kids to eat more vegetables. We had fresh, cut-up raw vegetables on the table about an hour before dinner.
Why This Works: Kids are hungry after school and in the hours before dinner. We didn’t want them to fill up on snacks, carbs, or other foods when dinner was just around the corner. So, vegetables became our go-to snack. If they were hungry before dinner, they could eat these things.
3). Start Meals With Raw Veggies, Fruits, or Salad
When your family is hungry, they’ll be more likely to dig in with enthusiasm to vegetables. Start meals with raw vegetables, fresh fruit, a smoothie, a salad or vegetable-based soup.
If your kids are reluctant to have vegetables, try serving them before the rest of the meal is ready (even just giving them ten minutes of dinner time to eat the vegetables before serving the main course or other side dishes.)
Try serving a salad, too. Salads don’t have to be a big pile of greens- try giving them different things to try with peppers, sliced fennel, peas, green beans, beets, edamame, or grated carrots.
If your kids will only eat a salad when it’s drowned in ranch dressing, allow that at first. Each week, you can start cutting the ranch with a little bit of fat free yogurt, increasing the amount of yogurt each week until you reach a 1-to-1 ratio. Then, work on reducing the amount of dressing they use.
4). Cook Vegetables in New, Appealing Ways (or leave them raw)
If you kids don’t like certain vital vegetables (such as nutritional powerhouses beans, broccoli, or dark leafy greens), make sure that you present them in an appealing way.
Broccoli is a prime example of a vegetable whose bad reputation is usually due to poor preparation. Overcooked broccoli has an off-putting color and smell. Frozen broccoli can have little flavor and a mealy texture.
Instead, try steaming fresh broccoli until it is vibrantly green, then serve it with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. Or, roast bite-sized broccoli florets in 450-degree oven for 7 minutes and top with toasted breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
You can even serve raw broccoli with some Ranch or Italian dressing to get your kids used to eating it.
There are dozens of ways to prepare almost any vegetable. Find recipes online or in health-oriented cookbooks and magazines, and keep working at it until you find the preparations that suit your family’s palate.
Remember that you cannot expect changes to happen overnight; but if you stick with these ideas, your kids will transform into effortless veggie eaters in just a few months.
Lastly- remember that smoothies are usually a hit & a great way to sneak in some vegetables! We also like to offer our kids fruit + vegetable squeeze pouches (Becky & I even have these as a healthy snack – they are great for kids or adults!)
Looking for more ideas? Try this Ultimate Hawaiian Smoothie recipe…