Does your child often refuse vegetables? Well, don't worry. You're not alone. It's very common for young children to want to steer clear of healthy veggies, especially the green ones! But there are a few ways you can help even the pickiest of little eaters to get more vegetables into their everyday diet without a fuss. Read on to find out how to get your kiddos to learn to love eating veggies.
Pass the Dip!
Dip is a delicious flavoring that can really add some punch to your veggie platter. The best part? Not all veggie dips have to be unhealthy. Consider offering up carrots and celery sticks with a serving of hummus on the side. This healthy dip is rich in nutrients and loaded with flavor. Your children will love to dip anything in it.
You may have watched your child refuse chopped veggies for weeks, but if you suddenly serve those veggies up as a happy face, your kids will definitely be more likely to eat them. When you serve it up as a fun and creative dish, it suddenly becomes a lot more appealing to a young child. Presentation changes everything, even for the pickiest eaters.
Offer Veggies with Foods They Already Love
If your kids won't touch bell peppers or mushrooms, but love pizza, it's time to spice up your pizza recipes. Add the veggies they don't like to meals they do like. This way, they'll still get to enjoy the tastes they love while slowly developing a taste for the less appealing vegetables that are being served along with it.
Try Not to Force It
Children can be notoriously picky eaters and most of the time, a power struggle is the root cause for their refusal to eat. Try your best not to force your child to eat their veggies. Being forceful only helps them develop a negative relationship with those foods. Instead, keep offering them up and mixing them with foods they like until they eventually start to eat more of them. Don't give up. It may take some time but continuously introducing and re-introducing foods to children in a calmer setting is much more effective than forcing them to eat something they don't want to.
Sneak Vegetables Into Favorite Recipes
This tip is a little less direct, but it works! Try adding chopped zucchini or beetroot into chocolate cake. You can find loads of recipes online that incorporate vegetables into yummy treats kids actually love to eat. They may not know they're eating the vegetables but they are slowly developing a taste for them. Plus, in the meantime, they're getting their daily dose of vegetables without the constant battle. You can even add a tablespoon of vegetable puree into homemade fruit popsicles. The sweetness of the fruit will cover up the vegetable taste and your child won't even notice.
Let Your Kids Choose
You can offer up a few choices of vegetables and ask your kids to choose the one they want to eat. They may not want carrots today, but they just may eat cucumbers. By giving your child the right to make a choice, albeit, from a pre-approved list of choices, they feel empowered. They feel less like they're being forced and are more likely to give them a try without first convincing themselves it won't be any good.
Keep Sugary Snacks Out of the Picture
If your child sees a lollipop or has just finished a bag of chips, they're probably going to be pretty unwilling to try any vegetables. The sugary sweet taste of junk food will always beat out healthy fruits and veggies. Instead, be sure to keep junk food hidden and allow your children to eat it seldomly. If they fill up on sugar, they won't have the will or the appetite to try eating their vegetables.
Patience is the Key
As with anything when it comes to parenting, patience is the key. Children are just learning and exploring and discovering they have a voice. They often like to use that voice to say "No!" Rest assured, this is perfectly normal. Just do your best to remain calm and consistent. Keep at it and eventually, your children will learn to love vegetables!