July 27, 2011

My top 10 tricks and tips to get my kids to eat vegetables!

I will admit-I don't always eat my vegetables! But I do try everything, so I can be an example to my kids. If they try one bite and genuinely do not like it, I do not force them to eat it. But usually once they try one bite, they will look at me in surprise and say "mom, I really like it!" 
But as much as I wish, that doesn't happen all the time. My boys are quite picky, so I have a few tricks I've come across that allow my boys to eat healthy and learn to enjoy their veggies, even if it's in an unconventional way!

                              My top 10 tricks and tips to get my boys to eat their veggies:
10. Let them pick out a veggie at the market! This has been a great way to get my kids to eat their vegetable. I take them to the local farmers market and tell them they can pick anything they want! My oldest loves to browse the tables and see what is available that week. I think the vendors get quite the kick out of him!
9. Let them prepare the food. This is a recent trick I've utilized. If my son can help peel, chop, stir, etc the side dish then he is more willing to eat his creation!!
8. Watch me eat it! I will try every new food first and let them see that it's not so bad and scary!! This has worked with a number of vegetables!!
7. Dip! If they can dip it, they will eat it! Simple as that, it doesn't matter what they veggie or dip either!
6. Mix it up! I try to change how I serve the vegetables. One day it's raw with dip, the next day it's in soup. I want them to see a variety of ways to serve vegetables and this seems to help them enjoy different ways to cook and serve them!
5. Show and tell how the veggies will help them-we read books about the nutritious aspect of vegetables. What each one is good for and how it will help their body. They like knowing that what they eat helps them get big and strong!
4. Sing silly songs about veggies! We've learned a few songs about what vegetables do, and it's fun to sing and make up dances to them AND it is a fun way to get the message across that's not so boring!
3. Hide it! I know some people say you shouldn't hide the veggies, but I do, I won't lie! I'm a big fan of pureeing fresh veggies and putting them in sauces or even brownies! BUT they see me do it, and my oldest has even asked if we can bring the carrot and spinach brownies to his school for his snack day!
2. Use their age-this is one my mother in law told me that helped her kids eat their veggies. If you are serving beans, eat 4 beans for being 4 years old.
1. Just ask them! This is the easiest  and most simple way for me. I will just them to try them. Like I said before, I don't pressure or threaten them into eating them. I don't want them to have food issues. But I find if I'm just honest and relaxed with my approach, they are willing to give veggies a chance!

 I grew up with food issues and I'm proud to say I have overcome my battles. I want my boys to be happy and healthy, and to learn to enjoy food in the way it's meant to be enjoyed. So far, I think we're doing okay!

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Nichol said...

Great tips. I am a veggie hider as well. It works wonderful in pasta sauces. We are also huge fans of dipping:)

Samantha @ Mama Notes said...

I love the idea of hiding it. I need to do more of that! :)