How do you get kids to eat their veggies? Here are six fun things we do at home:
1. Fun Shapes. We love to have fun with food! Instead of putting a bowl of broccoli and carrots on the table, why not try a broccoli tree? Get the kids involved in making it! When we did this, they were so excited to eat that tree that it didn’t matter if broccoli and carrots weren’t their favorite vegetable.
Or instead of just serving sweet potatoes, how much more fun is it to eat Bear Claws!!
2. Dips. Another way to add fun and flavor is to serve vegetables with dip. Our favorites are hummus, Ranch, cheese dips, Greek Yogurt or sour cream onion dip. For special occasions we love fondue! But if all else fails try catchup!
3. The one bite rule. I don’t believe in making children eat a full helping of something that they really don’t like, but we always have our kids eat one bite of everything served for a meal. We’ve found that so many times they figure out they really like it. Recently Little Jason was refusing to taste a bite. “Its yucky. I don’t like it,” he kept saying. Finally, after trying a bite I asked him again if he liked it. “Yes, it’s yummy!”
4. Be the example. Nothing teaches our kids better than our own example. My husband is passionate about healthy eating and my kids know it. They love him. They want to be like him, so they try to like things that are healthy even when they might not have originally liked it. Me? I need to work on this one! 🙂
5. Personification. With our little ones it always works when the veggies start talking. “Don’t eat me. Don’t eat me!” I guess there is the old reverse psychology here too!
6. Rewards. At the end of the day (or meal I should say) my kids know that if they don’t eat their food or at least take a bite of everything then they won’t be enjoying dessert with the rest of us! The sight of everyone else enjoying dessert afterward usually moves our stragglers to finish their food!
What works for you?
Great ideas. I will try the fun one.. #1. I looooove how you made them look like trees.
This is a battle we’re currently engaged in – our 2 1/2 year old will not eat vegetables! Once he tries things he almost always likes them, but he is so incredibly stubborn. Right now I’ve resorted to “hiding” vegetables in his food as much as possible, and still offering veggies on the side. It’s not like he’s going to go to college not eating vegetables, so I’m trying not to stress out about it too much. 🙂
We made you and your sister Miriam eat about a teaspoonfull of canned peas every time we had them and told you that you had to eat them until you were sixteen, I think it was. We thought surely by then you would learn to enjoy them. I don’t remember if it was you or Miriam who left the peas on the plate on her sisteenth birthday and never ate another one that I know of. Hope you have better luck with your kids and the vegetables.
I have a picky eater so thanks for the great suggestions!
Susan Evans says
I like #5.
I definitely have a picky eater on my hands. It’s been a constant mental battle for me as we have gone 26 hours of not eating because I was going to make her try a carrots. We read a book that changed our philosophy on the battle we were constantly engaged in. However, I think you have some great healthy ideas here. Those and sticking a bunch of veggies in their smoothies and hopefully we’ll get improvement. I love how you make it fun, and I do need to utilize dips more too. Thanks for the great post.