Get Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables!
Experts say that children between the ages of 2 and 18 years of age require 1-3 servings of vegetables per day in order to keep them healthy and strong.
But what if your child would rather starve than take even one tiny bite of that broccoli?
If you’ve ever experienced the exhausting battle of trying to get your kids to eat all (or at least some) of their veggies, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, it’s remarkably common. The good news is, you don’t have to resort to force-feeding your kids or face monumental tantrums at every meal. All you need to do is come up with a few creative alternatives, like the following.
“Hide” veggies in other foods. There are a lot of different ways to do this and really, with enough creativity, you can sneak healthy ingredients into almost any dish you’re preparing without anyone being the wiser. For instance, you can use fresh tomatoes to make homemade pizza sauce, mix mild-tasting vegetable puree into mac and cheese, or incorporate some naturally sweet pumpkin into pancake batter. The possibilities are virtually limitless.
Experiment with different textures and consistencies. Sometimes the very sight of veggies in their traditional form can be enough to cause lock-jaw in a picky eater. By changing things up and playing around with different alternatives, you might just be able to sneak enough veggies by your unsuspecting child without incident. A great option for this is the new Hanover Foods Riced Steam-In-Bag vegetables, which are finely processed into a different consistency. For example, riced cauliflower can be used in place of mashed potatoes for the same taste and texture but a much better nutritional value.
Juice it up. Your kids may not want to eat their veggies, but they’d probably say ‘yes’ to a tasty cup of juice. Combining certain vegetables with fruits, such as juicing carrots with apples can disguise the taste of the veggies altogether. Try blending the mixture with ice to make a delicious smoothie. Or, pour the juice mixture into popsicle molds and freeze them for the perfect, refreshing summer “treat” that your kids will never know is good for them.
Incorporate additional flavors. Your child may not be a huge fan of carrots or green beans, but what about things like butter, salad dressing, ketchup or cheese? It’s ok to add a few extra calories if it’ll make that bowl of veggies more appealing – as long as you don’t overdo it. Sometimes just presenting a new option can be enough to get an otherwise finicky youngster on board with eating healthy. How about giving our cheese sauce recipe a try!
Be a good example. Ever notice how your toddler mimics the way you walk, sit or even talk on the phone? Children are like little sponges – they’re constantly watching us and learning based on what they see us do. If you want your kids to eat more veggies, set a good example by including vegetables with each of your own meals. Eventually, it will pay off – for both of you.
Above all, don’t give up. Remember that it can take 10-15 exposures to a certain food before your child acquires a taste for it. In the meantime, you can skip the battle and still feel like you’ve accomplished something at the end of the day by applying the tricks listed above. And if you’re truly concerned about your child’s nutrition, speak with his or her pediatrician for additional guidance.