Children need to eat a certain number of servings of vegetables to get the nourishment that their growing bodies require. One- to four-year-old kids need 2.5 adult servings of veggies daily. This then increases to 4.5 servings daily when they age five to eight. Sadly, toddlers and young kids eat fewer vegetables than babies because they learned to say no to anything veggie in their children’s meals.
It can be tricky to convince young kids to eat vegetables. They might even complain at even the smallest specks of something green on their food and say no to it ultimately. But as parents or anyone involved in preparing food for kids, vegetable meals are critical to their health. So, you need to do every trick you can to get your kids to eat and get used to veggies.
Plant Veggies Together
Start a little home project with your kids by planting herbs and vegetables in the backyard or even right in the kitchen with small garden pots. Let them observe the process of planting and growing and amaze them with it to encourage them to eat more vegetables. Their active participation in the project could be a strong enough incentive for them to tolerate more veggies in their children’s meals.
Cook More Of What They Like
If they fell in love with carrots first, blend more vegetables of the same color, such as squash and sweet potato. If they love broccoli, add a little zucchini in there. If they love potato, drop a few cauliflower pieces in the blender. Puree and serve!
If your kids have a strong sweet tooth, try to prepare children’s meals with veggies with the same taste. You could prepare a sweet potato, carrot, butternut, or pumpkin with a sprinkling of cinnamon to improve the vegetables’ sweet taste.
Cook Your Children’s Meals With Them
During the weekends or after school, encourage the kids to spend some time with you in the kitchen as you cook. It helps if you show your kids what goes into the food that they eat, even if it includes vegetables. You can enlist their help in preparing vegetable meals and explain to them what each vegetable can do for their body. Ask your kids to cut, shape, blend, mash, or lay veggies onto a baking sheet. Doing so gives them control and help them feel powerful about their newfound knowledge regarding vegetables.
Use More Vegetable Stocks In Your Children’s Meals
Don’t rely too much on commercial stock cubes because they contain a lot of preservatives, salt, and sugar. Why not prepare vegetable stocks of your own? Cook several vegetables, such as bay leaves, parsley, carrots, leek, and onions, and add them to any of your kids’ meals. Freeze the vegetable stock and thaw it for later use.
Kids are easily amazed by blenders at work, so make sure to let them watch you prepare their smoothies. Use yogurt and add a few fruits and cooked vegetables into the blender. Convince them to taste the drink. Once they discover how great it tastes, they will likely ask you to make more in the future.
Make Veggie Dips
Eating can be more fun and adventurous when you have dips involved. Your kids might not even be able to tell that you’ve prepared veggie dips for them. Prepare hummus, sweet potato relish, and pesto. Once your kids are used to vegetables, you can encourage them to eat vegetable dipping sticks.
Eat More Vegetables At The Dinner Table
Set an excellent example of healthy vegetable eating. Show your kids how much you enjoy your vegetable meals so they will feel the same way about their veggie share too.
Serve And Repeat With More Children’s Meals
Don’t give up! Remember that the reward for all your efforts in adding more vegetables to your children’s meals is their nourishment and it’s all going to be worth it! The more you expose the kids to veggies, the more they are going to be familiar with them and the more likely they’re going to accept them as part of their meals.
Persist and be patient. It will pay off with your kids falling in love with vegetables and growing into happy, healthy children!