Making Veggies Fun for Kids

Recently, there has been an onslaught of books – and much ensuing controversy – about camouflaging vegetables so that children will eat them. It’s not necessary to be sneaky about vegetables, however. Children are naturally curious so developing both their interest in and excitement about vegetables what will inspire them to want to eat them.

Getting kids to eat well, and especially eat their vegetables, is a challenge for many parents. To help familiarize your child with new vegetables, you should start early in the toddler period by offering a large variety of foods every day and making mealtime fun. How do you get children to eat more vegetables, especially when they may only want to eat hot dogs and French fries?

One of the most significant factors in your children eating vegetables is whether or not you eat them. What you eat has a tremendous influence on what your children will likely eat. If you rarely serve vegetables with meals, it should come as no surprise that your children don’t like them and aren’t used to eating them. Children's food preferences are shaped in large part by what foods parents choose to make available to them. If children have repeated opportunities to sample new foods, the greater the likelihood will be they will come to like and accept them.

Don’t force your child to eat vegetables (or any other food for that matter). Encourage your child to try tastes of various vegetables and be patient if he or she resists it. Presented enough times, your child will eventually give in and try it so keep re-introducing new foods from time to time.

You might add vegetables to the foods that your children already like to eat. Put banana and zucchini in muffins and chopped broccoli and spinach on pizza. Add a handful of vegetables like cauliflower, carrots and celery to chicken soup, ramen noodles or marinara sauce. Chop tomatoes or grate carrots and add them to chicken or tuna salad.

There are other ways to help vegetables become more interesting and appealing to your child. One way is to simply make them more available. Put out a plate of carrots and celery with an applesauce, yogurt or peanut butter dip before mealtime or just after rigorous activity when your child is the hungriest. Keep a bowl of raw vegetables like pea pods and cherry tomatoes in the refrigerator for when children are likely to reach for a handy snack. Plant and tend a vegetable garden with your child or even plant a tomato plant in a bucket on your patio so your child can be part of the growth process.

Not all children are going to like every vegetable. That would be an unreasonable expectation even for most adults. Not every food is going to taste good upon first sampling. Framing vegetables in a positive light, however and patiently presenting foods repeatedly until they are finally accepted will help ease the struggle to get kids to eat what’s good for them.

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About The Author, Pablo Maiorino
Pablo Maiorino is a Home Cook who has created out of his love of cooking. The site features videos created by him in his home kitchen as well as membersip options for all. A computer technican by profession, Cooking is hobby and a passion for Pablo who enjoys sharing his recipes, tips and techniques with the world.