6 Easy Tips To Get Kids (And You!) To Eat More Vegetables

 

Kids eating the veggies

When my oldest was born I thought he would want to eat whatever I was eating, or at least be willing to try what I was eating. Haha, silly me. When my second son was born 14 months after my first, I did not anticipate a gag reflex that is reminiscent of a slingshot – he can look at a bowl of beans and puke on the spot. Our kids are never what we expect though, are they? My boys have their own opinions, moods, likes and dislikes (I was somewhat surprised by this…I guess I expected them to be robots?).

I want them to eat healthy food, be willing to try new things, and have exposure to all types of foods. Let me be clear, they do not eat clean and healthy 100% of time. They have ice cream and pizza and chicken strips and french fries. They know that food is out there, and I can’t hide it from them. My goal is for them to have balance and to understand that if we have pizza for lunch one day, we are not going to have chicken strips and french fries for dinner (it’s happened, don’t get me wrong).

So how do I get them to eat things like zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, and sweet potatoes? I’ve learned that my kids are a lot like me, they don’t want to eat plain old asparagus every night. I have to keep vegetables exciting and interesting. I’m also a fan of putting extra vegetables into everything that I can. Obviously, it’s good for them to see, smell, taste, touch the veggie, but they don’t want to eat spinach yet and I can’t say I blame them.

These are 6 ways I get more veggies into their diets:

1. Smoothies. I add cocoa powder, raw honey, and unsweetened almond milk to make them taste yummy. I can add sweet potatoes, spinach, zucchini, carrots and they think they’re getting a chocolate milk shake. I also love the chance to throw in cashews, almonds, or pecans for healthy fat and protein. A frozen banana can turn any smoothie into creamy goodness. If you don’t think you’re kiddo will have anything to do with it, put it in your big girl cup and make a big deal over how yummy your chocolate milkshake tastes. Their curiosity will win! This is one of my all time favorite smoothies.

Smoothie

2. Pizza/Pasta Sauce. I get gluten free pizza crusts at the store so I can make my own sauce and toppings. You can really do anything you want with the topping but I love to cook hamburger meat (grass fed if you can get it), add spaghetti sauce (no added sugar please), and wilt a ton of spinach into the pan (you can also use zucchini, eggplant, carrots…). I puree it so it goes on to the pizza like sauce, top it with cheese, and bake. They LOVE the flavor and have no idea they are getting an iron, protein packed meal.

3. Baked Sweet Potatoes. This is not a technique but it’s too yummy not to get it’s own mention. A plain old sweet potato diced into squares with a bit of pure maples syrup, cinnamon, and coconut oil is to die for! I make sure they see me pour the syrup on the potatoes…gets them every time.

4. Chips. Any vegetable cut into the shape of chip and called a “chip” is a guaranteed winner. Zucchini chips are their favorite. They are so stupid simple that I end up making them at least four days a week. Slice the zucchini as thinly as you want (the thinner they are the faster they will cook). Toss the chips in extra virgin olive oil and salt (and any other seasoning). Roast at 300 until crispy. Kale, sweet potato, yellow squash also work well with this method.

5. Dinosaur Food. Ok, your kids might not care about dinosaurs, but you get the idea. I get creative and I get in on the fun. If I’m roaring like a T-Rex and devouring asparagus as dinosaur grass (my boys happen to know all about how cows eat grass so it works for us), they can’t help but get in on the game. Same idea works with any vegetable! Get creative and get everyone’s imagination going.

asparagus

6. Get Ninja-Mom Strategy. Even if I know they won’t eat it, I put it on their plates (assuming I don’t think it will make the little one throw up). It takes several exposure before they try new things (I think the experts say three separate exposures…I just know it feels like a lot). I also wait to introduce new things until a meal when I know they are really hungry and haven’t snacked much. So if we have an afternoon outside, and we decide we’re going to eat outside as a special treat, I can put almost anything on the plate and they’re so excited about the setting that they just inhale everything.
If you have an extra picky eater or an extra special gag-er, keep trying. These are the methods that work for us, but you know your child best! Get creative based on what you know. Maybe your kiddo will eat anything when you have guests for dinner, or when with a play date. Use those opportunities to introduce new and exciting things.

Me and the boysMeagan is a 30 something year old wife, mom, and fitness enthusiast (fanatic?).She loves being a boy mom, fitness, cooking healthy food, and working from her dining room.   In the last year and half she helped over one hundred people lose hundreds of pounds & inches.  Her goal is to help women, and especially women with post-baby bodies, live happier lives with more self-confidence than ever before. She knows that once there is some fun put into fitness (with a little bit of family), the sky is the limit!  

Her mission is helping people become healthy, fit, and financially free so they can lead fulfilling, vibrant lives. If you’d like to know more about becoming or staying fit physically or financially, e-mail her today!

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