We’ve all seen them and we all have them… kids that won’t touch the delicious vegetables you’ve loaded onto their plate. As parents, part of our job description is to make sure our children eat a healthy, balanced diet. But the kids, well, they don’t care to make that job easy. So, vegetables are shunned, frowned on, whined over, spit out, thrown on the floor, or dumped down the disposal. What is their goal? Make the vegetables unfit to eat! Kids do a fine job of achieving this goal. Adults, however, can fight back. Here are a few tips that just might work with your kids.
The first and easiest tip is to sneak the veggies into their meals. What a kid doesn’t know can’t hurt him. So how do you do this? Learn to love your blender. Vegetables can easily be blended up and hidden in sauces, soups, spaghetti dishes, casseroles, you name it! You don’t have to do a ton. Every little bit is better than nothing. And, if you make your own pancakes, waffles, bread, muffins, or other baked goods, you can often hide veggies in those as well. Just throw in a bit of pureed veggie and add a little less liquid. Play around with your recipes. You’re sure to find something that works for you.
Another great way to get your kids to eat their veggies is to make them fruit smoothies and use a bunch of greens as the base. Spinach is a great vegetable for smoothies. It’s packed full of vitamins and blends up easily in the blender. Once you’ve gotten your spinach blended, throw in your fruit until it tastes like a fruit smoothie. The one downfall to these smoothies is that they turn out green. But, if you tell your kids they’re green drinks or “Hulk” drinks, they may just love them.
The biggest thing to remember with veggies is that kids don’t like chunks. They may not like the flavor either, but that can easily be masked by the other foods. So, get rid of the chunks. Throw the veggies in a blender or food process. Make them as small as possible. Then put them in your meals. If kids can’t see them or feel them, they are often more willing to eat them.
If these tips don’t work for you, you can always resort to the typical parent tricks, which usually include bribery, begging, threatening, or a combination of all three. Sometimes these tactics work, sometimes they don’t. Usually, they don’t. So be creative! Lead by example (eat your own veggies), and make sure your children know the benefits of the dreaded food. Eventually, your kids may make the switch and learn to love them.