Want to get your kids or yourself to eat more veggies? It is simple. It is doable. And it can be delicious.
1. Serve meals in courses.
This sounds fancy, but it is not. It just works for us. When making breakfast, cut up some fruit and veggies or put some berries out on a plate. Put out a plate of chopped veggies with some dip in the later afternoon as you prepare dinner. This is a time kids are hungry and looking for a snack anyway - might as well make it a healthy snack. This way, they are more likely to eat their veggies and they fill up on these nutrient-dense foods. Then when dinner is served, you don’t have to worry or pressure them to eat all of their veggies anymore. Once we started doing this consistently, the number of veggies that my two-year-old tries, eats and says is “yummy” has exponentially increased.
2. Try making them crispy.
Make sweet potato hot chips (fries), zucchini chips, kale chips 🥬 (these are amazing and so easy. If you have never made them, you must try these).
3. Blend into a yummy smoothie.
Start with little bits of veggies. A few peas, avocado 🥑 or frozen zucchini are great veggies to start with since they make smoothies creamy with little flavour added. Frozen peas & spinach are other good ones to add in. Make a delicious smoothie and slowly add more and more veggies to it as they get used to the new flavour.
4. Make it fun.
Add some superfood blends to foods to add nutrients from veggies while also making food more colourful and exciting.
5. Sneak veggies into desserts.
I love making carrot sweet potato cakes, zucchini banana bread and even chickpea chocolate chip cookies and black bean brownies (yes, I realize these aren’t vegetables but legumes are great plants for us too!).
6. Get your kids involved in gardening, market shopping & cooking.
It is hard not to enjoy a tomato or green bean straight from the garden.
7. Keep putting the veggies in front of them as an option in their meals.
Just keep doing it. Stay consistent. Keep serving veggies and in time, they will eat them.
8. Remember what your role is and what theirs is.
Our job as parents is to provide our kids with healthy food. Their job is to eat it or not.
9. Serve the same veggies in different ways.
Serve them raw, in a salad, roasted, in a stirfry, puréed in a soup...any way you want. This allows kids to get used to the taste in different textures and meals. They may be more willing to try something new rather than that a veggie they just tried yesterday and didn’t like served the same way.
10. Don’t make a big deal about them not eating the veggies.
Don’t label them as a picky eater or say, “you don’t like veggies.” Your belief will influence your behaviour and you may hesitate to offer veggies to them in the future. And if they pick up on this belief, they may take it on as part of their identity. “I’m a picky eater.” “I don’t like veggies.” Not helpful.
11. Blitz veggies up and add them to sauces.
A little blended spinach can be added to pesto sauce. Blitzed tomato, zucchini and sweet potato are great in a pasta sauce. Blended eggplant is a great start to a delicious dip.
12. Bring curiosity to foods.
Ask your kid about the smell, colour, texture, taste of foods instead of focusing on how much they eat or if they like it or not.
13. Keep feeding them the veggies they do enjoy.
Make life a bit easier for yourself and serve them the veggies they do love.
14. Eat your veggies!
Monkey see. Monkey do. We can’t expect our kids to do what we aren’t willing to.
You are their biggest role model, especially in the first few years. They learn by watching you and that that includes watching what you eat. So, eat the foods you want your kids to eat and normalize healthy eating from day one.
Pick one of these to build into your daily life. Once it has become an automatic habit, come back and pick another one. Staying consistent on one change will be way more impactful in the long run than trying to do all 14 of these at once.
Personal letters from Dr Hilary Claire delivered right to your inbox to help you do the best for your little ones’ health without burning out.
For a regular dose of useful resources and articles from Dr Hilary Claire delivered straight to your inbox pop your details below.