Toddlers between two and three should eat one daily cup of vegetables, while kids between four and eight should eat 1.5.
If you have kids these ages, you know that following this recommended amount can be challenging.
Unless you’re lucky, your kid’s likely a picky-eater and – let me guess – vegetables are the food they most often refuse to eat.
I know this is frustrating.
However, just because putting a plate of vegetables in front of your kid doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean that getting them to eat their greens is mission impossible.
Learn how to get kids to eat vegetables!
Give Your Kid Raw Vegetables
Many times, kids prefer the crunchiness of raw vegetables rather than the texture of cooked ones, so give that a try.
This is also good because each vegetable piece they eat will contain even more nutrients than if you cooked them.
To make it more exciting, you can always put their favorite dip on the side.
Mayo and hummus are two great options.
If this doesn’t work there’s something else you can try. It might sound a bit weird at first, but hear me out: buy some frozen veggies and serve them frozen to your kid.
It’s a crazy way of eating vegetables and your child will probably love it.
Plus, if you live somewhere where temperatures get really high during the summer, the little ones will love having anything cold.
Make It Look Good
Oh, how important it is for the plate of vegetables to look appealing!
Putting some broccoli or spinach on the plate won’t cut it and I know preparing a beautiful plate seems like a waste of time when you have young children.
But trust me, in the long term, it’ll be worth it.
Use different-colored vegetables to make “food paintings” and you’ll see that eating them will become a lot more exciting.
Eat the Vegetables First
Parenting is very much about leading by example. If they see you making healthy dietary decisions – instead of just hearing you say how important it is to do so – it’ll become a lot easier to convince them to eat their greens every day.
Even when you feel like snacking, grab a piece of cucumber instead of a cookie and ask your kid if they also want some.
Kids want to be like their parents and you should use that to your advantage whenever you can.
Let Your Child Cook with You
You know how it is a lot more special to cook with vegetables and fruits that you planted with your own hands in your backyard?
For kids, food becomes a lot more exciting when they helped cooking or even shopping for the ingredients.
Show them pieces like this article by The Lunch Mob and let them choose the recipe that looks best to them.
And of course, let them get their hands dirty – this will make the food feel like their own creation and they’ll be way more willing to at least try it.
And hey, this also means that you’ll (hopefully) have less work, which is always a nice plus!
Include Vegetables Into Their Favorite Dish
This one might take a bit of creativity, but it is possible no matter what your kid’s favorite food is.
Maybe you’ll have to be a bit sneaky and chop the vegetables in tiny, tiny pieces so they won’t be as noticeable.
After all, I’m sure your child knows this dish like the palm of their hands.
Think about the dish your kid is always asking you to make and consider how you can add some veggies to it.
If it is lasagna, maybe you can put less meat and add some minced mushrooms.
If it is mashed potatoes, perhaps you could add some peas or greens to the mix.
Take some time to brainstorm ideas like these ones and you’ll find the one that works with your little one!
Serve Small Amounts
If your child always refuses to eat vegetables, you can’t be too ambitious.
Asking them to eat a plate that’s half protein, half greens is probably asking for way too much.
So, start small.
Chop half a carrot in pieces, make a small serving of salad, or cook three mushrooms as a side: as long as your kid doesn’t look at their plate and think “I’m going to be eating these vegetables for the next two hours”, you’re good.
Keep Trying Different Things
We all have different tastes and as your kid grows, they’ll discover what they like and don’t like.
If you keep trying to get them to eat the same three vegetables every single day, you’ll just make them (and, consequently, you) frustrated.
If you see that your child refuses to eat asparagus, move on to sweet potato.
If that doesn’t seem to work either, give cauliflower a try.
Only this way can you find out what your little one enjoys and what you should be buying often.
Plus, changing up the vegetables you buy will show them how big of a variety there is, which is an important lesson for good health.
How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables: Don’t Give Up!
This applies to vegetables and pretty much anything else: if it’s boring, your kid will probably not be that interested. And hey, fair enough!
So keep trying different vegetables and different strategies, and you’ll see that your child will start warming up to the idea of having a serving of veggies every meal.
The most important thing is that you don’t give up on learning how to get kids to eat vegetables and give into the easiness of fast food.
It might seem like the least headache-inducing option right now but in the long run, it won’t have been worth it.
If you enjoyed reading this article, I have many others you’ll like.
Keep exploring the blog and, if you know other useful tips to get kids to eat healthily, comment them down below!