Vegetables and Kids: The Struggle Continues

Playful and Colorful
Playful and Colorful | Source

Every kid knows that eating his vegetables will help him grow up big and strong. This argument, used by parents everywhere, is often not persuasive enough to encourage picky young diners to consume their daily dose of veggies. Hidden in napkins, fed to the family pet, or simply met with flat out refusal: vegetables are truly the unappreciated underdog of the food pyramid.

With that in mind, here are some helpful tips for those moms and dads engaged in the daily battle to keep their children healthy:

Choose colorful vegetables

It’s a well-known fact that children are attracted to bright colors. As if being full of anti-oxidants and vitamins weren’t enough, brightly colored vegetables have the added benefit of tasting sweeter than their green and white counterparts. So if your child turns his nose up at broccoli, try sweet corn, carrots, or bell peppers instead. These tasty veggies come in a variety of colors and provide great nutrition.


Make food interesting

By involving children in the preparation of meals, parents can allow their kids to take an active role in looking after their own nutrition while investing them in the end result. Mashed potatoes may never have held much interest before, but being allowed to add the milk or use the potato masher a few times might add a whole new excitement to the eating experience for a vegetable-resistant kid. Even simple things like pouring baby carrots into a bowl or arranging veggies into a happy face before sitting down to eat them can increase children’s interest in eating their vegetables.


Go for a dip

It may seem simple, but finding a veggie dip that your kids like could be the answer to all of your vegetable woes. There are many kinds of healthy dips and spreads on the market in a variety of flavors and textures that may appeal to your picky eater. If one doesn’t work, keep trying! You’re bound to find the right dip for your child eventually.

Mother's Day 2010 - Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon
Mother's Day 2010 - Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon | Source

Hiding vegetables in food

When all else fails, hide. Hiding vegetables in food is a tried and true method of increasing children’s vegetable intake. Using a food processor to grind vegetables up into a paste that can be added to pasta sauces, soups and breads is one sneaky way of getting more veggies into your kids’ diets. Now parents even have extra help in this vegetable-concealing campaign from juice manufacturers. Many juice companies have recognized the need for added nutrition in their products and are now making their fruit juices with vegetable blends. Choose one of these veggie-enhanced juices next time you’re in the market for fruit juice.

Zucchini/Snack Bread

Hopefully one of these suggestions will work for you and your efforts to increase the health of your child’s diet will pay off. Here’s a great recipe for Zucchini Bread, which you can rename Snack Bread for your child’s benefit, to help you get started.


Zucchini/Snack Bread

1 cup vegetable oil

1 ½ cups sugar

3 eggs

2 ½ cups shredded zucchini

3 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp vanilla

½ tsp lemon zest

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

Optional: raisins and or chopped nuts.


Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the eggs well in a large bowl. Next, beat in the sugar slowly, followed by the oil and vanilla. With a large spoon, stir in the zucchini and lemon zest. Combine the remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl then slowly fold them into the wet ingredients. Add half a cup of raisins or nuts if desired. Preheat the oven to 350°.Grease 2 8 x 4-inch pans and pour the batter in evenly. Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the bread from the pans after baking.

2011 Moira G Gallaga©

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Comments 13 comments

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

You are so right about the struggle with the veggies and kids. During our nutrition month in our preschool, we had them prepare healthy snacks as part of their activity. They enjoyed it very much. :)

Congrats on your Hubnuggets nomination. Follow this link to read and vote:

cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

Thankfully my kids love veggies so I don't really have to hide them. But these are great tips for those that need to. Congrats on your nomination!

The Rise of the Phoenix 5 years ago

Wow! Congratulations on your nominations! Voted up!

danielleantosz profile image

danielleantosz 5 years ago from Florida

I don't have kids, but over producing gardens have led me to add extra veggies to anything possible. The easiest menu item is spaghetti sauce. Most people add the normal diced tomatoes and bell peppers but any veggies you add taste great. The best sauce I ever made had well diced carrots and squash. Great advice and congrats on the hubnuggets nomination.

moiragallaga profile image

moiragallaga 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks very much for all your compliments and your votes. My husband was laughing at me over my nomination for a hub under the food and cooking category as I'm not that very useful in the kitchen to be honest. That hub was inspired by both my son's and my (when I was much younger)struggles with veggies.

@danielleantosz - good advice on the spaghetti sauce, my son loves pasta and this is one way where I can get him to eat his veggies. Thanks.

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Duchess OBlunt 5 years ago

Great recipe for Zucchini Bread. I'll have to give it a try.

Congratulations on your nomination

fashion 5 years ago

Great and beautiful hub.Great recipe for Zucchini Bread.

Well done.

moiragallaga profile image

moiragallaga 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks Duchess Oblunt and Fashion, I'm glad you both found the zucchini bread recipe interesting. You should try it.

Mrs. Menagerie profile image

Mrs. Menagerie 5 years ago from The Zoo

Way cool!

LearnFromMe profile image

LearnFromMe 5 years ago

Great tips for parents! Congrats on your nomination!!

Yvonne Finn 5 years ago

Hello Moira,

I enjoyed your well written and useful content here.

Though I no have young children at home, I am sure there are many parents who do and will find the tips here very useful.

I am going to try the zucchini bread recipe for sure!

Congratulations on being nominated, it is well deserved!


moiragallaga profile image

moiragallaga 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Mrs Menagerie, LearnFromMe and Yvonne thank you. Your feedback are very helpful as I am still on a learning curve when it comes to writing hubs and your comments, along those of others, are good indicators for me as to how I am doing and how I can further improve.

moiragallaga profile image

moiragallaga 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for dropping by recipesonly. Well, the struggle with our son continues to this day, and it's not just vegetables. I'll definitely take a peek at your site and get some ideas from there.

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