How to Fix Vegetables Kids Will Love
Most of the time it is very difficult to get children to eat their vegetables. We are a fast food society and children grow up eating chicken nuggets, burgers, and french fries weekly. Face it, these foods often taste much better than vegetables to children, and if given the option, these things are what children will request. It is so important that parents offer children a wide variety of foods that include fruits and vegetables (and eat these foods themselves), so children get used to the tastes and learn to enjoy them. The following are some ideas to help children learn to eat their veggies.
1. Let children pick out a new vegetable each week to try. Figure out how to cook the new vegetable and go for it. We discovered spaghetti squash and many other things this way.
2. Try veggie packs on the grill. Our family loves these and the kids often ask for seconds of this food over anything else on their plate. Here's what to do: Spray tin foil with cooking spray. Cut up broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or anything else you may want and put the vegies on the tin foil. Sprinkle the veggies with salt. Add butter and chedder cheese, then close the pouches tightly. Place the pouches on the grill. The cheese and butter melts into the veggies and tastes so good together. These work great when camping.
3. My son just made fried zucchini. This may not be the healthiest way to cook your vegetables, but it's a good way to get your children to try this new taste. Slice the zucchini thin. Make a mixture of egg and milk. Dredge the slices in the egg mixture then flour. Place the coated zucchini in hot oil to fry. Serve with ranch dressing or any other dipping sauce. (Fried green beans are also really good, but fried anything is pretty amazing!!).
4. Set out a tray of raw veggies (baby carrots, broccoli that we like to call baby trees, celery, cucumbers, red bell peppers, or any other colorful items) and serve with fun dipping sauces. Ranch is a favorite in our house, but other dressings could be added as well for variety.
5. Try "ants on a log". We started this when my children were little and they actually take this for lunch sometimes. Take celery stalks, cut them, and get the strings off of the outside for a better texture. Line the inside of the stalk with peanut butter, then put a few raisins or chocolate chips on top to look like "ants on a log" of course :).
6. Let your kids start a garden and pick some vegetables they want to plant. Then as the vegetables mature and are ready to pick, let your children help harvest and find ways to prepare them. This will help them to get excited about trying their masterpieces.
7.. Hide veggies. Though this really doesn't teach a child to eat vegetables that they know are present, this ensures that a child eats vegetables when they are determined they are not going to touch a green or yellow food that looks even halfway good for them. When you make foods with a sauce like spaghetti, lasagna, or chili, puree some veggies to put in the sauce. Squash, sweet potato, carrots, or a number of other vegetables are great for putting in a blender or food processor and adding to receipe and they don't change the flavor of the food. I was known to even do this with jars of baby food before.
It is very important to start a child eating vegetables early so that they develop a taste for them. The sooner the better. Advice I was given was to even hold off on the baby food fruits that have a lot of sugar or sweet taste to them, and instead ensure that my children as babies were established on vegetables and meats first. This appeared to work with all three and fruit ended up being a treat.