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July 28, 2011 / Tara

Ten Easy Ways to Get Your Kids To Eat Their Veggies

I have one daughter who will tell you she absolutely hates vegetables. At 17 her idea of a vegetable pretty much stops with baked potatoes and corn on the cob. I want her five year old sister to really love vegetables and develop good eating habits, so I have vowed to do better. Here is what I have found works and what to avoid with your kids.

1. Never use a bribe to get your child to eat vegetables (or any other healthy food for that matter). You’ll soon be broke and they will hate vegetables.

2. Forget lying to your kids about what is in that casserole. Once you lose trust, you’ve lost the war. This includes hiding vegetables in other dishes.  In my opinion, now all you’ve done is make them dislike two foods when you hide the zucchini in the meatloaf.

3. Don’t assume that because you don’t like something, your child will not. My five year old recently surprised me when she saw lima beans at the
store and asked for them by name!  Lima beans are not something I grew up eating so I never bought them.  We buy them now!

4. Get outdoors and grow a vegetable garden. Even if you live in an apartment and can only have one hanging tomato plant off your back window-go for it! If you let your son or daughter play farmer they will be so much more likely to try those vegetables. If you live in the city find a
community garden where you can volunteer with your child and maybe “own” a part of the garden. You’ll learn together and get to share in
the harvest as well!

5. Get creative! Use dipping sauces, fun shapes and new recipes to introduce vegetables to your child. Find out what they like and embrace it. My
daughter will only eat carrots cooked with butter and a little brown sugar so that is how I cook them for her.

6. Set the example. Don’t snack on chips and dip and then ask your child to have celery sticks and peanut butter for a snack. They will mimic you in your good habits and your bad.

7. Ask for a tour of the grocery store or farmer’s market with your child or help arrange a field trip for their class or scout troop. Ask to visit the produce department and show the kids how to get excited about vegetables. There are so many veggies out there you’ve probably never heard of so neither has your child.

8. Make it a game! Try “color matching” with different vegetables or a “corn shucking race”. The more fun those veggies are the easier it will be to encourage your child to try them.

9. Don’t just eat your veggies-drink them! If you have a juicer, you can make lots of fruit and veggie juices without any added sugar or
chemicals. Plus raw vegetables hold on to the nutrients often lost in cooking. Try cucumber, celery, carrots and beets. Beets do have a little extra sugar so the sweet taste may help win your child over. If you let the kids put the veggies in the juicer and watch it go, they will be very excited to taste their concoction.

10. Make it a pizza night! Even better, make the pizza at home with your kids. Using fresh tomato sauce, top your pizza with lots of yummy
vegetables and cheese and watch it disappear! My kids love pizza with peppers, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms.

Most importantly remember if you start young, your son or daughter will be so much more likely to eat vegetables for life.  Just like with any other habit, it is so much harder to break as we get older.  So make eating veggies a healthy habit your kids keep forever!

*********************

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Peas and Thank You blogging program for a gift card worth
$30. For more information on how you can participate,
click here.

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