7 Hacks to get kids eating veggies September 15, 2017
If you’re having trouble getting your kids eating veggies, check out these 7 hacks to convince them to start eating the good stuff…
Now watch me dip
The classic switcheroo. Swap out crackers for carrot and cucumber sticks or snow peas for a snack with dip. If you get them to choose the dip… they can’t say no! Plus there are plenty of delicious varieties of hummus, beetroot and spinach based dips that can sneak in even more nutrition right under their little noses.
Practice what you preach
There’s just no getting around it: if you enjoy vegetables sincerely, it will rub off on your kids. You won’t get your kids to eat their veggies if you don’t actively and consistently eat them and rejoice when you do. Stop making the meat and potatoes the hero of every dish, and try making veggies shine in a meal once a week – rather than just a side. Try mixing it up – you don’t have to cook veggies in the same recognisable way every time. Although subterfuge may seem to be the answer, the ploy of hiding them in plain sight, and making them seem just as exciting as other food, can be just as effective.
Serve up Salad – on the table, on the reg
Speaking of hiding in plain sight, we just love this idea: Always have a big bowl of a really yummy salad on the table. It gets kids used to the idea of veggies as being fundamental to every meal, and if you put it out ten minutes before the dinner’s ready, they’ll be so hungry they might even start picking at it! Stranger things have happened.
The “try it” rule
Make a new house rule. Everyone in the house – kids and adults – have to at least have one significant bite of something, even if they don’t like it. Apparently some foods take up to 10 times of tasting to acquire a taste for them. Don’t get discouraged if your child doesn’t like it the 1st, 2nd or even 9th time; practice makes perfect!
More competitive kids may even be spurred on to take a shine to eggplant before their siblings do.
Be a Storyteller
You know what I didn’t give two hoots about when I was a kid? Adults talking about ageing, aching joints, healthiness and fitness. Fitness? I just spent 4 hours pretending to be a horse in the backyard! Shove your fitness!
You know what I loved as a kid? A good yarn. Shiny red apples were suddenly more appealing when you considered their dire power in Snow White. Jack and the Bean Stalk persuaded me to try beans, even if it was only so I could weed out a magical one.
Inject a bit of imagination into vegetables and you’d be surprised at the appeal they may start to hold for your children. Better yet, why not get them to grow their own food?
We also recommend printing out a “Veggie of the Month” illustration and hanging them on the fridge to let the storytelling begin.
Fruit salad, kids?
So sneaky it just might work. Make a delicious fruit salad and add some veggies to it. Sweeter ones are easier to incorporate, like fresh corn or snow peas, but we also love beetroot for amazing colour, celery for crunch or a really ripe juicy tomato (try it with watermelon, you’d be surprised!). Cut up all the fruit and veg into roughly the same size and don’t be afraid to happily admit a vegetable is in there if they ask. You could even turn this into a game – how many fruits and vegetables can you find? (Careful, tomatoes are technically a fruit.)
Don’t make a fuss
If your kids don’t like something, don’t make a big deal out of it. Try it again in a different way at a later date. Steamed sprouts might be a no-no, but maybe roasted with pumpkin next time will win them over. The more times you try with different veggies, the more everyday it becomes. Before you know, the kids will be gobbling up their greens before anything else on the plate!