How to Get Children to Eat Vegetables

cartoon children dressed in vegetable costumes
March 8, 2022 0 Comments

Many parents struggle with how to get children to eat vegetables. Is it genetics? Environment? The taste? Well, the answer is complex, but how can you tell which one is making your child refuse to eat their veggies? Let’s learn more about how to get children to eat vegetables.

Why don’t children eat enough vegetables?

There are lots of reasons why children don’t eat enough vegetables. One reason is that vegetables are often seen as ‘boring’ or ‘unappetizing’.

Many children view vegetables as bland compared to sugary snacks. This is because vegetables generally have a lower sugar content than sweets and other processed foods.

Another reason is that many children don’t have enough time to eat breakfast or lunch, so they go to school without eating any vegetables. Some children have to make their own way to school so do not have a chance to prepare a healthy breakfast such as a fruit and vegetable infused smoothie.

Similarly, some older children have to catch up with school work during lunchtimes. Clubs and sports teams can also take up mealtimes and this can leave children with fewer opportunities to get something healthy to eat.

Some parents also don’t cook vegetables very often, or they cook them in a way that their children don’t like. For example, overcooked vegetables can lose their flavor and nutritional value.

When vegetables are overcooked, the cell walls break down and the water-soluble nutrients leach out into the cooking water. This can also cause the vegetables to taste bland or rubbery.

three children smiling behind table covered in vegetables

What are the benefits of eating vegetables?

Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet because they provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are necessary for growth and development. They also contain antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage and your body against disease.

Furthermore, vegetables provide energy and vitality for growing bodies. Studies show that children who eat veggies are more likely to have better overall health and lower rates of chronic diseases later in life.

How to get children to eat more vegetables

Here are some quick and easy tips for getting children to eat more vegetables:

  • Make vegetables fun to eat. Cut raw vegetables into fun shapes, and start with veggies that have natural sweetness like carrots.
  • Serve vegetables with homemade dips or sauces. This will make them more appealing to children.
  • Get children involved in the cooking process. Let them help you prepare the vegetables, or let them choose which vegetables they want to eat.
  • Make sure there are plenty of vegetable side dishes on the table at mealtimes. Try to offer vegetables every day and don’t make your child feel like they are an afterthought.
  • Reward children for eating their vegetables. Give them a sticker, or let them choose a dessert.
  • Talk to your children about the benefits of eating vegetables. Let them know that vegetables are good for their health and can help them stay strong and healthy.

cups of vegetable sticks and sour cream dip

Fun vegetable recipes for kids

Here are a few recipes for dishes made with vegetables that kids will love.

 

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, chopped

3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup milk

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, bring the cauliflower and vegetable broth to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft.
  2. Add the milk and cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

 

Roasted Broccoli and Cheese

Ingredients:

1 head broccoli, chopped into florets

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, toss the broccoli with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until tender.
  3. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve hot.

 

Green Beans with Garlic and Parmesan

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the green beans for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  4. Add the green beans and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with the Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

 

Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup grated zucchini

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper to taste, Parmesan cheese, and egg. Stir in the milk until well combined. Stir in the zucchini.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve hot.

 

 

Changing a kid’s eating habits won’t happen overnight

Ultimately, if your child is a picky eater, finding veggies for kids can be challenging. However, cooking tasty dishes that include vegetables can encourage children to eat more vegetables. 

Above all, this is because they will see their parents or guardians cooking and enjoying these dishes, and will want to try them for themselves. Additionally, setting a good example by eating plenty of vegetables yourself will also encourage your children to do the same.

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