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Thirteen Ways to Get Veggies into Your Kids

Do you remember eating tasteless and mushy green beans from a can when you were little? No wonder it took years to build our trust in that particular food group, as those were memories I’d rather erase. Fast forward to raising your own kids; you know the importance of vegetables in their diet and yours, but sometimes getting them to consume, let alone be excited about veggies can be somewhat of a broken record. I have two children of my own and have cared for nearly one hundred more in my time, and I completely get the ups and downs of this rollercoaster, and hope the below ideas will provide you with a few solutions to work with:

1-Get your children involved in the production of their food via gardening, cooking, or helping to choose the menu for the week.

2-Take them along to the farmers market and allow them to choose 3 veggies each for the week.

3-Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) so your whole family is exposed to new and more vegetables every week.

4-Add greens or carrot juice to your smoothies. Take a ¼ cup of chopped, frozen spinach (or a leaf or two of fresh kale or spinach) and throw it into your strawberry- banana smoothie and blend until smooth.

5-Do the unforeseen: take the above spinach or kale, chop it and add to macaroni pasta water one minute before it’s done cooking and you’ll have wilted greens to mix into their mac’n’cheese.

6-Avoid making separate meals for separate little people at your kitchen table…use the one bite per age rule (6 bites for a 6 year old, etc). Stick to the rule every day and don’t get attached to the response.

7-Season them…garlic/lemon, butter/sea salt, dill, rosemary, basil/olive oil, and sea kelp are all great options.

8-Don’t stop serving them. Ever.

9-Mash, puree, chop, and blanch your way to vegetable variety. What this means is don’t serve vegetables the same way every day/night.

10-Prepare a handful of different vegetables every week.

11-Always have veggie family favorites accessible and ready to go for snacking and start there before reaching for graham crackers or goldfish.

12-If you’re not already doing so, include a vegetable in your child’s lunch by taking out the cookie or fruit roll up and replacing it with a veggie. When the child whines, invite your child to request his/her own vegetable (maybe they choose 3 per week) for their lunch and trust that they are eating it. Once you have this routine down for a couple weeks, begin to include a healthy sweet again. The ownership for the child here is that they need to eat both items in their lunch.

13-Include a dip or spread for the vegetable such as hummus, a nut butter, cream cheese.

What we need to take to heart here is that if we want our children to have healthy habits, we have to own them ourselves. It can be tough to swallow those turnips at Thanksgiving or cauliflower without dip; however, if our kids see us doing this, we really can’t blame them for their complaints or lack of interest, right? If you are expecting them to get excited about eating more vegetables, guess who has to get excited with them. Hmm-hm, that would be Y-O-U, and I know you can do it. Be the role model your children need in order that they make healthy choices when placed with the decision on what to eat.

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About the Author

Nichole Kuechle, My Healthy Beginning
P.O. Box 195
Long Lake, MN 55356

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
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