Vegetable Tips for Kids

Getting kids to eat vegetables, Jessie with plate vegetables

If you want your kids to be chipper and cheerful, well it really is about getting your kids to eat their vegetables.

These vegetable tips for kids will give you ideas for when you've got all these wonderful fresh vegetables growing in your garden...

... Now how do you get children to eat them?

At least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day is touted for children and adults.

A serving is a handful, so 5 of a little one's cupped hand is good. Don't forget yourself, 5 or more of your sized hands for you too.

And that's the first strategy, if YOU snack on fruits and veggies and eat luscious healthy meals, then your children are more likely to follow your lead — so lead by example, so all the family can be chipper together!

Here's a list of great ideas for getting kids to eat their vegetables . . . .

kids love vegetable ribbons
  • Offer your kids a wide variety of tastes, textures and colours. Start early as little toddlers and you're more likely to develop these healthy habits for life.
  • Food is life, teach your kids to respect food. Don't waste it and make preparing and eating it, fun, enjoyable and as deeply calming and satisfying as possible.
  • Getting kids to eat vegetables, food face plate
  • Make food interesting looking, be imaginative, and when your child is old enough, say from around 18 months (you can judge when), pull a chair up to the bench or table and let them do some poking, stirring, arranging and decorating.
  • Prepare interesting after school or between meal snacks. A selection of cut up fruit, small bits of dried fruit, and raw vegetables.

    Even a treat sometimes should be as good as you can make it, such as home-made or healthy muesli bars, (leave the cakes and junk for outings at friends and birthday parties).

    Kids enjoy vegetables - food in small containers

    Treats can be things like decorations such as coloured sprinkles on yogurt or stewed fruit; or two squares of dark, low sugar chocolate. Okay, the chocolate will always go first... but then they'll move on to the good stuff to fill up and clean their teeth.

  • Never make your dinner table a battle-ground. It's not worth it. If they are forced to eat a whole serving of something they hate, they are more likely not to want to try different foods. Kids eating vegetables - blue plate of snacks

    Keep mixing different foods up. Prepare new types of vegetables or prepare them in different ways. Let them try just a small bit. If they don't like it, fine, just keep serving the stuff up and you continue to eat yours.

  • When it seems a bit hard, don't tell lies, but disguise it. Shred some carrot or zucchini into pancakes or hash brown potatoes. Blend vegetables into soups, pasta sauces or on pizza.
  • Involve them in the process. Take them shopping and let them pick out the veggies. Have them help plan and prepare the meals. Get them into their own gardening project! See Gardening for kids.

Let's do a clear list to sum up the ideas. . . .

Strategy #1 — Camouflage the vegetables

  • Mash them in
  • Coat them
  • Puree them
  • Sneak them into Pasta sauce
  • Blend fresh fruits and vegetables into smoothies/shakes (Classic is yummy apple and celery)
  • Introduce changes slowly
  • Swamp it in olive oil, coconut oil, coconut cream, butter, gravy, yogurt etc.

Strategy #2 — Get the kids involved

  • Let them have their own little patch in the garden — if the child/ren have actually worked in the garden to produce the vegetables, they are more likely to want to eat them
  • Let them Chop, Cook, Slice, Dice, Mince, Smash, Crash the vegetables when they are in the kitchen. There's nothing like a kid boasting about their culinary skills. How could they not refuse to eat their masterworks
  • Make it fun — give the meal a theme (ie: Super Carrot man night)
  • Involve your children in the weekly vege shop eg: let them choose at least 1 fruit and 2 veges when shopping. This also helps to find out what they like to eat
  • Raw vegetables — usually served Crudités are often more popular than cooked.

Strategy #3 — Presentation

  • Happy smiley faces
  • Stick figures
  • Colours
  • Trains, Planes and Automobiles
  • All sorts of sports.

Strategy #4 — Games

  • Whoever eats the most Brussels Sprouts wins the prize
  • Card games eg: whoever loses the game has to eat the Bean sprouts.

Strategy #5 — Bribe, for very last resort

  • "If you eat your carrots, you’ll be able to play football like Renaldo!"
  • "If you don’t eat the lettuce, you’ll end up like the grumpy old, toothless, bald man next door"
  • "Every bean you eat, means an extra 10c pocket money" (Warning: If overused, could backfire!)
  • Make a Sticker System — reward them after a week of eating their veges.

Strategy #6 — Education

  • Explaining the benefits of Vegetables. (This will come across as long winded and dull just be very careful)
  • Fibre, Vitamins, Minerals, Phyto-nutrients, Five a Day, Helps prevent obesity, Cancer, blah blah blah, see what I mean you can rabbit on for hours about the benefits. As adults we know the benefits but that is through a lifetime of learning. So don’t overload them with facts
  • A new fact every night about a vegetable could help them learn slowly.

Praise, praise, praise. Adults like it, kids like it. It works!

Here's the main page on Vegetable Recipes with some nice ideas for healthy eating.

Back to HOME page: No Dig Vegetable Garden

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