Wondering how to get kids to eat vegetables without begging, fighting, or hiding them in cookies? Here are the very best, mom proven tips and tricks!
I definitely don’t have parenting figured out, but one thing people comment on often is how well my kids eat vegetables. I have two boys and two girls ages 9, 7, 4, and 3 years, a few picky eaters, and one who really had a hard time warming up veggies, but now they all eat vegetables like champs! And, I don’t even mean that they eat veggies hidden in cookies. They eat and enjoy a bunch of different veggies cooked all kinds of ways and I don’t even have to beg!
So, here are the best tips and tricks I’ve found for how to get kids to eat vegetables! They are mom proven in my house and I hope they work for you too! Definitely let me know how it goes, or if you find anything else that worked for you kids!
How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables:
1. This is my BEST tip and it is so simple you won’t even believe it. Drum roll please…BUY A REUSABLE VEGGIE TRAY and FILL IT UP! I know, you’re skeptical, but you have to give this one a try. There is something about a big tray of options and something to dip that makes my kids eat three times as many vegetables in a sitting. I have and love this Rubbermaid Party Platter that is around $12 on Amazon. Best mom investment ever.
It costs me about $4 to fill it with different veggies each week and it comes out of the fridge two or three times a day for lunch, snack time, and even as a side dish with dinner. The kids gather around it and munch like crazy – on vegetables! Each of the kids have favorites that I put in often, but I also mix it up and give them new things to try each week. Bell pepper strips, sugar snap peas, cucumber, and grape tomatoes all dipped in Homemade Ranch Dressing or hummus are some of the favorites in our house.
Really, give this one a try and I bet you’ll be surprised.
2. Enforce the one bite rule. My kids don’t have to clean their plates or sit at the table until every pea is eaten, but they do have to try one bite of every food. The nice thing about this rule is that it really isn’t a hard one to enforce. We promise our kids that we won’t make them eat more than that one bite if they don’t like it, but we do expect them to just try one taste. Studies show that it takes 8-10 tries to like a new food, so we just keep having them try one taste and eventually it leads to kids who eat and enjoy all kinds of new foods.
3. Let them help you shop and prepare. Did you know that kids are far more likely to eat a food if they chose it and helped you prepare it? A few months ago my daughter was shopping with me and decided she wanted to try an artichoke. She helped me steam it and make a dip for it and then we ate it as a family with dinner. I was honestly surprised at how much the kids liked it and probably never would have even offered it to them if she hadn’t chosen it.
4. Make vegetables visible and easily accessible. That homemade veggie tray I told you about is filled and kept in the fridge at eye level all the time. The veggies are washed and cut into kid sized pieces, so when my kids open the fridge looking for a snack, a healthy one is right there waiting for them.
I also use this trick for fruits. The bottom (kid level) shelf of my pantry and the bottom drawer in the fridge is always stocked with pre-washed kid friendly fruits. My kids definitely aren’t perfect and we still have treats in the house, but I try to make healthy snacking as easy as possible for them.
5. Make them taste good! You’d probably be surprised to hear that one of the favorite veggies at my house is brussels sprouts! They get a bad rap because they just don’t taste good boiled or steamed, but they are crazy delicious when roasted with a little olive oil and salt. Actually, just about any vegetable is delicious when oven roasted. Just follow these instructions for Oven Roasted Vegetables. I’ll also include a few more of our favorite vegetable recipes at the bottom of this post.
6. Make trying new foods cool. My husband and I always make a big deal out of the kids trying a new vegetable, or any new food, even if they don’t like it. All we do is make comments about how proud we are that they are willing to try new things, or how brave they are for giving new foods a chance. It’s a small thing, but in our house it is cool to be willing to try new foods, so our kids will try one bite of just about anything.
7. Of course, one of the best ways to get kids to eat vegetables is to Set the Example. When they see you enjoying vegetables as a healthy snack and being willing to try new veggies, they’ll be much more willing too.
8. Don’t give up! Just keep trying and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see big changes over night. Focus on progress, not perfection and in the end your hard work will pay off.
Looking for more delicious ways to eat vegetables? Check out these healthy real food recipes!