By Helen Agresti
I’m referring to those kids who immediately turn inside out at the sight of a vegetable. As parents, we think there’s absolutely no chance of them tasting it. The reason is often their misconception that anything “healthy” never tastes good. Because of this, most parents have a difficult time getting their kids to eat the recommended 3-5 servings a day. I’m one of those parents. Trying to get kids to eat anything besides chicken fingers and French fries is exhausting. I consider myself lucky because only 2 of our 5 are “stubborn little veggies.”
Here are a few ways to get your kids to eat their vegetables:
1. Grill vegetables like corn and asparagus. Grilling can be fun for the whole family. Having the kids help in the kitchen with healthy meals increases the likelihood of them cooking healthy as an adult. Start them out with easy responsibilities like husking the corn and washing and drying the asparagus.
2. Stir-fry vegetables can be tasty and healthy. I haven’t met a child that doesn’t like eating at a Hibachi restaurant. Create a Hibachi themed dinner at home. Broccoli, carrots, and peas can be a little more appealing when they’re surrounded by a whole grain brown rice. A wok, large skillet, or grill will do just fine.
3. Puree vegetables. Pureed vegetables like broccoli, carrots, onions and peas can be camouflaged in soups and casseroles. Fun shapes and designs can easily be made with pureed vegetables. They definitely help make a child’s plate more appealing. Foods that are pureed do not lose their nutrient or fiber content. For example, cauliflower mashers are just as delicious, look just like mashed potatoes, but contain a lot more nutrient benefits.
4. Blend vegetables into smoothies. If you can avoid letting the kids see you adding a vegetable to the blender, chances are they won’t taste it. I learned quickly to hide my Kale and spinach. Caution! Only use the amount the recipe calls for and no more. Some vegetables can overpower smoothies.
For those not so stubborn kids, try slicing and dicing various vegetables and adding them to salsa dips, salads, wraps, and fajitas.
~ Enjoy and have fun with your “Stubborn Little Veggies!”
– Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian and founder of Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC. She’s a mom of 5, writer, and Pilates instructor. Follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti for more healthy tips and recipes.