Kids seem to have a honing beacon when it comes to vegetables. They can spot a vegetable from a mile away. Forcing kids to eat their vegetables only causes them to become even more insistent of their dislike for them.
Dinners that end up with tears being shed and parent’s threatening “no dessert” don’t sound like what Norman Rockwell had in mind when he was painting the American dinner table.
Instead of creating a negative association with vegetables, these tips will allow you to slip in vegetables in a more positive way.
1) Avocado is your friend
Many kids love the taste of avocado. Whats not to love? It’s creamy, smooth, and full of delicious fats. Guacamole can be made my mixing in a scoop of salsa with mashed avocado. For even more vegetable incorporation, steam frozen peas and mash those in as well. It will be a nice protein boost and they won’t even notice. Use mashed avocado as a coating or dip for a variety of vegetables.
2) Incorporate Fruits with Vegetables
Smoothies are a great way to get your fruits but also great for adding some greens. You can add quite a lot of spinach to a smoothie before you’d even taste a hint of spinach. The key is to use a spotty banana in the smoothie. That over ripe banana pretty much masks any taste of greens.
3) Make Your Pasta A Veggie Powerhouse
We live in the age of an entire grocery aisle full of noodles. Not surprisingly, companies are coming up with so many unique combinations. My favorite tip is to get a chickpea or lentil noodle. These noodles are made entirely out of beans. Once they’re added to sauce, you won’t taste much of a difference.
Use a hand blender to blend in cooked carrots or a can of chickpeas into marinara sauce. It will only change the texture slightly. If my kid is going to eat pasta, it might as well be healthy!
4) Involve Your Child
involve your child in cooking as much as possible. Yes, it’ll take longer. Yes, it’ll be messier. BUT you’ll have a child who is invested in what you are making. They’re more likely to eat what they have put effort into helping make.
To pull an example from the corporate world: Involving other’s input and collaboration is a well known business strategy to get employees’ buy-in for changes a company is making. People want to feel heard and involved. This is the same with children.
5) Don’t Give Up!
I’ll just put this out there: Your child will not like the food on the first try. Does that mean that you should give up offering carrots because of the one time two months ago he didn’t like them?
No, definitely not.
Keep in mind that overly sweet, salty, and greasy foods are biologically addictive. Our bodies were made to crave these types of foods in preparation for times of famine. To bulk up before the winter.
It may take one try or 20 tries before your child’s taste buds adjust to the food you are offering
Just remember, they will adjust if you stick with it.
Steffa is a stay-at-home mom blogger who writes about finances, making money, budgeting, and meal planning. As a plant based food enthusiast, she hasn’t met a vegetable she doesn’t like and is raising her son the same way. More can be found in her blog Plantsonify.com