Getting Kids to Eat Vegetables

Getting kids to eat vegetables is not always a simple matter. Children can be very finicky. Most children like sweet tastes more than bitter or bland, and that’s where the problem with vegetables comes from.

vegetable basket

Now, we should all eat our vegetables because:

  • Vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. And …
  • Vegetables are low in fat and calories.

Getting kids to eat vegetables (and like them) however, can be quite a challenge. So, here are some tips to help make it easier. Try one or more of the following suggestions, and it shouldn’t be long before you hear “More vegetables please!” Well… at least for some vegetables (I cannot claim to be a miracle worker).

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Start with some of the sweeter tasting vegetables like sweet peas or corn on the cob. Offer thinly sliced carrot sticks or baked potato wedges. This will help children to understand that they do like some vegetables. This may help to make them more likely to try others.

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Once you have established that some vegetables will be eaten, start providing new choices occasionally. Children normally have to see a new food several times before they are really willing to try it.



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Offer some type of vegetable every day. Just because getting kids to eat vegetables is a challenge doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother. Keep offering the foods, make the children familiar with them, and soon you may have them asking for a specific kind.

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Try shredding or mincing vegetables and adding them to soups, meatloaves, or hamburger patties.

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Or… use reverse psychology and place vegetables right out in the open. Make an appetizer platter of cooked or raw veggies to place on the table prior to lunch. Let the children nibble while you are putting the finishing touches on the meal. This is a slightly sneaky way of getting kids to eat vegetables because this catches children when they are really hungry and they may wind up eating plenty of vegetables.

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Create meals that call for vegetables. Make casseroles, stir fries, tacos or homemade pizza. Menu choices that require veggies simply look more appealing to children than a side dish of vegetables.

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Better yet, involve the children in cooking the meal. Children are more apt to be interested in eating a meal they helped create.

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When you want to get kids to eat vegetables, offer smaller portions. Children who may be willing to try “a little” will be overwhelmed by a larger portion. Sometimes a refusal is based solely on the size of the helping.

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Make a big pot of vegetable soup and add some interesting noodles. Alphabet noodles, for example, may have the children so busy trying to make words they’ll pay no attention to what they are eating.

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Make vegetables interesting. Try different types of dips for raw vegetables. Experiment with sauces for cooked vegetables.

An example: when I was young, I really didn’t care for peas. My mother, however, started making peas in a creamy white sauce. The sauce was superb and completely changed the taste of the peas for me.

My grandmother made carrots with a brown sugar glaze. The carrots were wonderful. Today, I’m a true vegetable eater, even without the sauces or dips.

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It helps if the children see you enjoying vegetables. If you are trying to get kids to eat vegetables, and you’re not eating (and liking) them yourself, well,... they won’t be fooled.

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Try making veggie kabobs or serve mixed vegetables. Sometimes serving more than one veggie at a time helps. Even if they don’t eat all the vegetables, children will normally pick out the ones they like to eat.

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Children are typically wary of new foods. Try showing the children pictures of several types of vegetables. Let them choose one vegetable they have never had and make it the following day. Or… take a trip to produce department of the grocery store and let them personally choose a vegetable. Getting kids to eat vegetables is sometimes made easier by giving kids a choice.

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Plant a vegetable garden. Just like when children are helping with the cooking, they will be more apt to try foods they have helped to grow. Let them be a part of the whole process. Planting, weeding, watering and of course, the harvest are all activities the children can participate in. Better yet is cooking and trying their creation.

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Daycare Meal Help:

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Fun Kids Activities:

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