We all need to eat our veggies. Especially growing kids. But they don’t always go down the hatch like a free-gliding airplane-spoon filled with sugar. It’s frustrating to try to win an argument with a toddler, but you’re not alone in this battle for a healthier mealtime. If you’re not already doing so, disguising veggies into fun ‘kid foods’ is a great way to get them eating better. “Vegetables are a great source of nutrients,” confirms Rebecca Davis, MD of Family Medicine and Pediatrics at SCL Health Broomfield, CO, “They contain vitamins and minerals that growing bodies and minds need.” Here’s a few creative ways to turn your veggies into undercover agents of healthy change.
Pick their favorite meals and mix them in. Zucchini noodles mix with pasta. Cauliflower makes a great pizza crust. And just think about all the veggies you can hide in your sauces.
Hello my name is “Reggie Veggie”
Always introduce and reintroduce veggies to the kids. You can even name them after your Great Aunt Mira or Cousin Jay Pea.
First impressions count. Even for a string bean
If veggies look fun to your kids, it’ll surely entice them to eat a few. No need to overdress a string bean in a tuxedo on its first lunch interview. But maybe?
Make it fun. Like decorating broccoli trees
Maybe they’re not eating vegetables at all. Maybe they’re just trimming a broccoli tree. Get where we’re going?
Give them a choice. Well, sort of a choice
Instead of force-feeding veggies, make dinner as a family, and let them choose what foods they can have on the side. Only catch is, they're choosing between peas, carrots, zucchini, and beets.
If nothing here works, keep trying
Dr. Davis adds, “Smoothies are a great way to incorporate veggies and fruits into your child’s diet. Incorporate things like kale or spinach, and call it a ‘Monster’ or ‘Shrek Smoothie’. You can also blend up vegetables and mix them into spaghetti sauce.” Remember, it’s our parental duty to get our kids to eat right. You can do it.