Between recipe planning, grocery shopping, and meal prepping, the topic of food can be mind-boggling. Throw in dietary restrictions and food preferences, it’s enough to make you wonder what to put on the plate. So, when you finally figure out a nutritious option, prepare the meal, and serve it to your loved ones, the last thing you want to hear is “Ew! I hate vegetables!”
It’s not uncommon for kids (and even adults) to dislike vegetables. They come in different flavors, textures, and shapes. Some of them don’t smell great either.
Don’t worry. There are ways to get kids to eat their vegetables or at least find a new appreciation for them with the following tips.
Mix It Up
One of the nice things about vegetables is their versatility. You can turn zucchini into noodles, cauliflower can turn into a pizza crust or rice, and sweet potatoes can turn into fries. If you really want to “hide” your veggies, puree some squash, eggplant, tomatoes bell peppers into your pasta sauce over your favorite pasta.
Get Seasonal With It
If you find yourself getting into a rut, aim to buy vegetables that are in season. The produce section at your favorite grocery store likely has in-season vegetables front and center to grab your attention. Oftentimes, veggies in season are often on sale (score!). Equate your veggie selection with your favorite seasonal activity. For instance, veggie soup after your annual visit to the apple orchard can be a part of lasting memories.
And here’s a bonus tip for you. If your favorite veggie isn’t in season, check out the frozen food or canned food aisles. Canned or frozen vegetables have a longer shelf life, so you avoid having to throw away spoiled produce.
Make it an Event
Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be a chore. Instead of going to your regular grocery store, check out a local farmer’s market. Atlanta is home to many farmers’ markets across the entire metro area. Markets range from seasonal to daily to Saturday mornings or weekday afternoons. Pick a location and take the kids on an adventure. They’ll likely be able to get a few samples, learn about where their food comes from, and meet new people.
A few of my favorite farmers’ markets are:
Keep At It
The adage, “If you don’t succeed try, try again” certainly applies to getting kids to eat their vegetables. Veggies can be served warm, cold, roasted, sauteed, etc. Choose the preparation style that suits the texture preference of your kids.
Another option is to re-introduce vegetables. My kids’ tastes seem to change every few months or so. One day they like broccoli, but they hate broccoli six months later. When we go through these cycles, I swap out the old preference with something new. Or I add veggies to their favorite meal or snack. Pizza night is fun when you let them make their own mini pizza complete with an assortment of veggie toppings. Or replace crackers with carrot sticks to go along with hummus.
Since we tend to eat with our eyes first, presentation matters. Kudos to those moms who cut food into fun shapes or animals, but I am not that mom. Instead, I’ll switch things up with colored plates and bowls, or maybe a different colored napkin to make mealtime fun and interesting.
Any way you slice it (see what I did there?), getting kids to eat their veggies can happen. You may have to tap into your creative side or spend a few minutes on Pinterest, but you can create something nutritional and memorable for your kids.
Do you have success with your kids and vegetables? Let us know in the comments!