We asked parents on our Facebook page to share their tips on getting more veggies into their children’s diets… and more importantly, into their MOUTHS. Here’s a sampling of some of the clever — and sometimes downright STEALTHY — food-prep ideas you shared with us:
- Dip in organic yogurt with sprinkles!! — Allison Wilson Wright
- I buy a pasta that is partially made out of vegetables. It doesn’t taste different and it gets them to eat those veggies!! — Ashley Avelar
- They get put out as an appetizer before dinner with hummus or dip. Because the kids get to eat something before dinner they think of it as a treat and if they fill up on veggies it’s not a big deal! — Kelly Lowre
- My son has ASD and doesn’t like certain textures. For him we usually puree fresh veggies with a little bit of applesauce and put them in reusable pouches. He eats them better that way. Our daughter has always liked veggies (in fact her favorite food is a garden salad) but to keep it fun we will use mini cookie cutters to cut the veggies into fun shapes. Food picks also add a cute touch. — Mika Clardy
- I make faces with the veggies. Even though I was taught not to play with my food, it’s more fun that way. — Christina Collier
- Pre-cut veggies and dip in the lowest shelf of the fridge. The way some parents put cereal in baggies where the kids can get at it. We don’t have snacks, just an open invitation to help themselves to the veggie tray whenever they’re hungry. They get to feel independent, and it takes the battle out of it. Rotate kinds, so they can try as much as possible. Also, gardening and helping with prep as age appropriateness allows. It’s amazing what a kid will eat when it’s their work. — Jessie le Fey
- Smoothies. Also remember it takes a child 16 times to acquire a taste for something if they don’t like it. Keep offering it. Don’t give up. They will surprise you. — Jamie Goode
- I have been blessed with kids that love their veggies. I think that a contributing factor is that, when each of them were just starting to feed themselves, I would serve them frozen mixed vegetables. They are great for working on fine motor skills and keeping the gums cool if teething and they love them. I always get the mix that has peas, carrots, corn and green beans (and sometimes lima beans) and they all still love to just have a bowl as a ‘treat’. — Kalyne McIver
- I either use a plate that has sections and section off the dips from the veggies or create some sort of picture with the veggies. — Gita Prasad
- Let him help pick which seeds and plants to grow. He loves to pick the veggies and eat them off the plant or pick a bunch and make “I picked it” garden soup or stir fry. — Tamar Everard
- We encourage our kids to cook with us. Sometimes this at least gets them more interested in trying new fruits and veggies. We also have food adventures– each month 1 child may pick a fruit or veggie of their choice and we will pick out recipes online) or how to prepare and cook them. — Lee Luckeydoo
- My kids love pasta and hate veggies. So I simply steam carrots or broccoli or beans and grind them into a paste and add it to the pasta sauce. I mask the taste with a bit of ketchup. Viola! Another thing I do is cut it up fine and small and add a little to their grilled cheese sandwich or their chicken and rice. What they can’t see, what they can’t really taste, maybe it’s not there as far as they are concerned. But I don’t want to be doing this forever, so I do steam veggies once in a while and put it in a divided bento box along with a food that they love and have them try their greens first and gobble their fav after. Somehow my kids have grown to tolerate and like some of their steamed greens, carrots etc. It’s an on going battle with kids. What works today won’t work tomorrow. — Jency Kuriakose
- I sneak ‘em in pancakes and homemade breads. Like grated carrots & zucchini or roasted sweet potato & banana. — Karen Beato Mangonon
- We pretend the entree bites are characters from her fave shows. The veggies are trees, sticks, party balloons, etc that they need for the party in her tummy. — Danielle Davis
- I give them veggies before dinner, while they’re watching a quick show and I’m preparing our meal, either cut carrots, peppers, or celery. They love frozen peas! A few frozen peas in a tiny bowl, and they’re happy campers — and they’ve eaten their veggies! — Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador Amy Mascott | TeachMama.com
- Getting kids to eat vegetables? I’ve got three words my friends: Carrot Crunching Contest. — Melissa & Doug Blog Ambassador Zina Harrington (Pop on over to Let’s Lasso the Moon for 5 Tips for Growing Veggie Lovers.)
Got a tip not listed here? We invite you to leave a comment below or join our Facebook discussion to share your own Veggie Success Story!
- Quick Tips for Picky Eaters
- 30 Days of Lunchbox Meals
- Playtime Ideas for Raising Healthy Eaters
- Create Your Own “Kid Restaurant” for BIG TIME Food FUN!
- Are You Modeling a Good Attitude about Veggies for Your Kids?
- How to Help Your Kids Understand and Make Friends with Foods
And follow these FOOD-FOCUSED Melissa & Doug PINTEREST boards:
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