How To Get Your Kids To Eat More Vegetables

Welcome back to the Raising Healthy Families Series!


We hope you've enjoyed joining us each Friday as we've shared different ways to keep your family healthy and vibrant in a not-so-healthy world!


Be sure to join us next Friday for our final post in this series from Kelly at The Nourishing Home, as she shares delicious, real food frozen treats that your family can enjoy all summer long.

 


This week it is my turn to share in this series on how to get your kids to eat more vegetables!




Getting a child to eat vegetables can be a monumental task that most moms hope to accomplish in their lifetime.  

We all know that many kids balk at vegetables.

Moms therefore try to find ways to "hide" vegetables in meals and casseroles, hoping their children do not notice the "green and orange stuff" hidden within their food. They whisper to their older children that they "better not say the word 'vegetable' or their younger siblings won't eat supper!"

My girls eat vegetables every day.  I'm not talking about vegetables hidden in food; I'm talking about fresh, raw, healthy vegetables!  My girls cheer when they see I'm chopping up a plate of celery, carrots and green pepper!

Here are some suggestions for getting your kids to eat more vegetables:


Make eating vegetables fun!



Kids tend to get a bad impression of vegetables from the beginning of their childhood.  They see adults turn their nose up at vegetable dishes, and eat from everything on the table but skip on the salad.  From an early age, make eating vegetables fun!  My girls really enjoy arranging vegetable faces on their plates.  Teach your children to associate vegetables with fun and give them a good impression of eating them!


Be an example

In my opinion, being an example is the most important thing.  Your children will find vegetables much more appealing if they see mom eat them with delight often.  I repeat, your children must see you eating and enjoying vegetables.  

When my oldest daughter was just 2, she would watch my mom snack on vegetables and eat delicious salads every day.  My mother really made her vegetables and salads look inviting.  My daughter began asking my mom for bites of her food - she figured that if grandma was enjoying her vegetables so much, then she should too!  It wasn't long before my daughter wanted her own plates of vegetables every day to munch on.  I realized through my mom's example that the best way to get my children to eat vegetables was to be their example!

Start young

Begin introducing raw vegetables to your children as young as possible.  If kids are pumped full of sweets and unhealthy foods from the start, they will not have an appetite for healthier foods. As soon as your child is old enough, offer plates of cut up vegetables, but don't be discouraged if they don't enjoy them right away; it may take quite a while for young ones to want raw vegetables, but keep offering them and eat them yourself with a smile. :-)


Picky eaters

I don't force my girls to eat every vegetable there is.  They don't have to eat vegetables that they just do not have a taste for.  One of my daughters does not like cucumbers, and another one gags at tomatoes.  I do not force my girls to eat a vegetable that they just don't like.  They do, however, have to find vegetables that they do like, and eat them daily.  If you start your children young in eating vegetables, and they see mom enjoying them, most children will like the basic vegetables.


If your children are older and you did not start them young in eating vegetables, you could offer a special treat to them if they eat a certain amount of raw vegetables, like dark chocolate chips, or a homemade treat of some kind.  Over time, you want to work toward them enjoying vegetables daily without the reward incentive.


Here are a few dressing recipes to help make vegetables more yummy!


Homemade Ranch Dressing

This recipe and photo is used with permission from Angela at Hidden Treasures



Many children like the taste of ranch dressing, and it can be a smart, yummy means of getting them to eat their vegetables.  The ranch dressings at the store contain MSG, which is a dangerous excitotoxin and contributes to neurodegenerative diseases.  If you're going to use ranch dressing, homemade is the best, healthiest, and least expensive option!


Recipe:

5 Tablespoons dried minced onions
7 teaspoons parsley flakes
4 teaspoons of sea salt
1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Mix these seasonings together and store in an air-tight container.  To make ranch dressing, mix 2 tablespoons of the dry mix with 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1 cup of buttermilk.  Let the flavors blend a few hours before serving.

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing




This is the dressing that we use the most for vegetables and on salads.  It is so healthy with all the benefits from the raw apple cider vinegar.  My girls really enjoy this vinegar dressing!

Recipe:

2/3 cups olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
{Can add onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian herbs but we normally just use salt and pepper}

Mix all the ingredients together and serve.

What ways do you get your kids to eat more vegetables?

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