The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It’s true. Whatever we do not like or won’t eat, we are not likely to introduce to our kids. It is an unconscious process that we, as parents, go through. When you shop, if you don’t like peas, you won’t pick them up. Makes sense, right? So, in reality, getting your kids to eat their greens is also an experiment for you as well. Through them, you can learn to appreciate vegetables that you may have shied away from as a child and again as an adult.
With that said, introducing new foods to kids when they are young is one way to get them to eat their green veggies. Their palate is clean and ready to accept new foods. They will learn how vegetables are supposed to taste and choose the ones they like. Resist the urge to smother them with butter or salt. Let the natural flavor come through.
If your children are older and haven’t developed a love for veggies, you may have to be a little covert with your veggie operation. The first thing to do is double the vegetables in foods they normally eat.
Let’s take a hamburger or chicken burger for instance. Homemade burgers are the best. Kids who don’t eat a lot of veggies will sometimes allow some on their burger. This is your opportunity to smuggle a few more greens into their food. If they usually take one piece of lettuce, put two. Vary your types of lettuce so they get a variety of tastes: romaine, Bibb, iceberg and even mixed greens. How about mixing in some veggies to the hamburger. You could add peppers, beans, onions and even spinach to a hamburger. Try it yourself and see which flavors would be the strongest. Hey, don't knock it until you try it!
Add a salad to your meals. Serve the salad while the kids are waiting for the main course. When they are truly hungry they will dive right in. it also gives them a chance to create a salad they will like. Offer a smorgasbord of add-ins including green things like avocado, cucumber, lettuces, broccoli, tomatoes, beans (edamame, peas) and colorful peppers. Make your own dressing so you know its made with the healthier oil (coconut, olive).
Offer veggies and hummus for snacks. Instead of serving popcorn with your favorite movie, try a platter of veggies and hummus or a home made dip. Kids love to dip things so give them each a small bowl of their own dip. Many times, if you allow your children to help prepare the food they will try it. Ask them to help you make the hummus or another type of healthy homemade dip.
One more suggestion is diced veggies. Add them to soups, stews and even spaghetti sauce. You can hide a bevy of good things in these places. Spaghetti sauce with small diced peppers, mushrooms, zucchini or even broccoli. Cut each veggie into small pieces so it cook in the sauce - so yummy!
Are your kids adverse to eating green things? Help them by using every opportunity to get introduce them to their palate.
How do you get your children to eat more veggies? Post your tips!