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Veggies That Kids Like

One of the toughest moments in parenting is getting kids to eat vegetables. I have witnessed so many stories.  I’ve seen children cry just because someone asked them to eat their carrots. I saw one kid fall out on the floor because someone placed produce on the plate. I have even seen children weep as they eat vegetables and confess that they like it!

I’m not too sure I understand all of the reasons for resistance, but I do know that vegetables provide the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, fiber and water to help us stay healthy.

If you can’t get your child to eat sugar snap peas, here are a few ideas to help meet the challenge. But first I must warn you, it takes tough parenting and a few clever ways to approach eating vegetables.

  1. Collect recipes or ways to season the favorites. One of the reasons why children don’t like to eat veggies is because they don’t taste good. Preparing broccoli with sesame seed oil, garlic and soy sauce can turn tastebuds into broccoli lovers.
  2. There is a better chance of getting kids to eat veggies when they are hungry. Try placing vegetables on the plate before other foods and encourage them to take a bite. A little stir-fried zucchini with tomatoes, onions and basil might win them over.
  3. Adding vegetables to their favorite dishes may go unnoticed. Cauliflower can be minced to resemble rice. Mixing this rice-like cauliflower into rice dishes with a little curry powder, protein and onions can slip past their tastebuds.
  4. If a child does not like raw spinach, try it sautéed with garlic and olive oil — in soups, or added to casseroles. The important point is to get them to try a vegetable several ways before we accept that they really don’t like it.
  5. When all else fails, try roasting root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes; and cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli. Using infused olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and herbs such as basil, rosemary, and Italian seasonings make culinary delights.
  6. Take kids to the grocery store and let them pick a vegetable. When they participate in the process, they are more likely to try something new and form an opinion.
  7. Giving them a variety of fresh produce can get them eating vegetables regularly. Beets can be a tough sell, but roasted with a little olive oil brings out the sweetness, and I have seen kids eat with passion. Raw beets have that earthy flavor but shredded in a salad, it tastes great!

I have been working with kids in schools for more than 15 years and I have seen the opinions of children change when they have experienced great tasting veggies. It takes creativity, patience and a few cooking techniques to engage them. Over the years, I have been surprised to see how great tasting veggies become a part of their diet. Oh, and don’t forget to show them that you eat vegetables too!

Pamela Williams writes from Southern California

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

is a dietitian in Southern California.

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