I know I’m not the only mom who has a hard time feeding her kids enough veggies, right? Right?
Between picky eaters and feeling like I don’t know how, it’s been a challenge for me. Remember, I grew up on canned green beans and frozen corn – a grain! – as my main veggies. Oh yeah, sometimes we had baby carrots.
Thankfully, I’ve got wonderful friends who’ve helped me find good recipes. I’ve also picked up some tricks along the way that have made it so much easier for me to help my kids eat their veggies.
1. Make their favorites
This may seem simple. And it is. If your kids have favorite veggies, make more of them. Yes, it’s good to introduce new ones on a regular basis (did you know they need to taste a new food about 20 times before they like it – persevere!) but if you know they like a certain veggie or veggies, go ahead and serve them.
There’s just something special about watching your kids argue over who will get the last serving of steamed broccoli …
My kiddos love their smoothies. I love them, too. Not only do they taste yummy and allow me to get them a whole bunch of fruit at once, but it gives me a chance to get them some extra veggies, too.
I love to add greens like spinach and baby kale (just use a really good blender – I heart my Blendtec – so you don’t have kale chunks) or peeled carrots. You can also throw in cucumber, celery or avocado (though that’s technically a fruit).
3. Prepare them different ways
Chances are, your child might like a vegetable better raw vs. cooked. Or vice versa. If your kiddo doesn’t like raw carrots, try cooking them in beef broth (they taste amazing that way).
Don’t be afraid to cook veggies in butter (the fat will help them absorb those fat-soluble vitamins) or to simmer them in broth. If they like the steamed variety of say, broccoli, try steaming other veggies as well.
4. Use veggie-friendly recipes
Try chopping up greens and adding them to soup right at the end for extra nutrition. Or try this dish with a generous serving of spinach and spaghetti squash instead of pasta – the sauce is oh so tasty. You could also make homemade pizza with a layer of spinach between sauce and cheese (as one friend’s mom liked to do).
If a recipe doesn’t necessarily call for veggies, that’s ok. Get creative and choose one or two that you could add that would make the dish even better.
5. Grow them
My son told me a story the other day about when he stayed the night at his cousin’s house one June. Apparently they got up really early and snuck out to the garden to eat sugar snap peas. What!?
My kids balk at the idea of eating certain veggies – unless they have a hand in growing them. Grow whatever you can whenever you can – be it a garden full of veggies in the summer, or a windowsill pot of baby spinach (or one of these – I really want one).
6. Bonus! Juice Plus
Even though we eat a healthy diet, I still have a hard time getting my kids (and myself) to eat enough veggies. So for the last few months, we’ve been using Juice Plus. Juice Plus+ is whole food based nutrition, including juice powder concentrates from 25 different fruits, vegetables and (gluten-free) grains in a capsule or chewable form.
My kids love the chewables and even though I still try to give them as much fresh produce as I can, I like knowing that they have something to help bridge the gap.