I know vegetables keep us healthy but that doesn't mean it's always easy to get my daughter to eat them. Sometimes more of the broccoli ends up on the dog than in her belly, and the carrots become a lovely conditioning agent in her hair. But I refuse to give up!
Here are some tips that have worked for us:
1. Share veggies off your own plate: The more vegetables I eat the more likely my daughter is to want them as well. Especially if I share directly off my plate!
2. Serve vegetables as snacks in an on-the-go cup (whether or not you're on-the-go). For some reason peas, carrots, and diced veggies taste better out of one of these...
3. Be aware of your facial expressions: Do you offer the steamed spinach while smiling or do you scrunch up your nose? I dislike cantaloupe but still offer it with a smile and you better believe I chew and swallow that cantaloupe if she offers to share.
4. Use fresh produce and mix it up: I kid you not, my daughter will eat broccoli that has been cooked that day but won't eat it the next day. If your kids are picky try mixing up cooking methods, serving freshly steamed or even raw vegetables instead of previously frozen. Today we made some roasted broccolini (pictured above, tossed with a little olive oil and baked for 20 minutes at 350).
5. Mix vegetables with a familiar food: Add spinach, kale or peas to homemade macaroni and cheese or any pasta dish. Add carrots, spinach, kale, or chard to meatballs. Make smoothies with strawberries, banana, and greens.
6. Start young and try, try again: It can take 10 to 15 encounters with a food for a child to feel it is familiar enough to eat. It may take a while but don't give up, persistence pays off! In the meantime, hopefully you have a dog who likes veggies...
Every child and every family is different. What are some tricks that have worked for you?