How to Get Kids to Eat More Produce

How to Get Kids to Eat More Produce

It’s an age-old question and one that is especially relevant today: How do I get my kids to eat more fruits and vegetables?  There’s no easy answer.  Some experts have suggested that parents start their children out on just vegetables when they start eating solid foods so that they develop a taste for them before they get to try fruits that contain higher levels of natural sweetness.

 

I have struggled with this myself.  I have 2 children: a picky eater and a champion eater of all things healthy.  My picky eater does have some issues with texture, and I respect that, but it didn’t stop me from trying to sneak vegetables into his diet whenever I could.  I am guilty of hiding grated veggies in meatloaf and meatballs, adding pureed vegetables into spaghetti sauce and making smoothies with those half fruits, half vegetable juices.  He is 19 years old now…. Do you think he eats vegetables?  Nope.  He will, however, drink vegetable juices – so at least there’s that.

 

While sneaking vegetables into your children’s meals seems like a great idea and makes you feel better as a parent, it is not exactly encouraging them to try new things and developing their taste buds to accept new vegetables.  I think what it ultimately boils down to is presenting kids with choices and getting them involved as much as possible.

 

I know that being a parent can be a very busy time.  In my house, we meal plan for the week on Sunday, which also happens to be my grocery shopping day.  This can be super helpful to keep the family’s healthy eating on track.  I look at what is going on during the week and plan the meals around that.  That being said, here are some ideas to get your kids involved in making those healthy choices and hopefully, adding more vegetables to their diet:

 

  • Build-Your-Own Taco Bar: Here’s a great opportunity to set out some healthy options for your kids to choose from. Chop up tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, onions, avocados, etc. and put them out in bowls for them to choose from.
  • Ditch the take-out pizza and have a pizza-making party! Again, let kids choose which toppings they would like on their pizza.  You can get creative with toppings…. Sure, the traditional pepperoni and cheese, but tell them they need to try at least one vegetable topping as well.  Here are some ways that you can make pizza healthier – with some interesting veggie toppings!
  • Bowls are all the rage at my house and over social media. The more colorful fruits and vegetables you use, the more Instagram worthy they are!  Whether they are Buddha Bowls or Burrito Bowls, Power Bowls or Whole Bowls, there is an opportunity here to have kids make their own choices.  Here are some ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner bowls!
  • Finally, what kid doesn’t like pasta? Instead of the traditional pasta and tomato sauce, there are some great ways to incorporate more vegetables into this type of meal.  This resource has some interesting recipes that incorporate more veggies into the pasta experience.

 

Adding more vegetables to our diets can be challenging, but it is doable!  With a little bit of creativity and planning, your kids will be on their way to eating healthier in no time.

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