I have to start this off by telling you I was never made to eat anything that I said I didn't like. Unfortunately for my children, their mom is not like that. So here are 10 tips to help you encourage your children to eat more veggies.
1. First of all, we have a rule in the home, that they have to at least try any veggie (or other food) that is new. Or even if they did not like it before, they must try it again as tastes change. They are only required to eat a teaspoon sized helping. Having that ground rule in place from the beginning, they know that even if they don't care for it, they will only have to eat a very small portion.
2. I let them help find recipes that include the new veggie. Perhaps a soup, or casserole, that will at least hide the new veggie. Or a recipe that includes something that they really like, so the new vegetable will not be a big deal. It would amaze you what they can come up with! Also by seeing the different uses for the vegetable in the recipes, sometimes they actually become excited about trying it! Also if they have chosen the recipe themselves it encourages them, and they in turn encourage their siblings.
3. I let them help me shop and pick out vegetables. They are allowed to choose some that they like along with the new vegetable we are going to try. Occasionally it is a fresh veggie and other times it is frozen.
4. Many times we will set out a tray of veggies with their favorite dips to try. I have one child that will eat anything if she can dip it in ranch dressing! And I mean anything! By setting out a couple of different dips, they can experiment and see which flavor they like best.
5. I have tried hiding the veggies in a meal we are cooking. Like the afore mentioned soups, stew, and casseroles. Sometimes this works, and they don't even realize that they are trying something new. I have a few who at the mention of onion or green pepper make faces, yet they don't notice them in their chili or pasta sauce.
6. I also believe having a variety of veggies help. the more they are exposed to, the more willing they will be to sample new products. Make sure you do not fall into a rut when cooking and making meals.
7. Start early introducing them to different types of veggies (and other foods). If you start out right, you often won't end up with a fight on your hands.
8. Make sure they know you are willing to try new foods. If daddy won't eat his veggies, most likely the children will not either.
9. Let them get creative with their food. Give them some of the veggies and a dip, or cottage cheese, and let them design and dip before eating. Broccoli can become trees, raisins can be eyes or ants, get creative with them.
10. Another idea would be to set a certain night to try new foods. Then everyone knows that you will be trying a new veggie or recipe all at the same time. Make sure that some are new to you too. You might be surprised how that will encourage your children to try something new if mom and dad are.
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Peas and Thank You blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here