There’s a lot of talk about stealth vegetables these days, the practice of sneaking vegetables into children’s food without their knowledge. While there’s nothing wrong with that method, especially for very finicky kids, there are some ways to get them to eat their veggies willingly.
Not all kids are going to love all vegetables. Just like adults, they have different preferences and tastes. The key is not to force anything on them. Introduce as many different vegetables to them as possible in as many creative ways as you can and then let them decide.
Here are a few ideas. If they still refuse to eat their veggies, you can always go back into stealth mode.
Grow Your Own
Create a small vegetable garden and have your kids help with the entire growing process. They’ll learn a lot and instead of wincing at the strange vegetables on their plates, they’ll have a sense of pride and accomplishment in having taken part in their creation.
Shape Things Up
Take a spiral slicer or carrot peeler and make “noodles” out of zucchini. This makes a healthy pasta that you can top with any kind of sauce.
Give Them Spring Fever
When making pasta, add veggies like broccoli, onions, bell pepper, carrots, and mushrooms to the tomato sauce. This homemade Pasta Primavera (‘Springtime Pasta’) is always a favorite with kids and adults alike.
Turn vegetables into a party food. Make a platter of carrot sticks, celery sticks, radishes, and other dippable vegetables and serve them with two or three healthy dips. Let the kids help in preparing the dips and in laying the vegetables out on the platter.
To Market, to Market
Take the kids along to the local farmer’s market to experience the sights, sounds, and scents of something other than a supermarket. Let them pick out their own produce so they’re included in the decision-making.
Lead by Example
Parents who grimace when eating their broccoli will train their kids to do the same. Show enthusiasm for the colorful vegetables on your plate and they’ll be inclined to do the same.
The Name Game
Come up with original ways to present vegetables and give the dishes fun names. Instead of, “Eat your broccoli!” it might be, “It’s time for Broccoli Blitzes!”