How To Get Kids To Eat Vegetables

"Eat your vegetables!" appears to be age-old advice. But, what do you do if your child refuses to eat vegetables?


Are vegetables a cause of tension between you and your children at the dinner table?


Are you trying to develop new ways to serve vegetables to your children that they would eat? Do you worry that your child's health will suffer due to their lack of vegetable consumption?


First, let us assure you that you are not alone. Most importantly, you are not a bad mother if your child refuses to eat vegetables.


Vegetables and children can be a complex mix. As mothers, we assume that if we can convince our children to eat their vegetables, they will be happier and healthier. So, vegetables can be challenging for children to consume and appreciate.


So, what is a mother to do? Here are some ways to help you change your veggie hater into a veggie-lover without a knockdown-dragout battle of the broccoli. But first, here are some facts.


Why Kids Don't Like Vegetables


Sweet, salty, savory, sour, and bitter are the five flavors we detect in foods. The most common flavors are sweet and salty, and savoriness denotes good taste. Some people enjoy sour flavors. But only in the form of sugar-sweetened lemonade or sour candies.


Most people dislike bitter meals, and there is a valid explanation. The sour and bitter aromas warn us about potentially hazardous or unhealthy items.


Although vegetables are incredibly healthful, they do include a bitter component. The plant could produce a low quantity of toxins to prevent animals. Or a bitterness camouflage from fooling an animal into thinking the plant is toxic.


Kids dislike bitter flavors because they have more sensitive taste buds than adults. It protects their more fragile digestive systems. It's not surprising that children refuse to eat their vegetables.


Do Kids Need Vegetables to be Healthy?


While you follow steps in keeping your kids healthy, nothing can beat the vitamins, minerals, and fiber in fruits and vegetables. Instead of sugary snacks and fast food, we should encourage our kids to consume various fruits and vegetables. There is a rainbow of colors to pick from, giving a rich supply of antioxidants.


Your child may stay active and strong by eating fruits and veggies every day. As they become older, the quantity they need increases, and you can use the USDA recommendations as a reference.


The good news is that once you understand why you or your children dislike veggies, you can use that knowledge to make them more flavorful.


Here are some simple strategies to lessen the bitterness of veggies and, perhaps, end your battle with them.

1. Match the veggies with their favorite food and flavor.

When it comes to new meal introductions, consistency is key. Focus on matching your child's taste preferences because they are more likely to consume a vegetable that tastes familiar. You can do this by using a dip, seasoning, or sauce. Cooking can alter the flavor. Roasting, for example, tends to make veggies taste sweeter.


Serving vegetables with dishes that your child is already familiar with will encourage them to try new things. Having too many new or unusual foods might be daunting for a child. Keep this in mind while planning meals for your family. A neutral food component combined with something a bit more challenging to consume can make it easier for your child to eat.

2. Be creative.

Vegetables don't have to be tasteless or bland. Take an alternative method to serve and prepare veggies if your kids have trouble eating them. You can use seasonings, herbs, and spices. Cook your vegetables in real butter or with bacon or pancetta. Make a delicious salad by tossing in some dried fruit and nuts. Allow your children to dunk them in their favorite dips, roast them, or incorporate them into other cuisines. Serve your child something you like and something you would enjoy as well.


Try all these fruit and vegetable preparation methods:


  • Roasted


  • Pureed


  • Cut crinkle


  • Breaded


  • Bite-size pieces, coins, or strips


  • Grated


  • Soup


  • Fritters are fritters.


  • Raw


  • Steamed


  • Sautéed


  • Served with cheese


  • Noodle soup


3. Get your kids involved in the kitchen.

Now is the perfect time to simulate those play kitchen sets. Hands-on activities have also encouraged kids to consume more vegetables. When a child takes part in the planning and preparing a meal, it may help them develop healthier eating habits. Allow your kids to assist in preparing vegetables and participating in the kitchen. Cooking encourages children to eat.

4. Serve vegetables as snacks.

Every lunch, snack, and dinner should include fruits and vegetables. Vegetables can take center stage in a meal or serve as a side dish. Keep in mind the final goal: you want your child to have a healthy interest in various foods and have meals with them. Fighting over broccoli or forcing your child to take one bite isn't fun. And that one bite isn't likely to provide much health benefit.

5. Use brightly colored serving dishes and attractive shapes.

Other aspects of a meal, rather than the vegetable itself, can sometimes impact a child's inclination to eat vegetables. If your child objects to sliced vegetables, try chopping them into stars, hearts, or other shapes. You can use a knife or buy fruit and vegetable cutters to make these shapes.


Serve veggies in brightly colored bowls or plates when serving them with a meal.


Another fun method to serve vegetables is to freeze them in popsicle molds.

6. Lead by example.

Finally, children learn by example, so you may need to concentrate on your dietary habits to have a healthy child. Examine your eating habits and your relationship with food lovingly and kindly.


Your child picks up on your eating habits. So, the most excellent approach is for them to witness you eating and enjoying them. Family meals are an excellent opportunity to teach your child about healthy eating habits, including the use of veggies. If your child sees you and her siblings eating vegetables, they will most likely want to do the same.

The Bottom Line

Getting a child to eat their veggies is challenging. But you can avoid eating veggies to become a battleground. These ways could end the dinner table brawls and turn your home into a haven of peace and joy.