Ever wonder, “How do you get kids to eat vegetables?!”
It’s such a tricky question. My kids are both different types of eaters. One will eat everything (until recently!) and my other child is very particular, but will eat A LOT! Since I shared some ways to help kids listen, I thought I’d share some playful strategies to get kids to eat their vegetables and my #1 tip for making it all easier….but, I’ll save that one until the end!
Since I was a preschooler teacher, I really focus on strategies that are great for 3-5 year olds. But, I think #4-7 is important for all ages!!
7 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables
1. Colors Game
Play a game by choosing a color that everyone will eat. Let your preschooler choose the first color and count together: 1…2…3…EAT!
2. Eat Like an Animal
No, I don’t mean you need to ditch the utensils! Choose your child’s favorite character or animal and eat like they would eat. Do they love sharks? Ask them what it would look like if a shark took a bite. Make sure to check the teeth marks in the food…does it really look like a shark?!
3. Make a Dip Bar
Put Marinara sauce, ranch, Parmesan cheese, and other favorite sauces in little cups. Try dipping veggies in the sauces. Which is your favorite?!
4. Raw, Roasted, or Steamed??
This was a hit in our house. Try offering the same veggie cooked different ways. We choose raw, roasted, and steamed broccoli. We all voted roasted as our favorite method!
Tip: try to season the veggies the same way. It could sway the winner if the veggies are seasoned differently!
5. Cut Them Up
Do you always cut veggies the same way? If your kids are texture eaters like me and my son, they may be particular about how their veggies are cut. Try long strips (julienne), rounds, mashed, or whole – try different ways.
6. Put it on the Plate
Whether Preschoolers eat them or not, just put the veggies on their plate. Look away and let them have a chance to feed themselves. You might just be surprised, or it may take a week, but preschoolers LOVE to do things on their own.
Note: Whenever my kids say, “Ew…I don’t want to eat that!!” I always respond, “GREAT, more for me” and reach to eat them. Sometimes they will eat it in protest and other times they won’t, but regardless, it gives me a chance to show them how much I LOVE eating veggies.
7. Make it Cute
Try filling a cooking cutter with mashed potatoes and mashed broccoli or making this great vegetable tree. Whatever you choose, remember that food is a visual experience first, even for preschoolers!!
And…my number one tip for making it all easier…
Enjoy eating vegetables.
That’s right. I just told you all of these ways to get kids to eat vegetables, and now I’m saying YOU need to eat them!
I hope not. What I really mean is that you’re the biggest role model for your kids. You might be surprised that when you focus on eating vegetables everyday yourself (but, keep putting it on kid’s plates – remember #6?!), that your kids will start eating veggies, too.
Kids are ALWAYS watching us – it’s the hardest and best tool we have as parents!!
Now, go get some broccoli and LOVE it!! 🙂
Note: if you’re super concerned that your child isn’t eating any foods, be sure to talk to your child’s Doctor.
Did you try these tips? Hop on over to our Facebook page to share what worked!