Helpful advice to help encourage your children to eat veggies, information on benefits and ideas on changing their minds.

Is trying to get your kids to eat their vegetables a constant struggle?

Are you tired of chasing after them to get them to eat a piece of carrot?

Many moms have found the following ideas helpful in this never-ending battle.

Introducing two vegetables each day will feel less overwhelming for your child than putting a plate of mixed veggies in front of them. Tell your child that he/she has to taste two veggies each day for one week. Explain that they can choose how they want them cooked. And give them some ideas like steamed with butter, broiled as shish kebab, perhaps baked, or stir-fried with some honey sauce to add some sweetness. Ask your child to taste the vegetables and tell you whether he/she likes them or dislikes them and why. You need to find out what they really dislike. After all, even grownups dislike certain vegetables. After tasting them ask the child which would he/she choose to eat if a choice had to be made. Doing this for one week will give you sufficient time to test at least ten different vegetables. Keep a written log of your child’s response to each vegetable. There will be some that they like, some that they don’t necessarily like but would be willing to eat, and some that they will absolutely refuse.

During this week tell your child that he/she has to choose at least six vegetables that they’ll be willing to eat. Again, explain that you’ll prepare them the way that the child wants and that he/she can add small amounts of butter or natural flavorings. Please do not add salt to your child’s veggies, as this will start an unhealthy habit. After this week you should be able to come up with at least four vegetables that your child will agree to eat without giving you any hassle.

Now comes the tricky part, you’ll have to be sneaky, creative, resourceful, and enjoy doing it. There are many ways to get your kids to eat vegetables without them even knowing that they’re eating them. For instance, let’s suppose that you’re making Sloppy Joes for dinner. Whether you use your own recipe or use the canned type mix, you can add vegetables without any one ever noticing. Depending on the amount of servings, use two tomatoes, half a cup of green peppers, and half a cup of red peppers. Process them in a machine as fine as possible, or finely mince by hand. After browning and draining the beef, add a 1/4-cup of water and the vegetables, cook for about ten minutes. This will cook the veggies and make them very soft. Add the Sloppy Joe mix and cook a little longer. If veggies were minced extra fine your child won’t realize that anything was added.

Juicing is a very good way of getting kids to get the vitamins from the veggies that they don’t eat. If you have a juice maker use it to make vegetable juice and fruit juice. Then experiment by mixing amounts of each to come up with a taste sweet enough for your child to like. You may have to mix 3/4 fruit juice to 1/4 veggie juice, but even then one glass per day would be increasing the vegetable intake. You can also use vegetable juices mixed with fruit juices to make Jell-O. Buy the unflavored gelatine and use the juices in place of water.

When making meat loaf, some people add cereal or bread crumbs to the mix. Why not add some finely minced veggies. This works better if you pre-cook the vegetables before mixing with the beef. By adding small amount of minced veggies to everything you cook your child’s vegetable intake will be increased. You can also find good recipes in vegetarian cookbooks that will turn many vegetables into meat tasting dishes.

As your child gets older it’ll be easier for them to understand why they must eating enough vegetables. But during those years when all you get from your child during a conversation is, “nope,” “yucky,” and “no wanna,” using your creativity to disguise veggies into your cooking can pay off better than the time spent arguing and chasing after them.