How To Get Your Kids To Eat Their Vegetables
Everyone knows that vegetables are an important part of our health and diet. So what do you do if your toddler is a picky eater?
You may be wondering what you should do if your child refuses to eat their veggies. Well, we have a few tips on how to deal and healthy recipes you can try out!
Why Are Vegetables So Important?
Eating vegetables contribute to a healthy diet and contain various nutrients and health benefits your body needs. A few nutrients found in vegetables are potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin A. These nutrients help lower blood cholesterol, maintains healthy blood pressure, helps the body form red blood cells, protects against infections, helps the body heal wounds, and keep the eyes and skin healthy.
How Much Fruits & Vegetables Should A Child Eat?
According to the USDA, the daily recommendation for children 2-3 years old is 1 cup and children 4-8 years old is 1½ cups.
Consequences of Not Eating Vegetables
If you or your children don’t eat veggies, it can result in health problems. These issues can include nutrient deficiencies, digestive issues, risk for disease, weight gain, and a worse cardiovascular health.
How To Get Kids To Eat Healthy
So now that we know just how big of a role vegetables play into our overall health, how do you get your kids to eat them? Now if you’ve already tried many ways and are getting frustrated, you may be wondering “should I force my child to eat vegetables?” Well...the short answer to that is no. Instead, we have a few tips you can try to incorporate veggies into their diet without them knowing and tips to convince them to even eat it themselves!
An easy way to sneak in a dose of vegetables in a meal is by pureeing it! Your toddler might be put off the moment they see or recognize a cauliflower so this can help deter that. For instance, you can blend veggies into soups, spaghetti sauce, mac n cheese and pizza sauce. You can even shred them finely and add them into meatloaf and burgers.
Set A Good Example
Children usually learn and copy from their parents and siblings. So a good way to get them interested in vegetables is to eat yours too! If they see you eating veggies deliciously, they might get curious and want to partake in it. Of course don’t expect them to love it at first, but give it a few tries so their palate can get used to the taste.
Try switching up your meal plan by cooking up the vegetarian version of it! For instance, you can make a veggie burger vs a regular one. If a complete vegetarian dish isn’t possible, try adding extra veggies into dishes your toddler already loves! You can try adding colorful roasted vegetables onto their pizza as a topping or extra veggies onto their sandwich.
Make It Fun
Change up the idea of vegetables into something fun! You cut veggies into fun shapes to make them more interesting. Or you can have them build their own pizza or taco by choosing their vegetable toppings placed in colorful bowls. You can even let them try out different dips with their raw vegetables like hummus, ranch, guacamole, etc.
There’s bound to be a lot of trial and error when it comes to your toddler trying new things for the first time! Don’t give up and keep trying… you’re bound to find at least one vegetable they’ll like. You can give them different types of vegetables to try but also try going for different versions of the same veggie. For example, you can try them warm, cold, roasted, steamed, stir fried, frozen, etc.
Recipes For Toddlers Who Don’t Eat Vegetables
We have a few easy recipes that you can try making for your toddler! Not only are they healthy meals and snacks, but are also so delicious that your kids will love them!
Oatmeal Carrot Muffins
This is a healthy snack that hides the vegetables in the form of a delicious muffin! It’s a great snack in between meals to get in some vitamins and nutrients.
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 toddler size jar carrot baby food
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir by hand until combined.
- Line muffin tin with paper liners.
- Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
- Bake 16 to 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
- Tip: Allow toddlers to “frost” muffins with fat-free cream cheese, if desired.
Baked Zucchini Fries
Lightly frying foods can be a great way to introduce veggies to your little one! They’ll enjoy the texture and seasoning of it.
- One large Zucchini
- One Egg
- 1 1/2 cups of Almond Flour (finely ground)
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Lightly oil baking pan.
- Cut zucchini into spears. B
- eat the egg in a bowl and add onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Place almond flour in bowl.
- Dip spears in egg and then lightly coat in almond flour. Place spears in pan evenly.
- Bake for 20-30min or until desired.
Cheesy Broccoli Mac & Cheese Bites
This recipe is a great way to incorporate veggies into the classic mac & cheese! If your little one already loves the dish, try this recipe out.
- 1 box mac & cheese dinner 7.25 oz
- 1 egg
- 1 cup steamed broccoli florets finely chopped
- ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large pot, prepare mac and cheese per directions on the box. When done, set aside.
- Steam 1 cup of broccoli florets until tender. Place in a chopper or food processor until broccoli is finely chopped. Be sure not to over-process broccoli.
- Add broccoli, cheese, flour, and milk to mac and cheese and combine. Add onion powder, salt/pepper to taste.
- In a small bowl, whisk one egg and add it to mac and cheese mixture. Be sure that egg is thoroughly combined.
- Grease a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray, and spoon mixture into muffin cups.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Broil on high for 2 minutes.
- Let cool on a wire baking rack, and enjoy!
Taco Pita Pizza
Switch up your normal taco or pizza meal with a taco pita pizza. Not only is it healthier, but it incorporates lots of veggies. Make it more fun by letting your toddler pick out their own veggie toppings too!
- 4 pocket-less pitas
- 1 pound 93% lean ground beef
- 2/3 cup salsa
- 1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1 roma tomato, diced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- Additional toppings: Cilantro, Salsa, Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pitas directly on to oven rack and heat for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and keep warm by wrapping in aluminum foil.
- Meanwhile, cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until cooked through and no longer pink. Drain any grease. Return skillet to heat and add in 2/3 cup salsa and cook for 2 minutes.
- Prepare the taco pita pizzas by placing a pita on a plate and topping with the cooked ground beef, shredded cheese, diced onion, diced tomato, avocado, and additional toppings as desired.
Parmesan Breaded Veggies
Elevate your normal cooking method of stir fried or roasted veggies with this recipe. With the addition of cheese and extra crunch, your toddler will definitely love it!
- 3/4 cup Panko
- 4 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 eggs slightly beaten
- 2 T milk
- 1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine first 4 ingredients in a Ziploc bag, set aside. In a separate bowl mix milk and beaten egg.
- Add chopped vegetables into the bowl, toss with milk and egg mixture until well coated.
- Pour vegetables into Ziploc bag, seal it shut (important).
- Shake bag until veggies are well coated.
- Spread vegetables out onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees, stirring once about half way through.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Tomato Ladybugs on Spinach Leaves
Make vegetables fun and interesting for your picky eaters! They’ll love these cute tomato ladybugs during snack time!
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 6 black olives, sliced
- 12 leaves fresh spinach
- 1 Tbs balsamic glaze
- Slice your tomato to create the wings.
- Add a sliced black olive for the head of the ladybug then place it on top of a spinach leaf.
- Create black dots by using a small drop of balsamic glaze on the tomato. Serve chilled and enjoy!
Getting your little ones used to eating veggies can be a challenge, but we hope we can make the process less stressful with these tips, tricks, and recipes. Just remember that this is a phase and hard work will be worth it! Don’t give up!
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