Wednesday, July 27, 2011

10 Tips and Tricks to Get Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables #peasandthankyou

Ahh... eating vegetables. When my daughter started to eat solid food I made a vow to myself that I would provide healthy foods for my daughter. I wouldn't be the house that was filled with cookies and potato chips. My daughter would enjoy broccoli, asparagus, peas, carrots, corn... you name it! I was going to start off right from the start by introducing her to a variety of healthy options.

Well, my daughter had other ideas. In fact, her idea was that she wasn't going to TOUCH a vegetable. Nope, not one. She would spit them out, eat around them, throw them on the floor. Whatever it took to get away with not eating them that's what she would do. So I had to get a little creative to make sure she was getting vegetables into her diet.

Here are some of my tips and tricks for getting my daughter to eat more vegetables:
1. Pouches - Plum Tots makes these veggie pouches that are basically pureed vegetable in a squeezable pouch. They are easy, quick, and so convenient on the go. And here's the best part... my daughter loves them! She can eat them independently and they are all organic and healthy.

2. Mix them in - Yup... hide them. Hide cauliflower in mashed potatoes. Hide carrots in mac and cheese. Make pasta sauce with peppers and mushrooms in them. If they are unrecognizable my daughter will usually eat them.

3. It's all in the juice - I avoided juice for as long as I could. I made it almost two full years with my daughter never tasting a sip. Then my mom ruined it for me by giving her juice at her house. Now it's what she asks for everyday. So once a day she can have some juice. Why not kill two birds with one stone and get the kind that hides the veggies right in there? My daughter doesn't even seem to notice that it tastes different!

4. Make it fun - Let your kids build things or create things with their veggies. Cucumber slices are great for stacking.

5. Let them help - Involve your kids in the food making process and they will probably be more interested in eating what you make. My daughter gets so excited to help me in the kitchen and then she's proud of what she made. She can't wait to show Dadda her yummy dish... but she has to taste it first!

6. Shop till you drop - Let your child pick out what he/she wants. Maybe you're offering something they don't like. Maybe they will be more willing to try something they picked. It's also really fun to shop with your little one when they are involved. They tend to stay more interested and thus happier!

7. Mix it up - Pick some fun and yummy sauces to go with your vegetables. Dipping things always makes them more fun and adds some flavor! I know I prefer my veggies with a ranch sauce, so maybe your kids will too!

8. Cook it up - Sometimes food tastes different when it's served hot or served with something else. My daughter eats broccoli when it's mixed with pasta, but she won't come within 10 feet if it's just raw sitting on her plate.

9. Lead by example - Don't expect your kid to eat veggies while you chow down on pizza. Eat what they're eating and let them know how yummy it is! My daughter loves to share, so we make a sharing game and mommy eats one and she eats one.

10. If at first you don't succeed - These words of wisdom are straight from my pediatrician. I was totally discouraged when my daughter wasn't getting enough veggies. He told me to keep offering. Keep them in front of her. Give several choices. It could take quite a few times before she will even taste it, but one she might and she might even like it and want it again!!

Getting your kids to eat vegetables can be tough. But getting creative, looking for great products, and being persistent will help on this journey. If you have any tips on how you get your kids to eat their veggies let me know! I am always looking for new ideas, recipes, tricks, and treats to make the most of meal time!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Peas and Thank You blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.