I think it’s safe to say that most of us want our kids to eat veggies. Getting them to willingly do so, however, is a complicated and challenging process that can take years to accomplish.
Here’s what I know about kids and veggies:
- Getting kids to eat veggies is usually easy at first (4-6month olds eat everything!) but gets harder as they get older.
- Start early and stick to your guns. It might take years to have a willing veggie eater. Offer them at every lunch and dinner. Make it a normal part of the routine that they are expected to eat some veggies whenever offered.
- There will be set backs a long the way, like when they start school and see what their friends are eating.
- Some kids put up more of a fight than others. If you have a fighter, you will have to pick your battles.
We knew from the beginning that we wanted our kids to eat healthy. We did not want to prepare extra meals to accommodate multiple picky eaters. One meal per night is all I can manage. What I didn’t know was how hard it would be to stick to our guns. Some nights they eat fists full of green beans. Other nights, they act like it’s torture. My oldest is 7 and while he is the easiest to please, he still has his moments.
Purely by accident, I have discovered a great way to get my kids to eat tons of veggies. Through “build your own” dinner options, I have watched them pile on the veggies. I started with a noodle bowl and was amazed as the purple cabbage disappeared, then the carrots, then the bok choy. I actually had to ask them to save some for the adults.
I’m sharing these recipes with you in the hopes that your kids will like to build their own meals as much as mine. It’s worth a shot, right?
Here are three different options chocked full of veggies. I allow my kids to build these however they would like. The only catch is that they have to put a little bit of everything into their dish.
Ingredients – Substitute any veggies or meats you like!
- Rice – I used white rice and added a can of fire roasted tomatoes
- Shredded lettuce
- Sauteed onions and red peppers (seasoned with mild taco sauce)
- Black beans
- Soft tacos
- Sourcream, salsa and avocado would also be yummy!
French Bread Pizzas
Ingredients – Substitute anything you like!
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Chopped fresh spinach
- Cherry tomatoes
- Black olives
- Sauteed squash, zucchini and onions
- Marinara and/or Pesto Sauce
- French bread loaf
Even the littlest bit built her own pizza. Yes, she has black marker all over her face and yes, she found it AFTER bath time.
- Chopped purple cabbage (everyone loved this, I think it was the color)
- Shredded carrots
- Sauteed shiitake mushrooms with shallots and ginger
- Green onions
- Sauteed bok choy
- Poached eggs
- Serve over noodles – I prefer soba or ramen.
- Make a light broth in the same pan as the sauteed mushrooms with broth (I prefer chicken), ginger and garlic. Pour this pour this over the noodles, then let your kids pile on the veggies.
Remember mama, this parenting gig is no joke. We are all doing our best. While I think it’s important to take care of our bodies, our souls and those of our little ones come first.
I hope these options work for you but if they don’t, hang in there. Keep trying different things. Don’t give up.