How to turn that veggie frown upside down!
Our kids ate a lot of vegetables as toddlers. Then like all kids they started digging their heels in. Here are some tips that got them to eat veggies again without the dreaded dinner time frown. I got a lot of these from the experts and I can tell you that they 100% work.
1. I get them to choose a few vegetables from the fridge for dinner. I tell them that they don’t have to eat them all just taste a few. I find that involving them in the process seems to condition them a little that the broccolini was their idea not mine so they aren’t as resistant.
2. At the supermarket I get them to choose some new weird and wonderful vegetables we can try. You’d be surprised how big a hit the good old radish was. Likewise celery is a crowd favourite.
3. I don’t let them snack for a good 90 minutes before their dinner meal. This includes afternoon tea or fruit. They arrive at the table hungry. Like yelling “where is dinner” hungry. A hungry child will always eat.
4. I get them to chop up the veggies. All kids love being let loose with a kitchen knife. I eat those weird hacked veggies with pride alongside them.
5. They can choose if they want them cooked or raw. Mine really do prefer raw. Bonus .. raw is healthier.
6. They arrange them on their plate themselves and I put the plate in front of them at the table whilst I’m cooking the rest of the meal.
7. You’d be surprised how many pieces of vegetables they eat without realising it as they are talking to me about their day. See tip number 3 – a hungry child will always eat.
8. The rest of the meal is getting smaller so that the veggies on the plate are eaten. No more filling up the plate with rice or pasta. A little spoon of carbs alongside their protein and we’re good. No competition for the veggies anymore.
9. They don’t get yelled at anymore for not eating their veggies. I just ask them to try a few at each dinner. This has removed the angst ten fold from our dinner times. Likewise there is no dessert or treats for eating veggies. It’s just expected. we’re not labeling veggies the baddie.
10. Every day a few more get eaten. You really do have to keep presenting vegetables to kids over and over before they will start to eat them. It can take 10-12 attempts for them to eat one little piece of broccoli. If they want to dunk their veggies in tomato sauce then so be it. It really is better than nothing.
Finally – I constantly tell them that they are growing/ running faster/ looking stronger and it MUST be all those vegetables they are eating..
In addition to presenting chopped vegetables at meal time it’s always a great idea to include vegetables in as many meals as possible. Kids rarely meet their daily recommended serves when it comes to vegetables, especially if they’re just starting to welcome them onto their plate. Check out https://nourishe.com.au/sneaky-vegetable-recipes-for-kids/ for some great recipes for kids with hidden vegetables perfect for picky eaters.