Hands up if you’re fighting a constant battle to get your kids to eat their vegetables? Most parents feel like this is a fight that you’re always destined to lose but with a few tricks, you can start to make greens seem a much more exciting prospect.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Not necessarily! Here are 4 ways to make eating greens a whole lot more fun and appetizing for kids! I used these tricks on our kids (when they were little) and it worked a treat.
Get them involved in food preparation
Kids will often be a lot more interested in their food if they’re involved in preparing it. This can start with helping you to choose the right ingredients and working out what to make with them. Try taking them with you when you go food shopping and introduce them to the various greens that might end up on their plate to pique their interest.
Letting them have their say in what’s going to be dished up can mean that they’re more enthusiastic about what they’re eating, especially if you can bring them round to the idea that greens are something to be enjoyed and not hated.
Most kids will feel a lot more positive about the food they’re eating if they have been involved in its journey onto their plate, especially if you also try out some of the other tricks for learning to love their greens.
If you have the outside space, you can even take things up a notch by actually growing your own veggies in a mini veggie garden so that your little ones can see their food coming to life. Nurturing veggies and helping them to make it onto your family’s plates can be really powerful for changing how they see their greens
Make vegetables part of every meal
Instead of serving plain vegetables as a side dish and hoping that it will be well received, try mixing veggies into meals whenever possible. Most kids will never embrace the idea of plain veg and let’s face it, it’s hardly the most appetizing prospect!
One way to make greens more a staple in your family’s life is to make them a key part of as many meals as you can get away with. Stir fries, casseroles, soups and pasta dishes are all perfect for this but if you get really creative, you can even find ways to add greens to kid friendly foods such as pizza (here’s the secret – blend up some spinach and spread it on a pizza base before you load it up with tomato!).
If kids can get used to the idea that veggies are an important part of a meal that they enjoy eating, it can make them a lot more open to eating them. Sauces are an easy way to disguise the true taste of greens such as broccoli. Whip up a cheese based sauce and you may find that you get a lot less resistance!
Make the benefits more interesting
Tapping into your family’s pain points can make greens more appealing. Just saying “it’s healthy” and leaving it at that probably won’t be too effective. Most of us thought we were untouchable in our younger days and your kids may well think the same. But telling them that eating their greens could help them to get stronger or give them super shiny hair could do the trick.
It’s all about working out what your kids might wish they could achieve and persuading them that eating their greens is a great way to get there. All of a sudden, greens will now seem like something really cool that can be their friend and not the enemy.
Sneak them in
If you still don’t get anywhere with making them seem more appealing, you may need to get really sneaky and challenge yourself to find creative ways to hide them in meals!
There’s a lot you can do to sneak them into meals that you might not think they could have any place in. Using spinach as an extra healthy pizza sauce is just one example and you can also blend greens into tomato sauces in general and add to lasagna or spaghetti bolognese, for example. And think of it this way: eating their greens is always going to be fun if they don’t even know that they’re there!