It is hard enough to get kids to eat, let alone eat their fruits and vegetables. This struggle is one I know all too well as my 4-year-old son Sam a very picky eater. He doesn't eat a lot, so when he does eat, I want his food choices to be nutritious.
So I've come up with a few ways to get more fruits and vegetables into both of my boys.
1. Hide Vegetables in Your Baking.
Sometimes I will mix vegetables into my baking to try to get my children to eat more of them. I make a delicious carrot zucchini chocolate chip muffin recipe
that my children love so much they don't even care that they can see pieces of zucchini and carrots (Win!).
2. Puree Vegetables Into Sauces.
3. Serve juices that have veggies blended into them.
My kids ALWAYS prefer to drink juice over water—what kid doesn't? I don’t usually like to give them juice on a regular basis because of the sugar content. However, I do like giving them Tropicana Farmstand juices because they have no added sugar, they contain vitamins, and they have one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables per 250ml.
My kids love these juices because they taste great (one son prefers the peach mango and the other likes the pomegranate blueberry!). Knowing that they contain fruits and vegetables is definitely a huge deal and it makes me happy (and less stressed!).
If the kids did not drink the juices on a particular day, another way I like them to enjoy one daily serving of the juice is by freezing them into popsicles.
4. Present the fuits and veggies in a fun way.
I try to make fruit and veggie snacks look appetizing. Carrots, cucumber and celery cut into thin slices are great ways to make veggies look different and get the kids to eat them. This strategy also works with fruits. Cutting apples and nectarines into many thin slices so they are easier to eat rather than serving big pieces works well for us. I cut grapes in half to make them safer and look more tasty. Peeled oranges segmented and cut in half and cherries cut in half are also options. If your child is hungry and ends up eating their “healthy and interesting-looking” snack they will soon learn that fruit and vegetables can be delicious.
5. Continue To Introduce Vegetables On Your Children's Plates.
In a recent survey, 42% of moms said that their kids eventually started eating more veggies as they got older. This gives me hope. My older son becomes more adventurous with his eating each year which makes me optimistic that my younger one may not eat like this forever—he is only 4. Until then, I will continue to introduce and reintroduce fruits and vegetables on his plate at each meal so he has the option.
I try not to stress too much over each day, I focus on larger periods of time. I always let him know how important it is to eat fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy lifestyle. There are many reasons why children say they don't like to eat veggies—here are a few of those reasons.
Whether your children are picky eaters like my son Sam, or adventurous eaters like my older son, keep introducing and trying to get more fruits and vegetables into their diet...they may surprise you one day!