Make it a New Years resolution for healthier family meals! Here are some tips and recipes to help get kids to eat their veggies
Eating plenty of veggies is important to a healthy diet. However, getting kids to eat vegetables is often difficult. Kids that are growing especially need to get the nutrition that are in vegetables and fruits, and even little toddlers need to get plenty of veggies in their diet. It can definitely be hard to get kids to eat their vegetables. The best time to introduce newer foods is while children are younger. Once they get beyond the age of four, it can be more difficult to introduce new foods. So, if you are trying to make sure that your kids eat a healthy diet and that they get plenty of vegetables, here are some top tips to help and some ideas for adding veggies into other recipes.
Tip #1 – Eat Veggies Yourself – First of all, if you really want your kids to eat their veggies, you are going to have to make sure that you eat some veggies yourself. After all, you’ll that your kids aren’t going to want to eat something that you are not going to eat. So, when you sit down to dinner, make sure that you don’t push away the veggies or your kids are going to do the very same thing. If they see you eating the veggies, they will be more likely to eat the veggies too.
Tip #2 – Continually Expose Them to Veggies – It’s important that you keep exposing kids to vegetables if you want them to eat them. Most experts believe that in many cases kids need to have exposure to foods that are new to them several times before they want to try it. Keep eating veggies in front of them and keep putting them on their plates as well. Even if it doesn’t work the first couple times, keep on trying until it does.
Tip #3 – Get Creative in Serving the Veggies – When you are serving up the veggies to your kids, get creative with it. Make them actually look good. In many cases it’s the presentation of the food that is so important to kids. Figure out fun ways to serve vegetables, such as cutting them up in interesting shapes that kids will find exciting. They’ll be more likely to eat them if you make them fun.
Tip #4 – Remember Their Palate is Sensitive – You’ll also need to remember that the palate of children is sensitive. The taste buds in children are a lot more sensitive than the taste buds of adults. This means that vegetables that are on the bitter side may not get a great reaction from them. In most cases you’ll actually find that kids would rather eat vegetables that are nice and crunchy, rather than vegetables that are mushy and soft.
Tip #5 – Let Them Get Involved – Get kids involved when it comes to vegetables. Allow them to grow vegetables that they enjoy at home. When you go shopping, let kids pick out vegetables that they’d like to try. Even let them get involved in helping to cook some of the vegetables as well. This way they feel involved in the entire process and they’ll be more likely to at least give the vegetables a try when you serve them up.
Tip #6 – Serve the Same Meal to Everyone – When you are serving meals, make sure that you serve the same meal to everyone. Don’t decide to make something special for the child that is very picky. This only encourages them to continually be that way. If you fix healthy food for everyone, they are going to have to eat this food. Giving into them is going to cause problems in the future.
Tip #7 – Be Stealthy if You Have To – If you have to, you may need to resort to being stealthy with the vegetables. You can add vegetables to a variety of foods and usually they’ll never even know. This allows you to get some vegetables into their system, although being stealthy is not always the best option out there.
Adding Veggies Stealthily to Recipes
So, wondering how you can add veggies stealthily into your child’s diet? Well, there are many great recipes that you can begin adding vegetables to, in order to make sure that they are getting plenty of healthy veggies in their diet. Here are a few recipes that may help.
Tacos – With Veggies
Most kids love tacos. You can throw in quite a few veggies to make them healthier. Here’s how:
1 – lb ground beef
Taco seasoning (optional)
1-2 packs of taco shells
1 bag Mexican or cheddar cheese
1 can of refried beans
1 medium onion, chopped finely
2 medium tomatoes, chopped finely
Cook the ground beef until done. Add taco seasoning and follow directions on package if you want to. Warm taco shells in the oven. Build tacos, start out with refried beans in the bottom, then ground beef, cheese, onions, and tomatoes. Top with sour cream and salsa if desired. Chop green onions finely on top of the taco.
Spaghetti With Veggies
Kids enjoy eating spaghetti and usually don’t realize this dish is full of veggies. Here’s a recipe for spaghetti that will help you maximize the vegetables.
1 lb ground beef or Italian sausage
1 pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can Italian diced tomatoes
Herbs to taste (such as oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, chili powder, sage, etc.)
1 cup of grated carrots
2 large cans of tomato sauce.
Brown ground beef or Italian sausage in separate pan. Drain. In another large pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion, peppers, grated carrot, and garlic. Saute in olive oil until crisp tender. Add in can of diced tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes together. Pour in tomato sauce and then add herbs to taste. Simmer for about 1 hour and serve over pasta of choice.