The veggie struggle is real. I have two young kids and I’ve been through it more times than I care to count.
One of my kids has no problem trying new foods. She’ll always take a bite without a fuss, but if she tastes something she doesn’t like, such as broccoli, asparagus (or anything green) she’ll yell “eww!” and push her plate away.
My other daughter won’t even go that far. If anything even looks or smells remotely different from her usual chicken nuggets and noodles, she’ll refuse it. If I try to lay down the law and force her to eat it, she’ll scream and throw a fit.
After a few years of waterworks and meltdowns at dinner, I just quit trying.
Because of this, I’ve had to get creative with how I sneak veggies into their diets, and I have to say, I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
Here are the 5 ways to get your kids to eat more veggies (without them having a clue…)
#1: Introduce your baby to veggies ASAP!
During pregnancy and nursing, eating a variety of fresh veggies and fruits is very beneficial! After all, your baby only eats what you eat during these early stages of development. If your diet is full of leafy greens, fresh fruits, and all that good stuff, chances are your baby will enjoy the good stuff later in life as well!
#2 Make (superfood) Smoothies with Fun Names!
Peanut Butter Blast, Chocolate Cherry Pie, Unicorns and Rainbows, Banana Split… these are just some of the names I’ve given our smoothies and my kids go nuts for it.
If I REALLY want to take it home, I’ll add a paper straw with a funky pattern to jazz it up even more. I’m telling you, this never fails.
What they don’t know is there’s usually handfuls of spinach, berries, hemp seeds, frozen kale, fish oil, greens powder and almond butter hidden inside. (Muaha!)
Just be careful, adding too many veggies and extras into the same smoothie can make it turn into sludge really fast. Here’s a cheat sheet for the perfect kid-proof smoothie.
Choose your base. (I prefer non-dairy milk like almond, soy, coconut or oat, since they seem to have a slightly better consistency and separate less after blending.)
Choose a ripe banana plus an extra fruit.
(Note: Berries are lower in sugar than tropical fruits)
- Choose a veggie.
Choose an optional add-in to add more protein, fiber, or healthy fats.
(hemp seeds, fish oil, avocado, almond butter, chia seeds, greek yogurt etc.)
- Blend the smoothie really well to ensure that it has a very creamy texture.
- Add a scoop of vanilla-flavored greens powder or vanilla stevia drops for extra sweetness without sugar!
Serve it in a reusable pouch, a small open cup, or in a sippy cup depending on what your kid likes best.
* If your kid is SUPER picky and doesn’t fall for this, try freezing the smoothie into popsicles! :)
#3: Let your kids help with food shopping and growing!
Kids are much more likely to try new foods when they feel they’ve had a hand in shopping for it, growing it or preparing it in the kitchen! So next time you’re thinking about what to make for dinner, invite them to help you out!
#4: Reinvent their favorite foods in surprising new ways!
Try cooking something that your kids already know and love but with a healthy twist! My kids love Spaghetti squash, Build-your-own tacos and Herbed chicken “nuggets”... Try them out!
Herbed chicken nuggets
What they don’t know is that these recipes are totally nutritious and good for their bodies and minds!
If you make food that looks and sounds pretty close to what they like, there is a much greater chance they’ll give it a try!