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Health and Fitness News

End the Veggie Strike

Get your kids to eat more vegetables with these tricks.

Tired of telling your kids to eat their vegetables every evening? You’re not alone. Whether it’s broccoli, carrots or corn, whether they are green, orange, or yellow, many kids refuse to eat their veggies. While your kids may not want them, vegetables are a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Because of this, they play an important role in your children’s health and development.

When kids start whining, you may be tempted to skip the vegetables. After all, you may prefer eating in peace. But don’t give in! Instead, try these tips to get your kids to eat their veggies without a fuss.

Start Young

Don’t wait until your children are older to make them eat green foods. As soon as the baby starts eating solid baby foods, begin introducing vegetables. Babies may spit vegetables out repeatedly, but they’ll eventually eat them. Soon, your littles one may even grow to like them. Keep serving vegetables over and over. It often takes multiple exposures to develop a taste for certain foods.

Prepare It Differently

There are a variety of ways to prepare vegetables. Get creative and try new recipes. You can serve them as side dishes or mixed in with other foods. They’re good raw, steamed, sauteed, roasted, grilled, or stir-fried. Your child may not like mushy carrots but may like them raw or visa versa. Keep trying until you find how your child likes them.

Add Seasoning

A little seasoning can go a long way in improving the taste of vegetables. However, you don’t need much and you don’t want to detract from the healthiness of the food. So don’t overdo it. Instead, toss the veggie with olive oil and then sprinkle on a little salt or pepper, garlic powder, herbs, or spices. Experiment with different flavors to see if any are tolerated better than others.

Serve with Dips, Sauces, or Toppings

Many people, kids included, prefer the taste of veggies when paired with a dip, sauce, or topping. Offer ranch, hummus, guacamole, or low-fat salad dressing as a dip for veggies. Serve with a garlic lemon sauce, an olive oil and vinegar sauce, or a teriyaki sauce. Sprinkle some cheese on your broccoli or drizzle some honey on your carrots. This may help your child fall in love with vegetables.

Hide Them

Many vegetables are easy to puree or to chop into tiny pieces that can’t be seen. So do it! Add pureed or chopped veggies to pasta sauces, soups, or casseroles. Use zucchini or squash noodles for spaghetti or serve cauliflower rice instead of white rice. Make some zucchini bread or cupcakes. Add a few vegetables to your kids’ favorites, such as pizza, tacos, or macaroni and cheese.

Limit the Junk

Really want to win the vegetable war? Quit buying chips, granola bars, cookies, crackers, and sweet yogurts. Instead, load up on fresh fruits and vegetables and keep them on hand for snacks. When healthy foods are the only option, kids will be more likely to eat them. If you pack lunches for your children, include a veggie as a side or snack.

Get Them Involved

If your kids are a part of the meal planning and preparing, they’ll be more likely to eat the food. Next spring, get the family involved in planting a small garden. Let the kids help plant, water, tend, and harvest the produce. Then let them help with meal planning. They can choose the vegetable to serve and help prepare it. More than likely, they’ll also eat it without being forced!

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