5 Tips for Getting Kids to Love Their Veggies

Learn, Tips & Techniques

This post comes courtesy of Sarah Matheny, blogger at Peas and Thank You.

It’s not easy to get your kids to eat well. You show me a kid who likes vegetables, and I’ll show you . . .  my kids.

 

Yes, my kids eat vegetables. Willingly. Without being paid, threatened or tricked into it.

 

Before you decide that I am either a pathological liar or a witch doing some kind of vegetable voodoo, read these tried-and-true techniques that I use to get my kids excited about their greens:

 

Give the freedom of choice. You may not always trust your kids to pick out something suitable to wear to Sunday school. The one time I did we ended up taking communion in a bikini. But one thing your kids can do is take a trip to the produce department and pick a new fruit or vegetable they’d like to try. Your power-hungry kiddo will be excited to choose whatever they want, and even more excited that the rule is, everyone in your family has to try it. It may even be a veggie you don’t particularly like, but be a team player.

 

Make them your sous chef. Involvement is key. Your kids will love helping to make their meals. Offer build-your-own pizzas, stir-fries and burritos. Arrange an assortment of veggies in small bowls and let them get creative. You might be surprised at what your kids will try.

 

It’s all-you-can eat. In our house, we don’t snack all day long on cookies and chips. If the kids are hungry between meals, though, they know they can always help themselves to carrot sticks, celery and apples. And they do.

 

Sauce it up. Find a healthy sauce that your kids love and let them use it liberally.  Be it a dip like hummus or a delicious dressing like our Peanut Mmmm Sauce, dip, drizzle and mix it in and your kids will be eating veggies you never dreamed of.

 

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Kids’ tastes are constantly developing and as a parent, it’s your job to help them navigate the wide variety of healthy, nutritious foods available to them.  Don’t give up after the first try.  When your kid asks for broccoli at 9 a.m., as mine did just this week, you’ll see your efforts pay off.  And trust me, that is delicious.

 

 

Peanut Mmmm Sauce


1/2 cup light coconut milk

1/2 cup fire-roasted tomatoes in juice (i.e., Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes)

1/4 cup natural peanut butter

3 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

2 tsp. minced fresh ginger

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 Tbs. agave or maple syrup or 1 packet of stevia

Sriracha, to taste (optional)

 

In a food processor or blender, combine the coconut milk, tomatoes, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, garlic, sweetener and sriracha and blend until smooth. Serve over salads, noodles, stir-fries and anything else your kids want! Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

 

By Sarah Matheny, blogger at peasandthankyou.com and author of the newly released cookbook Peas and Thank You: Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love.

6 comments about “5 Tips for Getting Kids to Love Their Veggies

  1. Lisa

    I love these tips–eventhough I don’t have any of my own kids, I am a teacher and would like to share these tips with my students’ parents in a back to school classroom newsletter. By the way, my Peas and Thank You cookbook comes in the mail today and I’m so excited about it!! Sarah has truly made veggie meals fun and yummy by being creative and introducing new ingredients to her readers.

    Reply
  2. Samantha

    Great tips. Once I discovered that my kids like to dip things into sauce then that made it all the more easier to get them to eat veggies. It turns out they love hummus and will gladly grab a carrot stick and the bowl of hummus out of the fridge.

    Reply
  3. Laura Martin Bacon

    It’s so refreshing to hear from a grown-up who doesn’t have to use veggie voodoo to inspire healthy eating! However, these tips are pure magic — especially Sarah’s enchanting Mmmm sauce. When it comes to picky little veggie-phobes, a savory-sweet elixir like this one can make all the difference between “yuck” and “YUM”!

    Reply
  4. Sarah Matheny (aka Mama Pea)

    Lisa–I’m glad you are so excited about the book! Hope you can spread the veggie love to your students as well.

    Samantha–what is your kids’ favorite kind of hummus? My girls love it too!

    Laura–I don’t believe in hiding veggies. That just turns kids into grownups who think they don’t like veggies. I’m please you are an Mmmm fan too!

    Reply
  5. Ellie@fitforthesoul

    It IS amazing how kids don’t have to be forced to eat well and in a wholesome manner! MP definitely has inspired me and given me ideas for when I have my own children!! :D

    Reply
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