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Making your children eat vegetables can be an absolute nightmare. I don’t blame them, honestly because vegetables, by themselves, just cannot compare to meats, cheeses, and potato chips. But you cannot help but care for their tiny little bodies and will do anything to make them eat some greens so you can get a peaceful sleep at night!
I am no super mom and I really don’t think I’ve taken up a task as daunting as making these little tykes enjoy veggies! But as a mom, you have to be a little creative and a little devious. Children will never fall for the “it’s good for you” nag and forcing them will push them further away.
So I decided to devise a list of handy tricks which I and all my other mommy friends make use of when feeding the little ones.
#1. Reward Them
Parents believe that bribing is essential for getting kids to do what they want, but it is a wrong approach. You can offer rewards to your kids for eating veggies. You could allow them to eat some extra candy one day, maybe offer dessert another day, or allow them to spend more time on their tablets.
You can even establish a reward system. Like, your kids can collect points for every time they eat veggies and when they get to a certain number, they can have something they have set their eyes on. This could be a video game, a toy, anything!
#2. Make Vegetables More Fun
We have to admit that vegetables alone are painfully boring. I have trouble eating veggies alone as an adult so I can only feel for the kids. But you have to be really creative; you shouldn’t just offer them plain-old broccoli and call it “fun broccoli” and make them eat it.
You can try cutting them up in various fun shapes and making scenes like a park, where the broccoli is the trees, you can cut small flowers out of carrots, tomatoes, and beets. You can make use of all the amazing colors veggies have and make a rainbow plate. Have them play around with their food while they eat! (See also: How To Get Your Children Eating Healthily)
#3. Hide them in their Favorite Meals
This is one of the methods that mothers deploy when nothing else seems to work out. I personally do this every once in a while to keep the mystery without boring them. For example, you can make fried chicken and stuff some deep-fried vegetables in it. They will not be able to figure out the taste and they might actually start liking it. You can make home-made nuggets and hide all sorts of vegetables inside the chicken meat too.
#4. Let Them Help Out in the Preparation
Kids love pretending to be adults. Take them in the kitchen one day, and tell them that you will be cooking something and lay out an array of vegetables as ingredients. Ask them for their opinion from time to time and let them take charge of the preparation as well. You can get some child-friendly cooking equipment and ask them to grate carrots and peel eggplants. When they realize that they helped make this food they will be really tempted to finish it.
#5. “Just One More Bite!”
Ah, the age-old tradition of the “just one last bite!” It worked in my time and probably in my parent’s time before me. When they are scrunching up their face and cannot stand to see the veggies anymore, you can easily make use of this tactic. It will help them finish at least most of what’s on their plate if not all. Tell them a story or give them some toys so they can shift their concentration a little while eating and don’t protest too much. (See also: Tips to Help You Expand Your Child’s Food Horizons)
#6. Ask What Veggies they want
Another really handy trick to make your kids eat vegetables is making them choose between them. You can easily say “What would you like for lunch? Broccoli or zucchini?” This will give them the illusion that they have a choice and will most likely comply with whatever they pick.
Alternatively, you can even take them to the produce section of a grocery store or the farmer’s market and help them pick out what they would like. All the colors of the vegetables are honestly very enticing and kids usually play along with it really well.
#7. Dips are your Best Friend
Carrot sticks, cucumbers, celery sticks, all of these can be substituted for unhealthy snacks if you involve a dip. They are considered to be healthy organic snacks. My kids love sour cream way too much and will eat pretty much anything with it. So I just never gave them the option of eating potato chips with these dips and just put out carrot sticks whenever I could. They gobble them up like there is no tomorrow!
About The Author:
Noor Najam is a 22-year old student who loves to explore food delights and ever-growing new tastes of different regions. She likes to stay fit and make healthier food choices. She thinks she should have studied a culinary related bachelor’s degree instead of her current bachelors in Social Sciences. She regularly posts on https://pateeri.com/.