Veggie Victory: Fun Ways to Get Your Kids to Love Their Greens

You may have heard of the Harvard School of Public Health recommendation that nine servings of produce (excluding potatoes) should be consumed each day for optimal health and to avoid chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and digestive issues. But, if you have kids, you’re probably all too familiar with the struggle of getting them to eat the recommended amount of vegetables, particularly the less tasty but highly nutritious varieties like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and collard greens.

Well, there is a shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The University of Granada recently found that allowing children to choose their vegetables leads to an increase in consumption by 40 grams of healthy produce daily across two meals. Keep reading for tips on how to introduce more vegetables into your kids’ lives and make this challenge a success.

Taste test: offering a choice makes a difference

The University of Granada has proven that it’s crucial to give children choices when it comes to vegetables. Researchers tested this theory on a group of 150 children under the age of 6, allowing them to choose which vegetables they wanted to eat for lunch. The study showed that offering children choices allows them to gain more control over their food consumption and be more inclined to eat their vegetables. This simple trick can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring your kids develop a healthy relationship with their greens.

Tips and techniques to get kids excited about vegetables

To get your kids to eat more vegetables, here are some tips and techniques that can help make the process easier and more enjoyable:

  1. Incorporate veggies into their favorite meals – sneak in vegetables into their favorite dishes, such as blending spinach into pasta sauce, adding grated carrots to meatballs or taco filling, or topping a pizza with colorful veggies.

  2. Make it colorful – bright colors attract children and make vegetables more appealing to their eyes, so create a rainbow of colors on their plate with an array of fruits and vegetables.

  3. Engage kids in food prep – have your kids help you out in the kitchen, encouraging them to wash, chop, and cook veggies. By getting them involved, they will be more likely to try the dish they helped create.

  4. Let them dip – kids love to dip their food, so provide some low-fat dressing, hummus, or yogurt-based dip to accompany their vegetables and make it more fun to eat.

  5. Grow your own – planting a vegetable garden together as a family can go a long way in encouraging kids to develop an interest in vegetables. They will be more likely to eat the vegetables they have grown and nurtured themselves.

  6. Create fun shapes – make vegetables more fun by cutting them into interesting shapes, using cookie cutters or a spiralizer, or arranging them into imaginative pictures on their plates.

  7. Be a role model – if you make healthy eating a family affair, your kids will be more likely to follow suit. Show them that eating vegetables is a normal and enjoyable part of everyday life.

Ongoing efforts and keeping it positive

It is important not to give up and to continue experimenting with new recipes and techniques that will keep your kids interested in vegetables. The more exposure they have to various types and flavors, the more likely they are to develop a taste for them. Positive reinforcement is also important, so make sure to praise your children when they do eat their vegetables.

By implementing these strategies in your everyday life, not only will you help your children to develop a love for vegetables, but you will also teach them the importance of making healthy choices and setting them on the right path towards a lifetime of good eating habits.