How to Trick Your Kids into Eating Veggies

vegetables for kids

Vegetables are a big deal for us moms. We have a lot riding on them–we want our children to be riding on them! I get ridiculously and embarrassingly happy when my kids eat something (naturally) green. I want to cheer and wave my arms around in a victory/encouragement dance, but then I don’t want to break the spell of the moment, so I try to act cool.

Sadly this doesn’t happen quite as often as I’d like, but I have noticed some trends, or lucky breaks that seem to help. So grab a carrot stick and read on!

  1. Make them taste good! Maybe this is a no brainer for some, but in case not, run from your microwave as fast as you can, and straight into a nice sauté pan. An old shoe would taste good cooked in olive oil and salt. So imagine tender asparagus cooked in olive oil and salt? Heavenly.
  2. Play with their food. Tell them that the broccoli florets they’re eating are actually miniature trees. And how funny is it to eat a mini tree?! Even more fun would be pretending that that they are giants eating a tree. It may get a bit loud, but it will be worth it.
  3. Don’t make a big deal of it. I’m learning that this goes for almost all parenting difficulties. Kids like a big deal, and if it becomes a power struggle then they really will never eat them. Tell them you truly don’t care if they eat their veggies, even if they are so good they taste like savory candy.
  4. Buy a basil plant and let them pull the (washed) leaves off and eat ‘em up. Strange advice yes, and we’re going on a sample of two here, but one is a very veggie adverse eater, and even she loves basil. I’ve even had to admonish them both that if they ate all the basil leaves, the plant would die. It feels like a miracle every time.
  5. Keep trying! Always put a veggie on their plate because you never know when the lucky day will be that they actually eat it. The fact that your daughter has never put a green bean in her mouth means nothing other than that. Today may be the day, but if the bean isn’t there, you’ll never know.
  6. When all else fails, hide the veggies. I’ve decided that frozen spinach is maybe the best thing ever. My kid’s favorite smoothie (or moonie) is milk, frozen banana and frozen spinach. That’s it! It’s a fun green color and sweet and creamy from the bananas and milk. It’s so yummy, they can’t even taste the spinach. You can also blend frozen spinach into a basic crepe recipe, and it actually makes the crepes better tasting and more delicately textured. Weird, but true. There are whole cookbooks devoted to hiding veggies, so while not my favorite option, a totally doable one.

Now, with all that said, I want to tell you the story of my cousin Lalita (I’ve changed her name because I think this is still a sore point!) When Lalita was a kid she ate only jelly and white bread sandwiches, pizza, plain pasta with butter and parmesan, and milk. No fruit. No veggies. Not even juice! Maybe a Flintstones vitamin, I’m not sure. And I’m not exaggerating! Our family used to discuss it quite regularly.

That was maybe 20 years ago. Today she’s in her mid-twenties, 5’8”, gorgeous, works at Google, and is getting married to her wonderful long-time boyfriend next summer. So feed the children the plants, but if they refuse, remember Lalita (I do!), and know that everything will be A-OK.