So the other day I was sitting on the couch working on my laptop, when my youngest daughter, Maleeya, jumped up and went to get a snack. She ran back in with a bag of carrots, some ranch, and a plate. She was giggling with excitement. She loves her veggies. In fact our oldest son Matthew loves his broccoli and his brussel sprouts, and his absolute favorite is any kind of salad. Mckeely, our oldest daughter loves broccoli, and our Chicken with Mandarin Orange Salad the other night, she proclaimed was in her top 3 favorite meals.
So how do you get your kids to love eating their vegetables? Maybe we are just blessed to have veggie loving kids, but in the post I will lay out some of my thoughts on how to accomplish a veggie loving family.
First – at a young age we start our babies on pureed or smashed “real food”. We have never been the family to stock up on canned baby food. Mainly because a while ago we did a “Fear Factor” family reunion and used baby food as the event. Have you ever tasted that stuff? Yuck! If an adult wont eat it, why should we put our kids through that. So if we have chicken, potatoes and broccoli for dinner, then that is what the baby will get. Just in smaller portions, and if they are too young then we hold the protein. It’s a wonder what a small blender or a good smashing with a fork can do!
Second – we always have a lot of veggies laying around the house. A large bowl of fruit and veggies – even flowing on to the surrounding counter. Our fridge is stocked with it. Every shelf! Bountiful Baskets helps with the surplus of healthy food in our house. If it is laying around in reach of the little ones, they will choose it over something out of sight and hard to reach.
Third – Push it early. Don’t wait till you think they need it, or old enough to chew it. Find ways to give it to them early. Pureed as said above, juice it, and most of all eat it your self. If you don’t like it find new ways to make it, that do taste good. Some times the additional extras added to the vegetable side dish might in its self be less healthy, but if you can sneak more healthy food onto their fork then in the long run it is better for them. A little sugar, or bacon added to a dish goes a long way to make it taste better. Check out our Recipe posting for some great tips!
Fourth – Two bite challenge – When ever our kids think they do not like something we challenge them. They know they have to eat two bites. One bite they can sneak around and not eat enough of the side dish to actually get the full flavor. So two bites, gives them a higher chance to experience the full flavor. Any time our kids say they don’t like the dish, before the two bite challenge, about 80% of the time they realize they actually do like it and end up eating every bite. Just the other day at Sarah’s family get together, a few of the cousins said they didn’t like a dressing Sarah made for the Sweet Shredded Pulled Pork Taco’s she made. Their parents didn’t encourage them to try it, so we challenged them to the two bite challenge! Out of the three that said they didn’t like it in the beginning – Two actually liked it in the end!