It’s hard to argue with the health benefits of vegetables. But many people find eating them is chore. Make a veggie-lover out of even the pickiest eater with these tips:
Grow your own — Start a vegetable garden in the backyard or on the porch. Let the kids help plant seeds and water. They’ll be more motivated to eat vegetables they had a hand in growing themselves. If you don’t have room or time for a garden, you can shop at a farmers’ market or local farm. Kids will have fun learning where their food comes from, and you’ll get fresh, sweet produce.
Experiment! — If you hate brussels sprouts, try something else. Take a trip to the produce aisle and pick a vegetable you’ve never eaten before. Let the kids choose–they’ll be much more excited to try a vegetable they selected. Try new recipes and get the kids involved in preparing dishes they want to make.
Just add…vegetables! — Mix vegetables into foods kids already like. Make a veggie pizza, add broccoli to mac n’ cheese, or make zucchini bread. Don’t underestimate the power of preparing foods in new ways–if someone doesn’t like steamed carrots, try them in a soup or stir-fry. Grilled vegetables can be sweet and tender. For extremely picky eaters, try sautéing veggies in brown sugar or maple syrup.
Think aperitif. Serve veggie appetizers before dinner, when everyone is hungriest. Find a favorite dip or salad dressing, and set out a plate of carrots, celery, cucumber, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, or turnips. Many vegetables taste great raw, and can be chopped and peeled ahead of time–keep some ready in the fridge for a quick snack during the day.
Set a good example. — Expose kids to a variety or vegetables, early and often. It can take many tries, but kids will get used to them–and develop healthy eating habits that will last their whole lives.