Easy Tricks for Getting Your Kids to Love Vegetables

Updated on July 23, 2020
Abby Slutsky profile image

Even though Abby Slutsky owns a bakery business, she likes to find a balance between nutritional foods, interesting side dishes and sweets.

Love your veggies, and maybe your kids will, too. Eating veggies in front of your children is one great way to encourage them to enjoy their vegetables.
Love your veggies, and maybe your kids will, too. Eating veggies in front of your children is one great way to encourage them to enjoy their vegetables.

Enticing Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

When I was a young adult, my mother used to tell me a story about how she hid vegetables while she ate dinner. When she was a child, her family’s kitchen table had a drawer in it. My mother would put her vegetables in the drawer when my grandmother got up to get a condiment, utensil, or platter of food. After the meal, she would sneak back to the drawer to dispose of her food. She was always afraid the drawer would smell and my grandmother would realize what she was doing. (Knowing my grandmother, she probably knew, but she let my mom do it anyway.)

Although most families do not have a drawer in their kitchen table, many families have at least one child who pushes vegetables around a plate without eating them. Using a little creativity, you can get your children to love vegetables, or at least eat them. Make them convenient to eat, prepare them in an appealing manner, and let children contribute when preparing them.

Tips for Making Vegetables More Appealing for Children

  1. Enjoy Vegetables in Front of Your Kids
  2. Make Veggies an Anytime Food
  3. Prepare Vegetables in Advance
  4. Think Like a Child When Preparing Veggies
  5. Puree Vegetables in Soups and Stocks
  6. Use Dipping Sauces to Add Flavor and Fun
  7. Make Baked "Fried" Vegetables
  8. Give Your Child an Important Role in Preparing Vegetables
  9. Grow a Garden
  10. Let Your Child Help Cook Veggies
  11. Use Colorful Vegetables and Interesting Shapes

1. Enjoy Vegetables in Front of Your Kids

One of my friends is a very healthy eater. She eats more than anyone I know, but she eats mostly fruits and vegetables. Your children pay attention to your habits and imitate them, so show them that you love vegetables. Pile them on your plate during family meals, snack on them, and make them accessible.

2. Make Veggies an Anytime Food

At our home, we always ate dinner together, but the rule was no one could eat until everyone was sitting at the table. Usually everyone was at the table before I had all the food on the table. The wafting aromas of the main course made the kids hungry while they waited for mom. Therefore, we decided anyone could eat vegetables anytime without waiting for the others. I always put the vegetables on the table first, and it was customary for the kids to nibble on them while I dished out the rest of the meal.

3. Prepare Vegetables in Advance

Children like snack foods that they can eat immediately. Make vegetables ready-to-eat, and put them in clear bags. If they are convenient to eat and visible, children are more likely to snack on them.

4. Think Like a Child When Preparing Veggies

Children may be pickier eaters than adults, so think about foods that appeal to them when making vegetables. Even if the adults in your family are satisfied with boiled vegetables, children may prefer veggies with more flavor. A little bit of salt, breading, or a sauce can influence a child's willingness to eat vegetables.

5. Puree Vegetables in Soups and Stocks

It is hard to refuse to eat food that you do not see. I frequently make soups, gravies, and sauces by cooking carrots, celery sticks, and onions in broth. Cut them in large chunks if you want them to soften quicker than whole pieces. When the vegetables feel soft, after an hour or two depending on the stove’s flame, remove them with a slotted spoon. Put the vegetables in a blender with a little water, and turn them into a thick paste.

Return the vegetables to the broth, and your gravy, soup or sauce will have a healthy thickener and an attractive color. Your children will not notice the vegetables and will happily eat them. Additionally, this is a healthy, low-fat way to add texture and richness to a soup, sauce, or gravy.

Put assorted salad dressings in individual containers to create vegetable dipping sauces.
Put assorted salad dressings in individual containers to create vegetable dipping sauces.

6. Use Dipping Sauces to Add Flavor and Fun

My younger son, who is now an adult, loved to dip foods in almost anything when he was a kid. Make little cups of assorted salad dressings to accompany vegetables. Your children may enjoy dipping their food in the dressings and choosing different flavors. Include a small container of dipping sauce in a brown bag lunch too. Melted cheese sauce can also be an appealing dip for vegetables when you are eating at home.

7. Make Baked "Fried" Vegetables

Given the success of many fast food restaurants, it is obvious that many children adore fried food. Make your own vegetables that look fried but are really baked. The crunchy outside will be appealing, but baking instead of frying the vegetables will make the food healthier than traditional fried food.

Instructions

  1. Dip zucchini sticks or eggplant rounds in egg whites, then toss them in a mixture of whole wheat bread crumbs and fresh herbs.
  2. Lightly spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, then coat both sides of the vegetables with the spray, and arrange them in a single layer.
  3. Bake the vegetables in a preheated 450°F oven for about 15 minutes. Turn the vegetables, and cook them another 7–8 minutes or until they look crispy.

There are many variations of baked fried vegetables. Your creativity will help keep the baked, breaded vegetables interesting and flavorful. Keep in mind that the thickness of the vegetable slices will affect the cooking time, so check your vegetables frequently.

8. Give Your Child an Important Role in Preparing Vegetables

Generally, people feel proud when they create food. Giving your children a job when it comes to growing or preparing vegetables can affect their attitude toward eating them.

Children may love harvesting and eating  homegrown vegetables. This is the start of some homegrown lettuce.
Children may love harvesting and eating homegrown vegetables. This is the start of some homegrown lettuce.

9. Grow a Garden

When one of my children was in nursery school, he came home with an egg carton filled with planted seeds. He was probably one of the few kids that watered his seeds, and we eventually transferred them to a large pot. As time went on, the seedlings grew, and one day he got very excited when we pulled up a carrot from the pot. He could not wait to eat the vegetable that he had grown himself.

Your children may also enjoy eating vegetables that they grow. They can choose seeds based on the vegetables they want to try. Planting a garden is an excellent way to get your children interested in eating vegetables and can promote a sense of accomplishment and responsibility.

10. Let Your Child Help Cook Vegetables

Why not encourage your child to help prepare vegetables? He is likely to want everyone to try his creation and proudly eat what he makes. Even young children can stir a simple marinade of garlic olive oil, and red pepper flakes. They will enjoy using a pastry brush to paint it on vegetables before they are grilled.

Let your child choose ingredients to put in a salad. Put all the salad makings in a bowl with a lid, and he can have fun shaking it with a little dressing. As your child gets older, he can master more complicated kitchen tasks. Do not forget to rave about your child’s vegetable creations.

Presentation and Color Can Make Vegetables More Interesting

This plate showvasees vegetables in a variety of shapes and textures that may catch a child's eye.
This plate showvasees vegetables in a variety of shapes and textures that may catch a child's eye.

11. Use Colorful Vegetables and Interesting Shapes to Add Appeal

Vegetetables are so colorful that their bright vibrancy can add to their appeal. You can scrape thin curls, cut them in rounds, shred them, or serve them whole. The differences in texture and appearance can make them more interesting to eat.

Most Popular Way to Encourage Kids to Eat Vegetables

How are you most likely to encourage your children to eat vegetables?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Abby Slutsky

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Alyssa Nichol profile image

      Alyssa 

      3 weeks ago from Ohio

      So many good ideas here, Abby! I completely agree with you, "your children pay attention to your habits and imitate them." It's important to teach your kids how to be healthy by being healthy yourself! This is something I'm incredibly passionate about. We also have the everyone sits before you start eating rule, but if I'm making something I know my son doesn't care for, I'll let him start a little sooner. Otherwise, he'd be there for an hour or so after the meal was finished. I love keeping veggies and fruit conveniently available for snacks. My son and I love to nibble on green grapes and carrot sticks. It's also fun to get the kids in the kitchen, involving them in preparing the meal. Not only do you get to teach your kids how to cook, but you make lasting memories. I also love your gardening tip! We usually have green pepper plants and it's so fun to watch them grow little peppers. This is a great article!

    • Danny Fernandes profile image

      Danny 

      4 weeks ago from India

      Abby, I have heard Mothers tempting kids with colorful veggies :). It adds vibrancy to the dish and kids love colors

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)