12 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Veggies!


Please Pass the Peas 2It is every parent’s dream for their children to eat their veggies! We hear it all the time, how we need to have them eat more veggies! It is a feat worth bragging about.

Our daughter loves veggies! We have a regular rotation between green beans, broccoli (raw or cooked), carrots, peas, cauliflower, and even the occasional spinach! Now, if there is a choice between a cookie or a veggie, she will still pick the cookie! However, if the cookie is not on the plate, then she will gladly eat her veggies! Maybe it is just luck, time will tell. I am no dietitian, but I am a Registered Nurse, which basically means I took a couple of classes on nutrition and it was usually incorporated in a small way in many of my other classes. While I’m no professional expert, I do have a passion for healthy eating and trying to find new recipes that I and my family love. I have read countless articles about the best way to get your child to eat veggies! We are still working on it, but so far the following tips have worked for us, so I hope at least some of these tips will help you in your quest to consume more veggies!

  1. Offer ONLY what you want them to eat!

    Don’t even have the other stuff in the house! If chips or cookies are not a choice, then your child will be much more likely to eat the healthy choices you offer. As an added bonus, it keeps you from eating junk too! As my pediatrician says,

    You are responsible for what you put on the plate. They are responsible for what they eat.”

    Now, I’m not saying you can’t have the occasional treat, but when it becomes the norm rather than the exception, you really can’t blame your children for constantly asking you for chips or cookies.

  2. Put vegetables where they can access them easily.

    I often will place carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumber slices on the table. When I turn around, they are almost gone! My husband and I even help clean the plate!

  3. Offer veggies at EVERY meal.

    You can even have veggies for breakfast! (Think veggie crepe or veggie omelet or perhaps some carrot muffins?) For snacks, I rotate between fruits, veggies, and nuts. That’s pretty much the only snack options I offer. It’s simple, convenient (especially if you buy them pre-cut), fast, and a WHOLE food, so you can’t go wrong (unless of course you have a nut allergy). We offer fruits or veggies with pretty much every meal. Many times I will even pack them in the diaper bag. Peas and carrots are easy to transport and taste good hot or cold!

    Yummy Broccoli!
    Yummy Broccoli!
  4. Offer a choice between veggies.

    I tell my little girl, you can have carrots or broccoli, or you can have peas or green beans. Yes, sometimes she does say “I want a cookie!” I just keep repeating the options calmly. Usually after the second or third time, she will choose a veggie and eat it happily.

  5. Don’t force.

    A little contradicting from the previous point? Not really; offering choices is not forcing. Children like to feel in control. Let’s face it, in our country there are too many choices! Simplify! In addition, if you are forcing or bribing, then you are telling your children, hey veggies aren’t good! The ice cream is better. And, yes while ice cream is delicious, the point is you want them to WANT to eat their veggies.

  6. Allow veggies all the time!

    Even if it’s right before dinner. Hey you wanted them to eat veggies with their dinner anyway, right? This way everyone wins, and they fill up on carrot sticks  and broccoli “trees” rather than Macaroni or crackers!

  7. Make food fun!

    I have not tried this tip, it is on my to do list. Children love to have fun, so why not make eating fun! You can make it an imagination game or make designs with their foods. Check out these crazy awesome ways to make veggies fun: Veggie Flowers, Veggie Owl, and Veggie Train.

  8. Let them help you with dinner.

    Children are much more likely to eat veggies when they are allowed to help cook them. You could even let older kids helpplan meals. (Bonus: One less thing for momma to do!) Now I know you can’t allow a two or three year old to chop veggies, but there are other things they can do. They can help stir (with supervision of course!), they can help measure (bonus: you are teaching basic math! Just expect a little mess) and they can help taste! You have to taste your food before serving, right? (At least that’s what the Chopped judges say. I may be a little obsessed with food and cooking shows!)

  9. Let them pick out their own veggies at the grocery store.

    This one worked for my girl to eat cucumbers (though technically I believe cucumbers are considered fruit!). She didn’t like them, but she did try them! Which brings me to my next point…

  10. Enlist the one or two bite rule.

    We have my daughter try everything before offering her anything else. She has to take one or two substantial bites. Again, it’s not about forcing, but helping them realize they may actually like new things and expanding their palate!

  11. Try again, and again, and again!

    Per multiple readings, it takes children 10 to 20 times of trying a food before they truly develop a like or dislike. And you know what, it’s okay if they don’t like the same foods you do!  My daughter also loves asparagus! She did not like it the first few times we offered it, but it is now one of her favorites! I have made Asparagus Soup, Mushroom and Asparagus Pasta, and just plain baked or sautéed asparagus! She loves them all!

  12. Lastly, and this one might hit a little too close to home, what are YOU eating?

    Yes, I said it. Children are little imitators. They will copy you whether you know they are looking or whether you want them to or not. They are very observant. Eat vegetables in front of them! My daughter often will want whatever we are eating. If I’m eating salad, she will come eat my spinach off of my plate (without dressing or cheese!). Sometimes, the easiest solution is looking in the mirror.

The above is what has worked for us! I hope some of them will work for you! What are some ways you get your kids to eat their veggies?

Need some recipe ideas? Check out the Perfect Produce App! This is an awesome app, and it has all kinds of produce, includes nutrition info, and recipes. One of my favorite recipes from this app:  Sweet Parsnip Spears. Your kids will LOVE these!