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Tips for getting those picky vegetable eaters to eat!

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If chicken nuggets and mac ‘n cheese are the only foods your kids will even think about eating, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

In today’s world, with all the tempting cartoon-endorsed processed foods, it can seem like a daunting challenge to get your little ones excited about a vegetable that is not loaded with sugar and branded with their favorite Saturday morning friend. But eating veggies doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation or seem like a pain-staking chore! Every meal can be an opportunity to introduce your children’s taste buds to good, healthy foods while still allowing them to eat the foods they enjoy.

Here are a few easy ways to get your kiddos to try, and even LIKE veggies!

    1. Make it sweet – if there’s one thing your kids like, it’s probably sweet. Fresh, whole foods are full of delicious natural sweetness that can be incredibly tasty for even the most discerning palate. Blend a honeydew melon with a banana and pour the mix into popsicle molds for a cool treat. Or throw some cherries and grapes into the freezer for a nutritious pop-in-your-mouth snack.
    2. Sneak it in – While it’s important for kids to become acquainted with vegetables, sometimes it’s easier to just sneak it in. Macaroni and Cheese is the perfect recipe to blend in butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or even roasted red and yellow peppers. Cauliflower is an amazing vegetable that can unknowingly sneak its way into almost any dish. Try using cauliflower in your mashed potatoes, process and mix-in with rice, or blend into your breading for baked chicken.
Avocado Pudding

Avocado Pudding

  1. Just use snacks – If dinnertime to too much of a hassle to beg your little ones to eat their veggies, provide their daily intake of nutritious foods throughout the day. Have sandwich baggies ready-to-go of your favorite crunchy produce like cut-up apples, celery, jicima, or carrots. Provide a creamy and indulgent dip like almond or sunflower butter or make your own fiber-filled Hummus to make eating veggies more desirable.
  2. Create a fun art project to eat – Make a rainbow of foods together that everyone gets to gobble up when finished. A beautiful rainbow of red cherries, orange carrots, yellow peppers, green celery, and purple grapes just sounds almost too fun to eat! (almost ;))
  3. Chocolate makes the world go ‘round – everyone needs a little chocolate in their life, right? Unprocessed cacao (the purest form of chocolate) has a plethora of nutritional benefits easily reaching “superfood” status. Try making this amazing Chocolate Pudding made with avocados and bananas to up the nutrition even more!
  4. Eat them yourself! – If you’re not a fan of good-for-you veggies, chances are your little ones won’t be too keen on them either. Get excited when you bring home a fresh batch of strawberries and savor nature’s goodness together!

julieGuest blogger Julie Magnussen works as a Healthy Eating Specialist at Whole Foods Market Cherry Creek, Julie thrives on challenging herself to create deliciously nutritious recipes focusing on plant-based ingredients that nourish the body and deliver clean energy.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson July 26, 2013

    Great tips! I know I have picky vegetable eaters and need all the help I can get.

  • comment avatar Arleigh July 29, 2013

    I don’t sneak veggies in, like this avocado pudding, because I want him to grow up knowing what fruits and veggies taste/look/smell like. instead, I give him lots of the (very small list of) ones he does like, and some extras to try but he doesn’t have to eat them if he doesn’t like them. I’ve discovered that some seasonings make the difference. we like a product called jane’s crazy mixed up salt.

  • comment avatar Andreea July 29, 2013

    we actually made that chocolate pudding with avocado last week and my kids loved it!

  • comment avatar Katie July 29, 2013

    I’m a lot like Arleigh. I don’t sneak them in (although I’m not at all opposed to a good pudding recipe whether it has avocados or not!) However I’ve prepared them is how they get served. My kiddos have to try it but if they don’t like it they do not have to eat it. A good example is potatoes. My boys have never been big fans, but every time I cook them I put some on their plates. This summer I’ve been making small yukon golds and finishing them off on the grill. They love them! I ounce read that children have to be able to have tried something at least 10 times before they can really decide if they like it or not. At least for us, this seems quite true.

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