It’s hard enough to get most adults to eat their veggies, it can seem like a lost cause to get our kids to eat them. The most important thing I’ve personally found is to model eating healthy foods. We can’t expect our kids to eat broccoli and salads if we’re eating pizza and ice cream. Kids’ diet are heavily influenced by what they see as well as early and repeated introduction to foods.
“Veggies have so many benefits for enriching the body with the necessary vitamins and minerals needed,” says Dr. Rupa Mahadevan, MD, FAAP, ABOIM, a pediatrician focused on integrative medicine and the pediatric advisor to lil’gourmets veggie meals. “We know that kids should be eating a minimum of 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to maintain their health and support their growth. Early introduction is key as the palate is trainable.”
But how can we actually get our kids’ diet to include veggies? Dr. Mahadevan shares her expert tips below!
- As soon as babies can start solids, choose store bought baby food with vegetable first ingredients that are low in sugar (like lil’gourmets veggie-first meals)
- Carefully select the language you use to introduce vegetables. Opt for “you get to eat vegetables today” instead of “you have to or need to”
- Give kids a choice when it comes to trying new veggies. For example, go to the grocery store and ask them to pick two vegetables they would like to try
- Kids eat what they see so find ways to show-off veggies in the kitchen like having baby carrots and cucumbers on the counter for snack time
- Find different ways to cook veggies such as roast kale chips in oven, steam carrots, air fry Brussel sprouts
- Let your kid prepare the veggies with you to make them feel more involved with their meal and snack time
- Use healthy dipping sauces to increase interest in vegetables; hummus and guacamole are great picks
- Sauces, smoothies, salads and soups are great ways to increase vegetables in the diet (i.e. add mushrooms to pasta sauce, fresh spinach to a fruit based smoothie or a bag frozen vegetables to a minestrone soup)