All parents know that their child should eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to be healthy. But it isn’t always as easy as putting it in front of them and having them gobble it up as if it were chocolate cake. Here are 5 creative ideas to encourage your child to eat veggies.
As a food blogger, you’d assume my child is an adventurous eater and consumes a variety fruit and vegetables. Not a chance. Like many children on the Autism Spectrum, he has an aversion to certain foods and textures and tastes. The child literally gags when he tries to eat a new vegetable. It is really sad to watch him try to eat them and something in his brain triggers that gag reflex.
But it isn’t just children on the spectrum that don’t like vegetables or at least certain kinds. My dad grew the most beautiful Swiss chard when I was growing up. I did everything short of slipping it to the dog to avoid eating it. But when we got some rainbow chard in our recent CSA harvest my mouth started to water and I could hardly wait to eat it.
I am not a big believer in threatening (eat it or else) or negotiating (just try one bite) or bribing (eat it and you can have dessert). It won’t work in my house. So, I have some up with different strategies.
Juices and Smoothies
Drinking vegetables isn’t as horrible as eating them for some kids. Plus, combining vegetable juices with fruit juices reduces the amount of sugar and calories.
Freeze the juices or smoothies in ice pop molds for a great dessert. Or let them have one for breakfast, gasp!
Mix them in baked goods
I asked my son today if he liked beets, carrots and spinach. "YUCK!"
I asked if he liked them in these recipes. “That’s different, those are fun.”
There may or may not have been a few turnips tossed in with the mashed potatoes last week. But you didn’t hear it from me. Keep it to no more than a third (2-3 potatoes to one turnip) and make your usual mashed potato recipe. You can also use cauliflower in place of the turnips.
Speaking of cauliflower, Fettucine Alfredo using cauliflower where have you been all my life? A low in fat high in nutrition rendition of my favorite dish. And a way to eat cauliflower I might actually enjoy.
Pureed soups are another great technique. This Broccoli and Cheddar Soup was a huge hit in my house and my friend had the same success with her 4 kids. Though my son did not want the "little trees" on top of his.
Experiment with preparation methods and textures
When I was unpacking one of my CSA deliveries Mr. I Hate Anything Green saw the kale. He begged excitedly, “Can we make kale chips?!”
I have yet to try Cauliflower Rice or Zoodles, but many parents tell me their kids love them. I know I will be trying these Cauliflower Gouda Grits soon, even if I am the only one that eats them. YUMMMM!
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Since we are on the subject of eating healthier, be sure to check out the #RecipeMakeover and Giveaway. I have partnered with 40+ other bloggers to host a week long healthier eating party. All week we will be posting healthier versions of some of our favorite recipes plus offering a $200 prize package to one lucky person. Be sure to follow along on social media with the hashtag #RecipeMakeover.
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