Getting Kids To Eat Vegetables

babyeatskaleThe other day my father and I were talking about the sad state of many kids' diets. He asked, "How can we help kids eat better? What can we do about the child who will only eat macaroni and cheese?"

Do kids and vegetables just not go together? A friend with two small girls would always make a separate "kid friendly" dinner that did not offer green vegetables or expose the girls to new food. They were never given the chance to learn to love them.

In comparison, I recently visited with another family with three small kids the youngest is two. Mom pulled out a container of kale salad and all three kids eagerly ate it, searching for every last piece and asked for more.

Children who are fed plenty of fruits and vegetables from the start learn to love them. Here is a video from blogger and author Breeze Harper about feeding her baby green smoothies.

So what do you do if your kids already have decided they don't like vegetables?

I found my daughter would eat raw veggies more than cooked. I often set aside some for her if I was cooking broccoli for example. Now I know that this is the best way to eat veggies anyway.

Get your kids involved in the kitchen. Let them help chop, and prepare the meals. Ask for their input on how to use your veggies.

Introduce children to a wide variety of produce. Today we can get fruit and veggies from all around the world. Let them choose something you haven't tried before when you go shopping. Involve them in the shopping process. They can bag produce, and weigh it.

Get your kids involved in gardening. They will be more likely to eat vegetables when they see the amazing process of seeds growing and bearing fruit and have a hand in the growing process. You can plant a container garden on a porch or deck if you don't have yard space. Or get involved in a community garden and you will also build relationships with other veggie loving folks that can support you and your family. Here is another great video of Ron Finley who is planting gardens in South Central LA in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys." He challenges us to "Plant some s**t!"

And what if YOU don't like veggies? The same things! And be extra careful that you don't let your attitudes discourage your kids.

Educate yourself and your kids about nutrition.

Here are two of the ways I served veggies when I ran a day care many years ago:

Ants On A Log: Cut a stalk of celery into 2-3 inch segments. Spread 1-2 TBL peanut butter or tahini on each piece. Top with raisins or other dried fruit. Serve

Marinated Broccoli: See the recipe here.

So, kids and adults alike:  EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!  Your future health depends on it.

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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Supporting you by bringing you flavorful and satisfying vegan and raw vegan recipes, inspiration and online training and one-on-one coaching to help LOVE YOUR VEGAN LIFE! I am an educator and revolutionary who has teamed up with my physician/dietitian husband, Nana Kwaku Opare, MD, MPH, CA, to address the growing health problems in the Afrikan/Black community by building a Nation of Black Vegetarians and Vegans.

2 comments on “Getting Kids To Eat Vegetables

  1. I started my journey one and half years after my twins started eating table food. I wish I had started sooner but you can never dwell in the past. I say this because my kids have decided not to like anything that is the color green. I constantly try to encourage them to eat more vegetables but have been losing that battle thus far. I have one that will eat all fruits and another that will only eat mangos. Unfortunately, my daughter has the same eating palate of her father which consist of sensitivity to textures;which limits them to starches and carbs (I still like to think of it as a mental thing). I say this because I love all fruits and vegetables and can not relate. I will try the Ants on log hoping they don’t pick off the raisins and tahini. I will not give up but I am hoping that things get easier.

    • I had a picky eater too. Now that she is grown she eats much better. Try green smoothies and juices. Maybe there is a fruit veggie blend that will please them. And you are right, don’t give up!

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Getting Kids To Eat Vegetables"

  1. […] really easy. She’s not in school yet so she’s completely used to whatever I eat. And she drinks my kale smoothies with me. And she loves raw tomatoes and okra. I think it’s really important for her not to go the same […]

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