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Thursday, July 28, 2011

10 ways to get your kids to eat their veggies

Thursday, July 28, 2011 By No comments

I spent 7 years as a vegetarian, much to the annoyance of family and friends. I've since gone back to being an omnivore, but I try to keep my meat intake down. So it's important to me that Emmie incorporate as many fruits and vegetables into her diet as possible. Plus, it's way healthier that way.

Here are 10 tips and tricks I use to get my child to eat more veggies:

1. I started her young. She didn't have meat at all until she was about 12 months old. She has always loved carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans and peas. I have worked to build from there.

2. Hide yo veggies, hide yo fruits: Pizza and pasta are great places to hide minced vegetables. Emmie loves mushroom pizza, for example, but if I hide minced spinach under the cheese, she hardly knows it's there. When I told her, she was laughed her off at the idea that she had eaten a whole pizza slice without noticing the green stuff.

3. Let her choose. I let Emmie choose her own fresh fruit and her own fresh vegetable every time we go to the store. She has tried acorn squash, butternut squash, eggplant, spaghetti squash, cucumber, some crazy purple carrots, yucca root, and more. Not all of her attempts have been hits, but she loves to choose!

4. Dip it. Dip it good. Who says they have to be plain? Emmie hates ranch dressing - and all forms of mayonnaise - but there are hundreds of options. Fat free French dressing, hummus, lemon juice, whatever. Chop the veggies and let them try. Emmie, we have discovered, loves pesto!

5. Be consistent. If they don't see the veggies, they won't try them. Have some at every meal.

6. Do as you say. If you don't eat your veggies, you're sending conflicting messages

7. Soup. I'm telling you, soup hides all manner of horrifying foods. Emmie loves mushroom soup, so I added very finely minced onion. Then finely minces broccoli. I'll try more later.

8. Presentation is key. Make it fancy! Try a bento box arrangement, use the good china, or carve them into shapes.

9. Let them grow or cook their own food. A sense of ownership and control are key.

10. Don't fight them. If they eat the same veggies over and over, it's okay. If they don't eat any veggies, it's okay. Supplement with a multivitamin, and keep trying. But don't make it an issue. Kids will fight to be heard, but you don't want your entire parent-child conversation to be about plants.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Peas and Thank You blogging program for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.


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