21 answers

How Do You Get the Kids to Eat Vegtables?

I am raising 7 grandchildren. Three of the seven are great eaters and the other four are very picky. I need some ideas or some cookbooks on how to hide or get the kids to eat vegtables. The 6 year old girl loves mac and cheese and hot dogs and turns her nose up to most everything else. The 9 year old girl will eat most of what I cook but very little vegtables. The 2 year old boy will eat meat and pasta and potatoes. He will spit out the veggies. One of the 11 year olds doesn't want to eat anything, it is a fight to get him to eat. I fixed fried rice with chicken and had celery, onions, carrots and bell peppers in it. I got the 3 younger ones to take a bite and that's about it. The 3 older boys, 11, 13 and 16 will eat just about anything. I try to fix a meat, potatoe or pasta and vegtable for each meal. I try to serve a salad a couple of times a week and we have canned fruit or fresh fruit quite a bit. They are very picky on the fruit also. Does any one have any ideas about getting them to eat veggies. Thanks for your input.

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the good ideas. I tried letting each child be in charge of the supper veggie, they get to pick, the only catch is that have to eat the veggie. So far it has worked, I actually got two of them to eat a veggie. However, they don't eat the veggie if they didn't pick it, still working on that. I think I will get a couple of the cookbooks and hide the veggies, but I do prefer that they know what they are eating. It's still a work in progress. Thanks again.

Featured Answers

Try the new V-8 Fusion (not Splash) with fruits and vegetables mixed.It taste mostly fruit.My son hates vegetables, but he loves to drink this.There are about 6 flavors.

D.

More Answers

Going through the same thing. First of all, I don't make her eat anything she doesn't like. I ask she tries it, and if she doesn't like it, don't eat it. But I keep putting it on her plate. I bought Jessica Seinfields book about hiding vegtables in food. It really does work like a charm, especially the desserts. Akins has some chocolate mix that is a full serving of veggies and fruits to add to milk. My duaghter hates it, but yours might like it. But really, as long as I don't push and keep putting it on her plate, Audrey is starting to eat her vegtables. Sometime they just like to be in control. Until they do get the hang of it, cut down on regular snacks. It worked for me. If she's really hungry, she eats that carrot.

Try the new V-8 Fusion (not Splash) with fruits and vegetables mixed.It taste mostly fruit.My son hates vegetables, but he loves to drink this.There are about 6 flavors.

D.

We try to make veggies fun. When they were really young - monkey see monkey do - we would serve cut green beans from the can. They are about an inch or two long. Instead of eating them properly, we would suck them in like spaghetti. The sillier, the better. The kids thought this was so fun, they never considered not eating it. One of their favorites is Edamame (soybean pods you can buy in a bag at Wal-Mart). You're only supposed to eat the bean, not the pod so it's fun to squeeze them and pop out the bean. (A few might accidentally get aimed at someone...) They taste really good, too. Kinda like a cross between peanuts and veggies.

My daughter dips her broccoli in ketchup. That's two veggies, right?

I also agree with making sure they are very hungry. It really helps a picky eater to be hungry, I think. No junky snacks, etc.

I read a great article on this once. I KNEW I wanted to xerox it but it was at the dentist's office....

But first, some recipe websites that I like:

http://www.vegcooking.com/searchRecipes.asp
http://vegweb.com/index.php?action=recipecategories
http://www.vegan-food.net/category/vegetables/
http://www.veganvillage.co.uk/recipes/index.htm

Anyway, in short, never put the veggies on the side of the plate. People subconsciously undermine their own efforts in teaching kids to appreciate veggies by making meaty dish the main attraction. Will spend most time on the meaty dish, dress up, etc., and then even put it in the center of the plate! <Laughing>. We are a riot, aren't we?? Then, we say "You can eat X if you eat Y first." This reinforces to a kid that X is the obligatory food while Y is the fun food!

Put it in your mindset that vegetables are delicious and marvelous, and this mindset will come across in your cooking. And your grandchildren will pick up on it, too.

Because you have a few kids in this mix who are really opposed to eating anything other than meat, potatoes and mac n cheese, you might want to consider just not bringing these items into the house. But instead of leaving them only with the same old veggies that they hated before, definitely offer new recipes that you think they might like. Tell them you are all in a new adventure together. It also helps to include them in the food prep, and in choosing some things (but you provide the list of available options!).

Stir fries are really good. Lots of veggies with some kind of sauce - I bet the Veri Veri Teriyaki by Soy Vey would be a popular one! (you can find it at Wal-Mart) - on top of brown rice (add a little extra water, overcook it a little, and add a little olive oil toward the end and they'll like it just as much as white rice) or quinoa (much quicker cooking time). Add some boulion to your grain of choice to make it more appealing. You can add tofu to the stir fry for protein. But before you add it, marinate it in a little soy sauce, or the teriyaki sauce, for about 10 minutes.

Soups are great, especially blended ones, because they can't pick anything out of them. And they're pretty easy to make them delicious. Here's one that I love to no end:

http://www.edenfoods.com/recipes/view.php?recipes_id=652 - but it's much easier than this. Just cook the fresh vegetables, add spices, and keep them cooking till tender, then add the canned tomatoes, and then, after it has had a minute to cool, I add the water or broth, then the soy milk and whatever else is left. Now, it is cool enough that you can blend right away. Then, I add frozen corn, preferably sweet white corn. It's an awesome addition, I've found. You're done with this amazing soup in about 15 minutes!

It's also really good that you are cooking them fresh vegetables. Try to also offer fresh fruits instead of canned. You might have to cut up the fruits and otherwise prepare them, since doing the legwork might be enough to discourage hungry snackers.

One big thing that really stood out from that article was: Don't Be a Short-order Cook. Don't cook them particular foods that you know they hate (like eggplant or whatever). But if they say, "I don't want this, I want X," don't get up and fix X for 'em.

Good luck! Hope this helps.

L.

One thing I do that at least gets the veggies in them is adding V-8 to things like spagetti sauce (I also put diced carrots in and they never know) or soups, also I've heard you can cut cauliflower up really small and add it to mac & cheese and they will never know the difference, I've not tried that one. Also, this may sound strange, but my kids (ages 2 and 4) love to eat fruit and veggies with a toothpick and will eat twice as many if they get to do it that way. Don't fight over eating, it's one of those things you can't force them to do, if they dont want what you've fixed for them they dont eat-my 4 year old understands that-and if she doesn't eat her dinner she doesn't get anything else until breakfast (she loves to have a snack before bed.) I also always put some of everything that I've made on their plate even if they have never eaten it before and I'm almost sure they wont eat it this time either-it goes on their plate. Sometimes you gotta be tough! God Bless!

Hi C.!!

WOW, you have a challenge on your hands!!! Have you heard about the cook book "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld? that may be a great investment for you because she hid veggies inside mac and cheese and even chicken nuggets and brownies. I saw it at Marshall's the other day for $5.99 so it may be worth that to look into it. That way you dont have to "tell" them to eat their veggies--it is already in there. they wont be none the wiser :)

when I make Mac and cheese I add peas. that may help with the little girl. Also if any of them are "dippers" letting them dip them into things...even yogurt or ketchup...may help. I know a lady who lets her son use ketchup on salad becuase it gets him to eat it and he dips carrots and stuff into it. Maybe a couple times start with the veggies, and don't let them have anything else until the amout you desired them to eat is gone...no they won't starve for that one meal...and eventually they will see that it's a requirement, not an option.

My aunt got me a book for Christmas called "Deliciosly Deceptive", I can't remember who it is by. It is a cookbook for parent of picky eaters, and tells how to sneak foods in!! It is wonderful and has TONS of menus, for everyday stuff that kids like, too. You can probably find it at Barnes and Noble or Hastings, probably any major bookstore! Good luck!

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