We all know that toddlers are some of the most vocal picky eaters on the planet. In the blink of an eye, a favorite food may quickly become the most horrible thing a child has ever seen. And, anything that looks slightly unfamiliar can cause alarm. Vegetables are often the source of these feelings of distaste.
When it seems like something green or nutritious hasn’t passed our child’s lips for weeks, it’s tempting to sneak vegetables into his food. Parents have differing opinions on this. On one hand, we want our children to be healthy, and sneaking vegetables into meals is an efficient way to make sure your child is getting everything he needs nutritionally. However, many parents don’t necessarily enjoy the idea of “tricking” children into eating something, and may opt to explore ways that make veggies more palatable without hiding them. No matter which side of the issue you agree with, we all just want our children to eat well and realize that vegetables can taste good too. But how do we get there?
Patience, perseverance and consistency are key when it comes to feeding young children. However, it takes time. Children’s taste buds will eventually come back around with positive messaging and by consistently offering a variety of foods. Children often become more willing to try different foods around the time they start elementary school.
So while you are waiting to see that small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, I do feel that it is perfectly acceptable to give foods a “nutrition boost” by adding vegetables in a variety of ways to your meals.
- Shred zucchini and add it to main entrees
- Chop mushrooms and blend into meats
- Shred carrots and add to baked goods
- Try it: Carrot Cake Muffins
- Put veggies in the food processor
- Try it: Garden Lentil Bolognese
- Use beans or lentils in place of some (or all) of the beef in recipes
- Offer veggies with dips or sauces such as ranch dressing, hummus or other condiments.
- Put out a veggie plate as a before-dinner snack.
- Use a crinkle cut knife to cut veggies into fun shapes and then roast them in the oven to bring out their natural sweetness.