Simple ideas for getting kids to eat their veggies
As one of the most important routines in the day, dinner can also be one of the most challenging for time-poor parents and fussy eaters. Accredited nutritionist and HelloFresh Head of Culinary, Hannah Gilbert, shares her top tips to get even the fussiest eaters to enjoy veggies at dinner time.
1. A Cinderella Story
If you have young children try telling a story at dinner. Shiny red apples were suddenly more appealing when you considered their power in Snow White. Jack and the Beanstalk persuaded me to try beans as kid, even if it was only so I could weed out a magical one. Inject a bit of imagination into vegetables and you’d be surprised at the appeal they may start to hold for your children.
2. Now watch me dip
Swap out crackers for carrot and cucumber sticks or snow peas for a nutritious snack with dip. There are plenty of delicious varieties of hummus, beetroot and spinach-based dips that can help you sneak in even more nutrition under their little noses.
3. Serve up salad on the table, on the reg
The opposite of hiding in plain sight, always have a big bowl of yummy salad on the table. It gets kids used to the idea of veggies as being fundamental to every meal, and if you put it out 10 minutes before dinner is ready, they might even start picking at it!
4. The “try it” rule
Make a new house rule. Everyone in the house – kids and adults – must have at least one significant bite of something, even if it’s not their favourite. Don’t get discouraged if your child doesn’t like it the first, second or even the ninth time; practice makes perfect! More competitive kids may even be spurred on to take a shine to eggplant before their siblings do.
5. Practice what you preach
There’s just no getting around it: if you enjoy vegetables sincerely, it will rub off on your kids. Instead of making the meat the hero of every dish, try making veggies shine in a meal once a week – rather than just a side. Although hiding them may seem to be the answer, making them seem just as exciting as other food, can be just as effective.
6. Fruit Salad, Kids?
Make a delicious fruit salad and add some veggies to it. Sweeter ones are easier to incorporate, like fresh corn or snow peas, but we also love capsicum for amazing colour, celery or cucumber for crunch or a really ripe juicy tomato (try it with watermelon, you’d be surprised!). Cut up all the fruit and veg into roughly the same size and don’t be afraid to happily admit a vegetable is in there if they ask. You could even turn this into a game – how many fruits and vegetables can you find?
7. Don’t Make a Fuss
If your kids don’t like something, don’t make a big deal out of it. Try it again in a different way at a later date. Steamed brussel sprouts might be a no-no, but maybe roasted with pumpkin next time will win them over. The more times you try with different veggies, the more everyday it becomes. Before you know, the kids will be gobbling up their greens before anything else on the plate!
8. Word it Differently
When you say words like “healthy” and “good for you” to a child, it doesn’t really have the same impact that it has on adults. Try telling them the story of the vegetable, where it came from originally and how it got to New Zealand. Kids love a good story, so if you can get them to love the story… they’re way more likely to try the product. Even better - try growing it!
9. Get them involved in the cooking
Involving your kids in the prepping of a meal can have really positive results. Fun ways to engage kids and encourage healthy eating could include chopping up herbs and vegetables, washing the vegetables, picking the leaves off herbs and mixing the ingredients.
Hello Fresh, offers a family plan filled with fresh, natural ingredients and delicious twists on classic dishes.
By providing professional tried-and-tested recipe cards with pre-portioned ingredients, HelloFresh gives you more time to focus on the fun stuff – preparing a wholesome, homemade meal everyone can enjoy.
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