Your kids will say YES to veggies!
Getting children to eat their vegetables is easy when they are included in the food preparation and parents present them in a child-friendly manner.
For generations, parents have been wondering how to get their children to eat vegetables. The Center for Disease Control reports that less than 17% of Michigan teenagers eat the minimum recommendation of fruits and vegetables a day. Research shows that diets high in these foods can decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and help with weight control.
Getting your children to enjoy vegetables can start both at the store and at home during food preparation. At the grocery store, have your children choose new fruits and vegetables to try. At home, have your young ones help wash and scrub vegetables, name and count foods, pull stems from grapes and identify fruit and vegetable colors. School-age children can spread toppings on veggies, mix vegetable dip together, and slice sweet pepper or cucumbers. New research also shows that children and adults of all ages prefer their vegetables steamed or boiled so the food retains its crunch. Try this at home by steaming carrots or beans. Steam to the point of crisp tender and serve.
Looking for recipe ideas to serve vegetables that kids will actually eat? Here are some tasty favorites for kids who can chew and swallow well:
- Kids love finger foods to dip. Try peppers, cucumbers, sweet peppers, or broccoli dipped with low fat dressing or hummus.
- Finely chop carrots or peppers to add to spaghetti sauce.
- Add vegetables like onions, water chestnuts, or broccoli to a stir fry.
- Experiment with edamame! These green soybeans are full of vitamins and minerals and are the only vegetable offering a complete protein. Kids love to use their fingers to pop the beans out of their fuzzy pods.
- Make homemade salsa using tomatoes, peppers, and onions to dip with whole grain tortilla chips.
- Serve celery sticks filled with peanut butter.
- Try frozen peas! There is something about this frozen treat that kids just love.
- Steam broccoli and serve with a cheese sauce.
Snacking on vegetables promotes good health by supplying important nutrients without adding too many calories. By teaching your children to choose and enjoy healthy choices today, you are setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.