By: Jennifer Murray

25 Tips to Encourage Kids to Eat Their Veggies: From a Mom Who’s Tried Them All

25 Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Veggies

We’ve all been there – coaxing, encouraging, bribing, battling to get more veggies down our kids’ hatches.  My kids certainly aren’t the perfect veggie consumers, but we’ve all made great strides. They are almost always willing to try, they tolerate several varieties, and they even like a handful.

Here’s some tips and ideas that have helped encourage healthy veggie eating habits in our house: 

1. If at first you don’t succeed… keep on trying! Continue to put veggies that they’ve refused before on their plates and encouraging them to give them another try.

2. Put veggies in a muffin tin or something appealing and finger friendly.

3. Offer veggies for snack instead of carbs or fillers that will take away from the nutritional value of a meal.

4. Set the example. Kids aren’t going to be likely to eat vegetables if they are eating them alone.

5. Start a vegetable or container garden. If kids have a part in growing/caring for what they eat, they are much more likely to consume their “harvest”.

 

6. Experiment with colors – try yellow carrots for a change, or purple cauliflower, or a rainbow assortment.

7. Explain why vegetables are important to their health, and how they are important to their growth and staying well.

8. Offer veggies first, then when they have been eaten offer the rest of the meal.

9. Sneak veggies in to other likeable foods. Examples: spaghetti sauce, smoothies, quesadillas, pizza, sandwich spreads, etc. (The Sneaky Chef has great recipes and ideas.)

 

10.  Don’t knock it until you try it – before they refuse it completely encourage them to try at least one medium sized bite.

11. Don’t put the pressure on them of eating it all. Be reasonable, and encourage them to try over finish.

12. Reduce the amount of sugar in their diets.

13. Try painting with vegetables – potatoes, celery stalks, etc. Again, familiarity may be in your favor!

painting and stamping with vegetables

14. Try juicing and smoothies. Often times texture holds kids back from liking vegetables over taste.

15. Play with your veggies. There are some great veggie sets, including these from Melissa and Doug and this IKEA vegetable set that allow your kids to become more familiar with a variety of vegetables.

16. Go grocery shopping and allow them to pick out one new vegetable to try for the week.

17. Visit a farm or a local farmer’s market and learn more about growing vegetables.

18. Plant vegetable seeds inside and watch them grow.

19. Make it a game. Roll a dice to see how many bites they have to eat. Make up a veggie rhyming game. Anything to make it fun and not stressful!

 

20. When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip. Try a variety of dips – hummus, yogurt,  salsa, and guacamole are all great choices.

21. Can the Can. There are more benefits in both taste, nutritional value, and overall appeal  in going with fresh or frozen.

22. Make it portable. Veggies are great for on the go if you plan ahead like with these veggie cups:

 

23. Involve your kids in making the meal. Again like gardening, if they have ownership in they will be more likely to eat what you’ve made together. Eating becomes an experience rather than a chore.

24. Make veggies into edible art. Ants on a log, cucumber snakes, and more ideas on my “Getting Kids to Eat Their Veggies” Pinterest Board!

 

25. Wait it out. If you’re child is putting up a fight or having a veggie revolt, it is most likely just a phase. The less you stress, the less likely they will hold out forever. =)

What tips and tricks do YOU have on getting your kids to “veg”?

There are lots more ideas on my Pinterest “Getting Kids to Eat Their Veg” Board(Reminder if you pin one of the Pinterest ideas on this post, please pin the original source.)

22 Responses to “25 Tips to Encourage Kids to Eat Their Veggies: From a Mom Who’s Tried Them All”

  1. Crystal
    April 17, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Jack, my oldest, is a vegetarian completely by choice. Most meals, I make him a giant salad with tons of veggies. And yes, I have actually said the following: “You can’t have any more tomatoes until you try some pizza.” Honestly, I just wish he would eat something besides veggies and fruit! But he’s picky and refuses to try new things, no matter tricks I try.

    • QuatroMama
      April 20, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      There’s always a flip side, right? Sounds like he’s a “confident” eater. =)

  2. Grady Pruitt
    April 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    I found Dr. Seuss to be a big help carrying out #10. The whole point of the book is to give it a try because you just might like it. So any time our kids say “no” to something, all we have to do is say “Green Eggs and Ham!”

    These are all some great tips! Love the scooter! 😀

    Thanks for sharing!
    Grady Pruitt recently posted.. Do you have good thinking habits?

    • QuatroMama
      April 20, 2012 at 10:22 am #

      Thanks, Grady! Like the Seuess reference!

  3. Miranda @ A ThankFULL Heart
    April 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Very great list of ideas! My daughter is pretty great with veggies, thankfully. My little quirky girl prefers peppers to main meals which is a struggle in of itself.
    Miranda @ A ThankFULL Heart recently posted.. What I’m Loving

    • QuatroMama
      April 20, 2012 at 10:21 am #

      Hope this list can help with some “fresh” ideas. =)

  4. Emily Hasselbeck
    April 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    I saw this one on the Today show recently: Use your veggie peeler to make “ribbons” of veggies- they can be cooked or eaten raw, but they looked pretty cool! 🙂 I want to try it! Also- I credit my parents a lot with being willing to try anything and everything at least once. We had a one bite rule in our house. You always had to take one bite of everything on your plate. There were times that my brother and I hated this rule, but I think it paid off in the end- he used to be SUPER picky and now he eats pretty much everything. I have implemented it with my “Little Sister” and she eats much more now than she used to, also! Thanks for the fun tips- even though we don’t have kids (yet) it’s fun to see what options are out there- or use them for creative party ideas and such! 🙂

    • QuatroMama
      April 20, 2012 at 10:21 am #

      This is genius, and I’m stealing it! Thanks for passing this along, Em! You are an AMAZING big sister! She’s so blessed to have you in her life!

  5. Craig
    April 18, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Oh my gosh!! this is the most incredibly brilliant vegetable post I have EVER read. So many tips. If my mom tried only one or two of them I’d be a much better veggie eater. as of right now, I don’t eat any of the “adult” veggies – no color flower, no asparagus, brussels sprouts, no spinach 🙁 I have one more tip though – one that I know works because EVERY grown man is still a little boy – and we can be trained. Every kid likes SOME veggies, even the ones that aren’t veggies, like corn and tomatoes, I’d say when you stumble on finding a veggie they like, or two, or three – bring them on – and allow them to “hate” some veggies with passion! Anyway, this was hilarious, and fun, and I smiled all the way through it – thank you! God bless and keep you had each and every one of yours Jen.
    Craig recently posted.. Love resurrects hope from ashes

  6. Fran Reese
    April 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    love your way with words. You and Brad r special. The boys are blessed. And a blessing.

    • QuatroMama
      April 20, 2012 at 10:20 am #

      Oh Fran, your words are always a source of such encouragement. Thank you, Friend!

  7. Jolene @ Yummy Inspirations
    April 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    Thanks for the great advice, will be experimenting with a fair few of these with my boys!
    Jolene @ Yummy Inspirations recently posted.. Duck on a Lake Bento Lunchbox

  8. Krista
    April 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Thank you for this! Claire is a pick veggie eater, and even though she just turned 1 I can try some of these with her!

    • QuatroMama
      April 20, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Krista, I would LOVE to meet her one of these days! She is growing up sooooo fast!

  9. Katie
    April 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Seriously, the garden is my best friend when it comes to getting the kids to eat veggies. They eat SO MANY more in the summer when our garden is fully loaded.

    And I love the one above about using the veggie peeler. I’m totally trying that one this week!
    Katie recently posted.. On being content…

    • QuatroMama
      April 20, 2012 at 10:15 am #

      Me too! Genius idea!
      Planting our green beans and corn today – so excited to watch them grow!

  10. Barbara Manatee
    April 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    Great ideas! We have a huge garden and my kids are definitely more interested in eating veggies that come from our own backyard – especially when they can see them grow and help pick them! Our 5 year old twins like to help us cook too so we often make salads and we cut it all up and they make the salads by filling up lettuce and sorting out the veggies/toppings. They really enjoy that!
    Barbara Manatee recently posted.. Autism is Amazing

  11. Jennifer
    April 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    I have made it my goal this year to get more veggies into all of us. We even bought a juicer! I made a deal with my son who hates any orange veggie – if he juices he has to add a 1/2 carrot. He does it and barely notices and I get orange veggies into him.

    Joining a CSA has forced us to try kale, brussels sprouts, purple and yellow cauliflower, turnips, beets and more. We are so much more adventurous!

  12. JDaniel4's Mom
    May 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    My guys has just started getting picky. I will have to start the dice game.
    JDaniel4’s Mom recently posted.. Examining His Learning Choices

  13. Amanda Crowther
    July 8, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    One bite a small bite as medium size might be to big for some kids is bit better rule. Also I know what parents always said don’t play with your food get over that notion its ok for you and your kids to play with your food. Ask your kid to role play with his or her veggies you are the big gaint how many trees(broccoli) can the gaint eat. You can also try fairy,princess, engineer, conductor or piliot depending on nature od vegetables like how many wheels if veggie in circle can ant the of above eat.

    I know older people are going to hate this but at least once a month allow your child to eat with only hands. Also if child is going thru kitty,puppy or dinosaur phase challenge child to eat with out his or her hands or utensils only face in food on table of course and only at home for obvious reasons.

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