For many parents, the real challenge with their kids begins when they hit the toddler age. This is the period where young children start being picky about many things, mostly with the food they are eating.
For example, vegetables seem to be almost every child’s least favorite type of food. Kids see different textures and colors and if it doesn’t seem appealing to them, they push it to the side of the plate. But, the importance of eating veggies cannot be overlooked. They contain numerous nutrients that give children energy, enhance their immune system and protect them against chronic diseases.
Luckily, there are many vegetables for kids that are tasty, pleasing and highly nutritious. All you have to do is find a way to make them more appealing to your toddler so they can receive the essential nutrients they need.
Here are some tricks on how to encourage your little one to eat more veggies.
Add veggies to smoothies
Smoothies are the best way to get your toddler to eat more vegetables. In general, these multicolored blends can be made with all kinds of foods to create highly nutritious meals that are perfect for any time of the day.
For example, if your little one is turning their nose up at spinach, you can add this type of veggie to a smoothie alongside fresh or frozen fruits such as bananas, apples, blueberries or kiwis. To make it tastier, creamier and more nourishing, add one tablespoon of rolled oats, some chia seeds and nut butter.
Make servings fun
It has been already established that if the veggies have an unusual texture, taste funny or have a weird smell, there is a great chance that your toddler wouldn’t want to eat them. Therefore, another trick you can employ to encourage them to consume more vegetables is to serve them in a playful way.
For example, you can slice or chop the veggies into different shapes such as stars or hearts and arrange them in a whimsical way on the plate. You can even serve the food in brightly colored bowls with cartoon animations to make the meals more appealing to your toddler.
Go for vegetable variety
Another helpful trick to get your picky toddler to eat vegetables is to introduce more variety to the plate. This means choosing veggies of different shapes, colors, textures and tastes to see which types of foods your child will find the most interesting to eat.
If you use this trick, be sure to introduce a new vegetable with foods your child generally enjoys. This way the main focus of the meal won’t be on the new vegetable, but on the entire plate which will certainly increase the chance of your little one trying the new veggie.
Mix vegetables into favorite dishes
A sneaky, but effective trick to encourage your child to eat more vegetables is to mix them into their favorite dishes without making it too obvious. Most parents do this by making purees of vegetables and combining the blend with other foods such as pasta or meat.
For example, if you are cooking lasagna for your kid, add shredded carrots, beets or zucchini into the meal. Not only will this turn out to be a highly nutritious meal, but it will also make the entire dish tastier and more appealing to your little one.
Prepare them together
It is no secret that toddlers like to be involved in everything, so asking them to prepare their meals together can be another trick to get them to eat their veggies. The more you expose your toddler to new textures, colors and shapes, the more excited they are likely to be about eating vegetables.
So, you can start by taking your little ones grocery shopping and asking them to pick a few vegetables of their choice. Then, allow them to wash the veggies in the sink, sprinkle them into salads and pasta or ask them to help prepare the meals alongside you.
As soon as babies hit the toddler age, they are likely to become picky with their food choices and preferences, more specifically with vegetables. They often eat them based on what they see or smell, without worrying much about the nourishment they get from eating veggies. To change that, you can introduce this type of food group to your child in playful ways to make vegetables more appealing to them.
If you need help, use some of the tricks from this post and increase your little one’s veggie intake effectively.