5 Ways to Help Your Kids WANT to Eat More Vegetables

This is a guest post by Alysa Bajenaru, RD  and originally appeared here.

How do you help your kids want to eat more vegetables?  The simple answer is to offer them more vegetables.

Sound too easy?  I promise, it’s not.  Research has actually shown that the kids who are offered more vegetables eat more vegetables.  Makes sense, right?

But sometimes it doesn’t seem so easy, especially when you hear moans and groans from kids at the dinner table.

Here are five ways to help your kids want to eat more vegetables (notice I didn’t say 5 ways to sneak in more vegetables or 5 ways to get your kids to eat more vegetables.  We want them to want to eat their veggies!).

1. Put out a veggie plate before meals.  Before lunch and dinner, set out a veggie plate or tray for the kids to snack on while you are fixing the meal.  Include vegetables that you know they like along with some new ones, or previously disliked vegetables.  Make the plate colorful and appetizing with bite-sized pieces.

2. Offer dip.  Some vegetables can be too bitter for young taste buds.  Dip can help transform a bitter disliked veggie into a fast favorite.  Try homemade salad dressing, hummus, or Greek yogurt for dipping.

3. Let kids help pick out vegetables at the market.  Kids are curious, let them choose a new vegetable each week to try.  Whether they like it or not, they will be more likely to try it if they had a hand in picking it out.  When they don’t like a vegetable, offer the encouragement that they might like it next time since taste buds change all the time.

4. Grow your own vegetables/herbs.  Whether you have a giant backyard with room for a garden or a fire escape with room for a few pots, you can grow something.  Make it a fun project with your kids to plant, grow, and tend to your veggies and herbs.  Kids who taste vegetables straight off the vine usually fall in love at first bite!

5. Take kids to pick fresh produce at a local farm.  If you have a farm close enough to you, take the kids out on a u-pick day.  Kids love to learn about how things grow, and are more likely to eat vegetables that they pull out of the ground themselves.  If you don’t have a farm near enough with a picking option, visit a local farmer’s market.

And of course, one of the best ways to encourage your kids to eat more vegetables is to eat more vegetables yourself!  Yes, you!  If you are a picky eater, especially with veggies, I encourage you to take either the Hated Veggie Challenge or the New Veggie Adventure Challenge.  I have a feeling that you will surprise yourself with what you thought you didn’t like.

How do you encourage your kids to eat more vegetables?

Alysa Bajenaru channels her life-long passion for nutrition & fitness into encouraging content for readers at inspiredRD.com. Registered Dietitian turned advocate for healthy living in body & soul, Alysa shares recipes for all diets, fitness for the whole family, and stories from the frontlines of her work in justice advocacy.

  • Travelbug0606

    Great suggestions!

  • Jenga

    Great post. Glad you avoided hiding the veggies or drowning them in something unhealthy that they’ll like. And over the long haul, yes! Eating more veggies yourself really works. I have the formerly finicky daughter (now eating beets, broccoli, kohlorabi, etc.) to prove it.

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  • Pat in SNJ

    Some of your articles make good handouts for parents re: nutrition. How can I print them out nicely? Thanks, Pat in SNJ

  • Max_Freedom

    Great ideas!
    I’m a single adult, and I do all this stuff for myself.

  • Carol H.

    Good thing about this is that it also works for adults… many of whom also eat too few veggies. Dip it! Make it taste good! Know anyone who likes plain ground beef with nothing on/in it? Of course not. Everything tastes better with some seasoning, etc. (although many veggies also taste good on their own if cooked/prepped properly). There is a seasoning mix that was originally designed to pair even “difficult to pair” foods (like asparagus) with wine, and now it is being marketed to parents who want kids to eat more veggies: Vignon. In general, it adds more umami notes to the food.

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