I get a lot of questions from moms along the lines of: “How do you get your kids to eat vegetables?”
For those of you out there with little ones, you know that this can be a big struggle.
Getting your stubborn little toddler to eat his/her veggies can prove to be much more difficult a task than you would expect. Even if you started out your baby with avocado as his/her first food, they can randomly veto it at the drop of a hat.
Sure, you can blame it on texture issues or a bad experience at the dinner table. But, eventually…say a few weeks, months, or even years later, you are going to try and introduce (or re-introduce, for that matter) those healthy, delicious veggies into their diet. Mothers, am I right?
That’s why I decided to write this post. I myself have been stuck between a rock and a hard place trying desperately to get my 3 1/2 year old to eat his veggies and try some new ones. We’ve had some difficult moments…Moments where mommy throws up her hands in the air and says, “Whatever. We will try again tomorrow.”
Thankfully, we’ve had some big breakthroughs lately and my son is eating more veggies now than ever before! There are some tricks and tips I’ve picked up along the way that I am excited to share with you. So, let’s dive in!
Tips and Tricks Revealed:
1. Be Patient, Yet Persistent.
Let’s be honest. When you get into a full on struggle with your toddler over trying to get them to eat their vegetables, you don’t really want to keep trying and trying. It gets wearisome.
HOWEVER, patience and persistence and are both key. Keep offering the veggies at every meal.
2. Offer Vegetables First.
When I gave my toddler his veggies, protein and carbs all at the same time on his plate, what do you think happened? Yep, you guess it. He ate everything on his plate EXCEPT those vegetables.
I have now learned to save his ‘favorites’ ( chicken, sweet potato etc) for after he eats his vegetables. I give him his plate for dinner filled with vegetables and explain that he needs to ‘eat these first’ and ‘then you get the rest of your dinner’. This has worked really well for us, so far.
3. Use Special Sauces and Dressings
This is BEST tip I have discovered, thus far. You can’t go wrong drizzling your child’s favorite special sauces and dressings over their vegetables. This has worked liked magic for us.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Tahini Dressing ( Click HERE to get the recipe)
- Ranch Dressing ( We love THIS brand)
- Salsas (just make sure they are organic and sugar-free) (Click HERE to get the recipe)
- Hummus ( just make sure it’s made with non-gmo oils – olive oil is best)
- Guacamole ( Click HERE to get the recipe)
- Mayo – Seasoned mayo like Chipotle Mayo or Garlic Aioli (We love THIS brand)
4. Reward with Healthy Treat
I know this may seem counterintuitive and not a habit you want to start. However, my reasoning behind giving rewards for eating vegetables is that it will get the job done.
Some healthy treat ideas are:
- Organic, Sugar-free Yogurt
- Organic Cheeses
- Organic Kefir
- Handful of nuts (Macadamia, Pecans, Walnuts, Almonds)
- 1/2 Healthy bar (Primal Kitchen – Dark Chocolate Almond Collagen Protein Bars, Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bars, Epic Bar, 100% Grass Fed, Venison bar )
- Avocado Pudding (Click HERE for easy recipe)
- Small Piece of Organic Chocolate (low sugar) (We love THIS brand )
The end goal is to train your child’s taste buds to like the taste of vegetables. But for this to happen, first and foremost, your child needs to have a healthy gut made up of mostly beneficial gut bacteria, in a variety and diversity of strains. Once your child starts eating vegetables on a regular basis, the beneficial gut flora in his/her gut will become healthier and stronger. This will change the balance in his/her microbiome to be predominantly ruled by beneficial gut bacteria. Which will change his/her cravings for certain foods.
But it all begins with getting some sort of vegetable in your child’s body. And then, slowly but surely, they will start to eat more.
I can testify to this with my son. He was all about starches, dairy and protein. That’s all he would eat. And when you tried to get him to ‘just take one bite’ of a vegetable, he would refuse. He even stopped eating fermented vegetables which he had eaten since he was a baby.
With lots of patience, persistence, and using the tricks listed above, he slowly but surly started eating more vegetables. As the bacteria in his gut began to change, he even started asking for the cultured vegetables again. I was shocked beyond belief!
Thanks for reading and I hope you will find some of these tips helpful in getting your little one to eat their veggies!