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How to Get Kids to Eat More Veggies

by | Jun 12, 2024

Got a picky eater on your hands? KidsStreet has 14 tips to get your kiddo eating more vegetables!

We all need to eat a balanced diet, including our little ones. Incorporating vegetables in our kiddos’ diets helps:

  • Aid in digestion and prevent constipation
  • Promote healthy growth and development
  • Protect against disease now and later in life
  • Strengthen their immune system

So how is mealtime going at your house? Is your tiny tot staging a veggie boycott?

Don’t despair! It’s most likely a phase they will grow out of. Just call your mom and ask her how much you liked veggies at this age!

We know getting those veggies down the hatch can be challenging, so we have some helpful tips for your picky eater.

#1 – Lead by Example

Be a role model for your little one! Load your plate up with healthy servings of vegetables at family meals and pick vegetable snacks between meals. Kids love to imitate the adults in their lives.

#2 – Let Them Pick

Encourage your child to get involved in the meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation processes. Let them pick a new vegetable at the store that neither of you has ever eaten. Have an adventure together eating new healthy foods! Pro-tip: they’re usually a little more gung-ho when it’s their idea.

#3 – Spice it Up

New can be scary. Add seasonings and spices they already like in other foods to give vegetables a more familiar taste.

#4 – Top it Off

Add a few veggies like bell peppers and tomatoes to your kiddo’s favorite pizza. Offer a variety of vegetables to top their burgers and sliders, such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and sprouts.

#5 – Change it Up

Sometimes, it’s not the veggie they object to but the texture or preparation method. Try offering the same vegetables in different forms—raw, boiled, broiled, stir-fried, or air-fried. That baked potato they keep pushing away might be better received as mashed potatoes.    

#6 – Cheese Please

Who doesn’t love drowning vegetables in cheese? Try a cheese sauce over broccoli and cauliflower or add some parmesan cheese to a side dish of squash or green beans.

#7 – Dip and Dunk

Offer a delicious dip, like guacamole, ranch, or hummus, to dunk their sugar snap peas and green beans.

#8 – Sweeten the Deal

Kids generally like sweeter foods, so give naturally sweet vegetables a try. Foods like beets, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato are kid-friendly veggies that can get kids to eat vegetables.

#9 – Kid-Approved Culinary Creations

Try some new kid-friendly vegetable recipes to win over your picky eater. The internet is full of main dish and vegetable side dish recipes and ideas.

#10 – Positive Peer Pressure

Find out your kiddo’s friends’ favorite veggies and serve them next time they’re over for a meal or snack time. They might join in when they see their friends munching on carrot sticks and cucumbers.

#11 – Dress it Up

Let’s face it: celery can look and taste boring. Give it a makeover with peanut butter or cream cheese.

#12 – Make it Fun

Channel your inner Martha Stewart and wow them with a picture-perfect plate of fun. Use cookie cutters to cut cucumbers, eggplant, and squash into cool shapes.

#13 – Opportunity to Educate

Use mealtime to talk about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and healthy eating habits.

#14 – Be Consistent

Serve vegetables. At. Every. Meal. And offer vegetables at snack times.

Sometimes, it can take a while for children to warm up to something new, so consistency is key. Just because they won’t eat the Brussels sprouts today doesn’t mean they’ll never eat them.

Other Sources of Nutrients

Finding the right vegetables for picky eaters can take some time, but the effort is worth it to nourish your kiddo’s growing body. In the meantime, pair those delicious veggies with other good sources of vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A – fish, eggs, dairy
  • Vitamin B – chicken, tuna, milk
  • Vitamin C – beef, seafood, liver
  • Vitamin D – salmon, tuna, egg yolks
  •  Vitamin E – almonds, peanut butter, avocado
  • Vitamin K – pork chops and chicken
  • Folate – eggs, bananas, avocado
  • Calcium – milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Iron – beef, liver
  • Zinc – beef, fish, seafood

Signs for Concern

In most cases, picky eating is a phase that may cause some parental stress and gray hair, but it goes away with creativity and consistency.

Sometimes, there may be some underlying sensory issues that your healthcare provider can help you uncover and address.

You should reach out if you see signs of poor nutrition in your kiddo, such as:

  • Low weight for their height
  • Overweight for their height
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Weaker immune system, or they always seem to be fighting a cold
  • Poor focus

Turn to KidsStreet Urgent Care

Worried about your child’s nutrition? KidsStreet is here to help!

Register online to visit one of our kid-focused clinics. You and your kiddo can conveniently wait at home or in your vehicle. We’ll text you when it’s time to head to the clinic.

KidsStreet loves walk-ins and welcomes them every day! However, we recommend registering ahead of your visit to reduce in-clinic wait times. Walk-ins join the same queue as those who register online. 

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