Our kids are vastly different when it comes to their food likes and dislikes. In fact, some days we can almost count on the fact that at the end of a meal, they’ll leave the exact opposite things on their plates. Henry usually leaves the veggies, and Maggie usually leaves the carbs (she clearly did not inherit that habit from me). But regardless, we always try to pay close attention to their vegetable intake to make sure that they’re both getting all kinds of different nutrients and vitamins straight from their food. I remember thinking when Henry was a baby that it was so easy! You blend up whatever veggie you like and you spoon feed it to the kid and they seem to like almost anything. And then one day they’re a toddler and they’re throwing the broccoli at you and suddenly you’re not so smug any more. 😉 Ha! So out of all of our tactics, I wanted to share our favorite five ways to incorporate veggies into your kids’ diet.
Five Ways to Incorporate Veggies into Your Kids’ Diet
First, let me say, I’m not a fan of “hiding” vegetables, or tricking kids into not knowing they’re eating them. One of our goals is to have our kids be aware of what constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle, and another is for them to identify the fruits and veggies that they do like, so we can focus and build on that. So you won’t find any sneaky business here! Just real tips that we use to help our kids eat and enjoy vegetables.
Make a Vegetable Appetizer
We discovered a few months back that if we handed our kids a little bowl of cut bell peppers before a meal, they would munch on them while they colored or read books and we prepared dinner. This has been a game changer for us because then we go into a meal knowing that they’ve already had a serving of vegetables. Other veggies that would be great to try like this would be carrots, snap peas, cucumber or zucchini slices, or cherry tomatoes.
Serve Vegetables Blended
I feel like a major supermom when I can get veggies in during an on-the-go snack time, and these Stonyfield yogurt pouches are brilliant for that. The new flavors incorporate fruits and veggies and my kids absolutely crush these pouches when we bring them with us for a snack. We’ve been on an Apple Cinnamon Sweet Potato kick, and I have to say — the flavor is really top notch. The whole milk keeps it nice and creamy, and we can always depend on Stonyfield to be organic and non-GMO. When we serve veggies like this, blended into a yogurt or a smoothie, I never try to hide the fact that they’re there. Instead I let the kids taste and enjoy it and then call attention to the fact that they’re eating veggies and loving it.
By the way, Stonyfield’s other fruit-veggie flavors are equally awesome; the Strawberry Beet Berry pouch is fan fave for Henry. And we finally got our hands on the Blueberry Apple Carrot flavor, which kind of reminds me of carrot cake with a blueberry twist. So good. And so easy to grab and go if we’re headed out on an errand or an adventure.
Make a Vegetable Dipping Platter
Everything’s better when you dip it, right?! Sometimes we’ll offer our kids a plate of hummus or guacamole with cut up vegetables instead of chips or crackers and let them go to town. Exploring different flavor combinations, tastes, and textures is important in allowing them to decide what they enjoy.
Incorporate Vegetables into Recipes
This is one that can benefit the whole family. If you’re already cooking, see where you can add some vegetables into the mix! Making tacos? Chop up some bell peppers and mix them with the meat. Grilled cheese sandwiches? Thinly slice some zucchini and put a layer in between the slices of bread before you grill it. There are so many ways to add vegetables to meals to bolster your family’s intake. And you can choose to address it or not with your kiddos, but chances are they won’t even notice.
Make Vegetables Fun
When all else fails, make it into a picture. My kids go crazy when I arrange their snacks in the shape of a sun, or a flower, or a bike, or just about anything! Something about that extra bit of imagination helps them stop focusing on the things that they’re afraid they won’t like. It kind of retrains their brains to associate fruits and vegetables with enjoyable, fun experiences. (And it’s cute too!)
Have you ever tried any of our tips? And have you found Stonyfield’s new fruit and veggie flavors in your grocery store yet? Use their product finder here to locate some for your family. And leave a comment with any other tricks you’ve tried to help your family eat more veggies! xoxo
This post is sponsored by Stonyfield. All ideas and opinions are my very own. Thank you for being supportive of the partners who help keep Lovely Indeed rocking!