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19 Foolproof Ways to Get Kids to Eat Veggies

Do you have a picky eater? Looking for tricks to get your picky eater to try veggies? These tips are from many parents who agree it can start as a battle, but there are ways to disguise those unwanted veggies. 

If you are in our Facebook group, several months ago now, I shared how I was struggling with my preschooler to eat her veggies. Maybe this is a similar situation in your household.

I was all excited to prepare dinner for my family. I couldn’t wait to try this new recipe and serve it to them with a smile. I even spent a whole hour preparing it.

I place the plate down on the table with that smile, and my kids turn their faces and say, “ew.”

My smile fades, and I want never to serve dinner again.

Okay, maybe a bit dramatic, but at the moment, that is kind of what it feels like. As a mother, we never give up and continue serving dinners to our kids in any way possible. Sometimes you want them to eat anything.

19 Foolproof Ways to Get Kids to Eat Veggies

We’ve come a long way in the dinner process, and I believe that part of it is just the kids growing up. My kids are now five and seven, and it is rare if my seven-year-old doesn’t eat what is served at the table. She wasn’t like that at four years old.

I started telling my kids they were no longer allowed to say” ew,” “I’m not eating that,” or anything negative before they took a bite.

We practice the no thank you bite. That means they have to take a bite and try something before they say no thank you.

ways to trick your kids to eat their vegetables

The kids have to eat as many bites for the age they are. So even if they say they don’t want it or aren’t hungry, they can’t leave the table until they’ve taken their bites.

I love using the Vega protein Mix from BJ’s in the kid’s smoothies!


19 Foolproof Ways to Get Kids to Eat Veggies

The Challenge of Convincing Kids To Eat Veggies

It’s not just a matter of taste – there are psychological aspects at play. Children are wired to be suspicious of new things, including foods, which is a survival mechanism that kicks in as they become more mobile and explore their surroundings.

Additionally, there are genuine biological reasons why kids might not enjoy the taste of certain vegetables; they tend to have more taste buds than adults, making bitter flavors more intense. This, coupled with a preference for the sweetness of many fruits, can make veggies less appealing.

1. Understanding The Obstacles

Begin by identifying why your child might recoil from a bowl of greens. Is it the flavor, texture, or something deeper, like a learned aversion? Acknowledging the dislike is the first step in finding a solution.

2. Creative Meal Ideas

Creating a positive relationship with veggies starts in the kitchen. It’s here that you’re not only cooking food but cooking up experiences and expectations of food that will last a lifetime.

Try veggie-packed recipes that are designed to appeal to young palates. For example, hide pureed vegetables in spaghetti sauce, bake them into savory muffins, or make veggie pizzas with a rainbow of toppings.

3. Involving Kids in Food Preparation

Getting kids involved in cooking can pique their interest in trying new foods. They get to use their senses to learn about and appreciate the different foods. Start with age-appropriate tasks, like washing vegetables, stirring a soup, or tearing lettuce for a salad.

4. Making Veggies Appealing

It’s all about presentation. Kids eat with their eyes first and if it looks boring, it doesn’t stand a chance. Use cookie cutters to shape veggies into fun forms, serve them with a tasty dip, or create a ‘build your own’ salad bar at home.

5. Setting a Good Example

Children mimic the behavior of their parents. If they see you enjoying a salad, they’re more likely to want one too. Make a conscious effort to eat vegetables at meals and as snacks.

6. Being Patient and Persistent

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are healthy eating habits. Introduce new vegetables gradually and don’t be discouraged if it takes multiple tries before they’re accepted.

7. Celebrating Success

When your child willingly eats a vegetable, acknowledge it and offer praise. Whether it’s a quiet nod of approval or an all-out family celebration, positivity can reinforce good habits.

Now, Are All Failsafes Fail-Proof?

Certainly not. Every child is different, and what works for one might be a dismal failure for another. The goal is to keep trying different strategies with patience and persistence, and to remember that small, positive changes in eating habits are victories worth celebrating.

19 Foolproof Ways to Get Kids to Eat Veggies

To help get my picky eater to try some veggies I reached out to the Facebook group and here is what everyone offered.

  • Zucchini muffins with chocolate chips 
  • Using Vega protein chocolate mix in baked goods
  • Smoothies are always a safe fun choice
  • purée sweet potatoes or butternut squash for things like homemade Mac and cheese
  •  roasted tomatoes, red bell peppers, onions and garlic then blend it to make tomato soup for grilled cheese
  • Cauliflower Chicken Nuggets
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Tell your kids they can’t have your veggies
  • No snacks an hour before dinner
  • Puréed Swiss chard in smoothies
  • Zucchini chocolate cake
  • Spinach chopped in meatloaf- tell them it’s parsley
  • Carrot cake muffins
  • Some kids it works for less pressure, just ignore them and before you know it they are eating veggies.
  • Reward trying a veggie with a special treat
  • Make the food into fun shapes using cookie cutters
  • Start by serving them only the veggies they do like
  • Add lots of butter- some vegetables like kale, broccoli has a  bitter taste and butter can cut that down
  • Give your child two options, for example, ask if they want carrots or broccoli.

The best thing you can do is not to give up. I know it’s hard many times I wanted to throw in the towel on any new veggies, but persistence is key. We’ve come a long way into getting our now five-year-old to try everything, even if she thinks she doesn’t like it.

When she tries something and likes it, we emphasize how important it is always to try something. Then I sneak in spinach in many dishes and disguise it as parsley.

Another personal tip that has helped is having the girls help make dinner when they can. They feel so proud when we sit down, and I announce, “Mackenzie made this dinner tonight.” So many times in parenting, especially with young children, we get so caught up in what they should be doing that we forget to be still with them. The more I stressed and got upset over dinner, the more resistance my children had.

Just keep doing the best you can and keep trying those veggies. Experts say it takes 10 times or more exposure to the food before a child feels comfortable and accepts it. I know that was not the case when we were kids.

Either way, I hope this article inspired you a little bit to try different things with your picky eaters at home.

Now leave sharing with us how you sneak veggies to your kids or tips for getting your kids to eat veggies?


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