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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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?