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10 tips to get your kids to eat more veggies

Updated: Jan 5, 2022


I’m often asked how I get my daughter to eat healthy. It can definitely be a challenge, but with a little persistence, patience and love, you’ll be amazed at the results. In this post I share my 10 Tips to get your kids to eat more veggies.

First off, disclaimer. We’re not perfect. We battle it out sometimes too – especially when it comes to anything with sugar.

In fact, we found this new ice cream shop by our house called Five f(x) that will create ice cream out of soy milk, almond milk or coconut milk right in front of your eyes! You can have topped with fruit, candy or whatever. Now that we found this special occasion shop, my daughter wants to go every day. This leads me to tip number 1.




1. If you don’t want them to eat something, don’t have it in the house. It will save TONS of whining, complaining and arguing. You can then redirect them to more healthful things – like steamed edamame or frozen blueberries or grapes.


Next step; if they can handle it without a tantrum, bring them to the grocery store and let them pick out which fruit or veggie they'd like to try!


Pro tip: Make sure you and the kids are FULL when you go to the grocery store. Don't go when any of you are hungry because you'll be more apt to agree to unhealthful foods.

2. Let them help you grow it, harvest it and/or choose it. Allowing kids to have a choice about something NEW to try is a great way to start a discussion and build interest. I’m now going into the second season of learning how to garden or about permaculture design. For me, it’s a must-have skill for being able to take care of myself and to teach my daughter so she’ll know where her food is coming from. Our food system is broken and I predict it will get worse.

3. Be a great example. If you make a face when you eat it, your kids will too. Learn to love your veggies and shift your mindset to enjoy the prep work. Turn on a little music, light a candle and think of it as a mindless task you can relax with.

4. Encourage them to watch other kids eat their veggies. One of the best things ever was watching the kids in our after-school cooking classes eat their veggies. Even the self-proclaimed veggie haters were eating their veggies. Finally, a way to use peer pressure as a force for good!




5. If they can build it, they will eat it. Take a page from the Lunchables book.

According to Michael Moss, author of Salt, Sugar, Fat. How the Food Giants Hooked Us, the creators of Lunchables found that kids didn’t really like their cold, tasteless food-like substances. Sales of their new line were less than stellar and they set a team of researchers to find out why. After lots of testing, they found that children would eat just about anything if it were cut into fun shapes and if they could build it themselves. In fact, kids would devour these disgusting, nutrient deficient, highly processed “meals” using this method because kids love playing with their food.

Foods that the original creators would never even feed their own children.

You can use this technique to help kids get excited about more nutrient dense, healing foods that take a little getting used to. It’s gonna be a little more work, but in the end it will be SOOOO worth it.

Here are a few ideas I was playing around with as I tested the creation of a Lunchable type product for kids….


  1. Natural sunflower seed butter and jelly with spaceship and planet sandwich DeLand bread, sliced apples and fresh carrots.

  2. Build-your-own pizza with homemade sauce, naan bread cut into spaceships and planet mozzarella made with seasoned tofu. Cucumber and citrus slices on the side.

  3. Taco salad and fresh fruit and veggie salad. A seasoned bean mixture with crispy tortillas and planet “cheese”.

  4. Another, simpler build your own pizza with DeLand, gluten free bread, slices of “mozzarella” seasoned tofu, tomato sauce and cucumbers and citrus on the side.



6. Never force them to eat anything – BUT if they aren’t hungry enough to eat their veggies, they aren’t hungry enough for another helping of main meal or dessert.

7. Be persistent – it can take up to 13 tries for a child (or adult!) to start enjoying a new food and develop a taste for it. It’s important to remind them of this too and encourage them to try it.

8. Reward with non-food activities. When kids try or eat their veggies for one straight week, they get a free voucher for the park or another place they can be active, such as Rebounderz or Slinkee’s. This allows them to burn calories and enjoy spending time with you. Stay away from plastic, single use trinkets that will end up being thrown away or ever rewarding with sugar.




9. Let them dip – try my Three-Ingredient Ranch Dip for veggies, or my Lemony Vanilla Yogurt "Frosting" Dip for them to dip fruit skewers. (see recipes below)


10. Make it fun! Cut fun shapes using veggie cutters.


 



Grape Skewers with Lemon Vanilla “Frosting” Dip


Serves 2-4 (1/2 cup fruit with generous 3 Tbsp frosting.)

Vegan, Gluten Free


Ingredients


1 cup grapes

1 cup blueberries

1 60z vanilla yogurt (I used non-dairy almond yogurt)

1 Tbsp agave (or local honey)

1 pinch coarse sea salt

1 tsp lemon zest


Directions


1. Skewer two blueberries and one grape on toothpicks.

2. Mix yogurt, agave, sea salt and lemon zest in a small bowl.

3. Dip grape skewers into yogurt mixture and enjoy!

**Tip: the grape skewers are delicious frozen too!


Nutrition Facts

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving


Calories 98.6

Total Fat 1.8 g

Saturated Fat 0.2 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g

Cholesterol 0.0 mg

Sodium 43.8 mg

Potassium 80.9 mg

Total Carbohydrate 20.6 g

Dietary Fiber 1.6 g

Sugars 17.1 g

Protein 1.0 g


 



Three Ingredient Vegan Ranch


Serves 4

Prep Time 5 min

Total Time 5 min


Ingredients


1/4 cups Pesto Vegenaise (or regular with 1 tsp dairy-free ranch seasoning)

1 Tbsp plain non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)

1 tsp coarse ground prepared mustard


Directions


Mix all ingredients in a small bowl or dish. Use as dip, dressing or spread!


Notes

Vegan, Gluten Free

By Dawn Hutchins


Nutrition Facts

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 93.1

Total Fat 9.0 g

Saturated Fat 0.5 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g

Cholesterol 0.0 mg

Sodium 116.4 mg

Potassium 0.0 mg

Total Carbohydrate 0.4 g

Dietary Fiber 0.0

Sugars 0.0 g

Protein 0.0 g

Vitamin E 0.1 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


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