Kids and Vegetables

How can I get my kids to eat more vegetables?

This is a big question for parents, who are so often concerned about whether their kids are in fact, eating enough, let alone any vegetables. Some parents have told me that their kids naturally prefer sweeter vegetables when they’re young, like sweet potatoes and winter squash. Others have kids Ray Ban outlet with salt-loving palates so they’re might happily much on a spicy radish or a cabbage leaf. Another tip I’ve heard is that you’ve got to keep the vegetables simple and not let them touch other foods or get mixed up with other vegetables.small cabbage heads close

But from what I’ve observed among the kids I know who scarf down vegetables with gusto is that their parents do, too! 

While I don’t deny that an individual’s palette does count for something, as do kids finicky wishes for foods to never touch one another, I’m pretty convinced that what parents eat— and enjoy— has the greatest impact on what their children eat. Vegetables included. If Mom and Dad aren’t eating any, why should I?

Sometimes parents who have asked me this question have confessed that they don’t eat vegetables themselves, and that they’re cooking them just for their children because they know they should.  If this is your case, then you might start by asking yourself what vegetables you think you might like to eat. Then, get started. Cook your chosen vegetable in a very simple, straightforward way at first, then try variations. Use a cookbook if you’re not sure how to begin. I’m pretty sure that eating with what appeals to you is more important than starting with a vegetable that someone has said you should eat. A sautéed sweet red pepper might have your name on it before kale does, and once you’ve cooked it, be sure to sit down and eat it with your children.

What’s your success story with kids and vegetables?  I’d love to know!

3 thoughts on “Kids and Vegetables

  1. Candace

    It’s been my experience that the age of the kid matters a lot. When my son was 2 he would eat anything and now that he’s 5 he won’t eat much beyond macaroni and cheese. This has been the experience of several friends, too. I don’t want to turn food into a battleground, so we’re continuing to eat vegetables in front of him and waiting it out. One thing I do is say “Oh, ok, I guess you don’t like that yet” which leaves open the possibility that he will start to like whatever it is later.

  2. Deborah

    Candace –
    That’s so interesting about the age difference. I really applaud you’re not wanting to turn food into a battleground – so wise! What a great approach to leave the door open, which it will, I’m sure. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Lynne Christy Anderson

    I agree it’s more likely that kids will eat a wider array of foods if the adults around them are doing so. Still, as Candace describes, it can be a challenge. How about getting your kids to help cook the vegetables? When they’re involved in the food preparation, it piques their interest and they sometimes feel a little more invested in the meal. It’s partly their creation, after all, and they may find they actually like those carrots.
    I think many immigrant families have been successful in getting younger generations to eat balanced meals because, often, everyone’s involved in the kitchen. I’ve cooked with families where the kids piled second and third helpings of curried okra or Lebanese chick pea, tomato, and parsely salad onto their plates without ever being reminded they needed to eat their vegetables.

    Lynne Christy Anderson
    Author, “Breaking Bread: Recipes and Stories from Immigrant Kitchens”


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