Getting your kid to eat vegetables, much less enjoy them, can be tricky if you have a picky eater. However, some vegetables are easier for kids to enjoy than others. Beans, cauliflower, squash, and carrots can all be enjoyed in a variety of ways and are great examples of healthy foods for kids. A few simple tips can help you navigate picky eating with your little one. From fun shapes, dips, and flavors there are tons of ways to encourage vegetables in your kids diet.
Make food fun
Kids love to play, and mealtime is no exception. Try shaping broccoli, carrot sticks, and ranch dip like trees and clouds on a plate. Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of cucumbers. Serve small portions of different vegetables in ice cube trays along with a variety of dips. Try frozen peas or corn (served frozen) for chilly change. Kiddos love mashed potatoes, try adding a bit of pureed beet, beet juice, or beet powder for a fun (nutritious) color change in your spuds. By using creative ideas for picky eaters, kids are more likely to touch, smell, and even taste the vegetables you are serving.
Try something sweet
Kids are naturally drawn to sweet foods so try vegetables that are naturally sweet. Carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, butternut squash are all naturally sweet. Try roasting carrots and butternut squash for added natural sweetness when the natural sugars caramelize in the oven. Looking for something sweeter? A sure recipe for picky kids is black bean brownies. A quick drained and rinsed can of black beans and a box of brownie mix blended together and baked, makes a favorite treat a little more fiber-ful and packed with protein. You can even make brownies with sweet potato or beets!
Bump up favorites
Does your kiddo have favorites like macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes? Try using pureed cauliflower to add a non-starchy vegetable to mashed potatoes. Try adding pureed cauliflower, sweet potato, or squash to cheese sauce in macaroni and cheese. Research shows that adding vegetable purees to foods can increase vegetable consumption. In a pinch for time? Try this tasty cauliflower powered mac & cheese. Another quick home run is this cheesy pocket sandwich. These sneaky vegetables can easily add nutrients in favorite foods, turning them into healthy meals for picky eaters.
Lead by example
Your little ones are always watching, good or bad! Which means they are watching you at the dinner table and what you eat. Research shows that parental intake of vegetables is a positive influence on children's intake of vegetables. By eating vegetables at meals and snacks you are showing your child that you value those foods, and they will value them too, even if it takes them a little longer to get there.
Try meat extenders
Anytime you use a recipe with ground beef, turkey, pork, sausage, etc. you can use veggies to bulk up the meal, keep costs down, and sneak in nutrients. Meat extenders, such as mushrooms or lentils, can be cooked and mixed into ground meat dishes. You can also use grated carrots or cooked squash in spaghetti sauce. When added into dishes like lasagna, sloppy joes, or meatloaf these hidden veggies add nutrients and give your child exposures to vegetables, even if they don’t know it! Using vegetables to increase the amount of “main dish” is also a great way to stretch your food dollar and save time. Veggies, such as mushrooms, are typically cheaper than most meats. Adding veggies means more of your “meat” so you have some to freeze or enjoy the next day!
Yumble can help you give your kids healthy meals and snacks that are packed with veggies they’ll love. Whether they are hidden in creamy sauces or packed with flavor on the side, Yumble’s veggies are sure to please picky eaters. A kids meal delivery service, Yumble provides variety, convenience, and nutritious meals made just for kids.
Looking for healthy and easy kids meals for picky eaters? Yumble delivers fresh, delicious, fully prepared kids' meals right to your doorstep so you don’t have to worry about preparing nutritious, balanced meals every day. Simply pick the plan that works best for your family, choose your weekly meals, and Yumble will take care of the rest! No hot oven or stove required!