One of the most popular questions I get is, ‘how do I get my kid to eat vegetables?’ To me, it’s not just a valid concern or a common concern, but a serious situation. Truth is, I grew up eating lots of vegetables and loving it because my parents were big on Exploration. They allowed me to figure out what texture differed from others and they wanted to expand my palette. And for that, I am so grateful.
Naturally, I’ve done the same for my kids – throwing everything I could find while they were (and are) so young. And I’d like to think I’ve taken many of my Parents lessons and have evolved creatively.
There are so many gorgeous types of produce available compared to when I was little. The colours scream at me and it is not unusual for me to do cartwheels at our local market.
Here are a few of my tips that have been successful for me:
1. Just like a dessert bar, create a cute and bright salad bar. This doesn’t mean they ‘have’ to eat leafy greens, it just means that introducing greens or other vegetables (and fruit) can be unconventional. It gets them in there and they will be able to take ownership for their choices.
2. Salad toppings! Man, this really works! I roast a lot of veggies. And I also dry fruit. When many of them caramazlizes and crunch up, they are so much more appealing and tasty for kids. I don’t ever remember giving my kids croutons, not that I’m against it, they’ve just had fresher items to choose from. Roasted tomatoes, crispy onions, roasted radishes, crunchy fruit like dried apples and dried peaches are favs; the list does go on.
3. Something strange and often different can capture your kids attention. But instead of adding gummy worms or m&ms in their bowls, try things that they never ever would see elsewhere. Seaweed, pretzels, shrimp, edamame beans, dark chocolate, green-peas, toasted tortillas and so on. Make it weird!!
3. When you’re out and about at a farm, or markets or even the grocery store, get the kids a basket. Encourage them to add items that look interesting, curious and vibrant. Feature each choice on a platter (when you get home) – give them the spotlight – and get each family member to try it and make notes on what they thought and tasted. One or two of these could easily be the new family favorite!
You’ll get there!!