I’m no Holly Homemaker – but I have had marginal success on this matter. My kids eat (or have eaten) broccoli, apples, plums, peaches, carrots, salad (yes salad), cauliflower and more.
1) You go first!
Let your child observe you eat salad, apples, some broccoli – and ENJOY it! You have to be a live commercial for eating the healthy stuff. (“Mmmm these are really good carrot sticks!”) This should be genuine and reoccurring! Not one fake ditch to get him to do it. If you don’t like brussels sprouts and don’t eat them – don’t expect him too either. And you thought this was only about getting HIM to eat veggies :-)
2) Puree Okay?
I buy frozen veggies; thaw them a bit (sometimes); and throw them in the blender with a touch of water. Then, I use it to lace my spaghetti sauce, taco meat, mac-n-cheese, lasagna, you name it! Takes less than 5 minutes. I use cauliflower mostly because it’s clear and doesn’t really have a taste. Runner-up to that are carrots because their color blends into a lot my dishes. I also use broccoli, but make sure you really puree it because our rascals are smart and pick-up on the color difference. If you do use the frozen veggies, be mindful of the extra water.
3) C’mon let’s dip baby!
Serve a dip or salad dressing to go with the veggies – like ranch dressing dip for broccoli or carrots. But remember, don’t drown your food!
4) How does it feel?
We don’t like our veggies (among other things) limp and neither do kids. Some veggies – like raw carrots – are a little too hard. Some fruit – like cantaloupe – is too soft. This is why you have to switch it up. It’s a game of chess but your little one will help you determine the right move.
5) Try something new – often.
See #4. I also make awesome kale chips. I just bake kale in the oven with a sprinkle of Pam and sea salt and they came out tasting like potato chips! The kids loved these too!
6) Shape Up!
Try different shapes. He may not eat a whole apple – but an apple cut up into the shape of French fries is a winner! Why do you think McDonald’s serves them this way? Try the small carrot sticks too!
7) Melt cheese on it!
Who doesn’t love cheese? Just cover that whole piece of broccoli with cheese – even sliced cheese will do. Make sure it is good and melted, otherwise, he will just peel it off and eat it.
Make a fruit dessert or at least add fruit to the dessert. I don’t buy cookies, and cakes and I sure don’t bake. So for us, fruit, apple sauce and yogurt is the dessert. Try adding honey on fruit (but not too much).
9) Got Juice?
Yes – we’ve made our fair share of the ‘green juices’ with an actual juicer. This worked for a while, because if you make it right (hint hint), a juice with spinach, lettuce and lots of fruit is sweet and the kids love it. The trick is you actually have to do the juicing and not let the machine sit on the shelf collecting dust.
Make sure you put veggies and/or fruit on his plate with every meal – if possible – even when you eat out. It may be weeks before he gets around to actually eating them, but you are setting the precedence that this is how you eat.
OR TRY THIS!
Here’s a completely different approach. Does your child express more interest in the food on your plate than what’s on his – even though it’s the same dish? Does he whine and almost break his neck to get to your food before even tasting his own?
Well – you can throw (almost) everything I just mentioned out of the window and do try reverse psychology.
The next time you sit down to eat together (another hint), only put the veggies and/or fruit on your plate. When he clambers for it, tease him a little (you really want to try this?) and then let him have it.
This is how my child came to eat salad. Do you know he even eats grapefruit and plums and pears- oh my!?
Now, I don’t want to give you false hope. I’m still working on my 2 y.o. who only wants to eat meat and the 4 y.o. is on a hiatus from broccoli. I was so excited that he liked it I served it everyday and he probably overdosed. Go figure. Like everything – it’s an evolving process.
And when ALL ELSE FAILS – I bribe them. Oh yes, some fruit snacks or a small sucker will get the veggies eaten every time! A small counterproductive deal with the devil – but it works.
What do you do to get your child/ children to eat fruits and veggies? Please leave a comment and let me know!