Iíve met a few kids in my time who have never had more vegetables than a carrot stick and, if they had to guess what an artichoke is, would say itís a karate move. But not my kids, of course. They eat their vegetables all the time. At least sometimes. I mean, they all go through phases of pickiness, but when itís all said and done, they eat almost every vegetable there is. Whatís my secret? Well, I have 10 of themÖ
1. Serve them raw. Seriously, have you ever eaten a raw pea? Itís heaven on earth. No need for butter. Kids eat them like candy. I put a plate of raw cut-up veggies on the dinner table every nightóyes, carrot sticks, but also sweet red peppers, celery, fresh peas. Cauliflower and tomatoes.
2. Let them have dip. Itís not the end of the world if they have a bit of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing on their veggies (in fact, there is an organic version of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing). It does make a piece of raw broccoli really much more yummy.
3. Plant a garden. Studies show that kids who grow veggies themselves will eat almost anything. Iíve seen it with my own eyes. If you are growing an organic garden, kids can eat stuff right out of the garden without rinsing. Unless itís a carrot or potato or something like that (for you non-gardeners, those veggies grow underground, so they are covered in dirt when you harvest them).
4. Just add butter. Organic butter, of course, but a little bit never hurt anyone. And some vegetables, like spinach or kale, need a bit of oil for their nutrients to be absorbed better into our bodies. Corn on the cobÖneed I say more?
5. Add them to soup. Itís amazing what kids will eat when itís submerged in a savory broth. If you suspect they wonít like something, chop it up till itís really tiny. After a half hour in the soup, it will magically disappear!
6. Make a chopped vegetable salad. Same principleócut up lots of raw veggies into cute little bits, add your familyís favorite dressing (ours is a simple vinaigrette), and even add some toasted nuts, and you have a really crunchy festival of vegetables.
7. Roast them till they are crispy and golden. Take cauliflower, for instanceóitís a tough vegetable to love if youíre a kid. But what I do is cut up a head of cauliflower, coat the tiny pieces liberally with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast at 350į for about a half hour and you have little brown bits of deliciousness. You can do the same with carrots, asparagus, and lots of other good things.
8. Get them to help you prepare them. I learned this when I was shelling lima beans one day. Suddenly, kids wanted to help and they all sat on the counter and helped shell the limas. Funny, but not many ended up in the pot. Limas are surprisingly good raw.
9. Cover in cheese. After all, kids need calcium too. There is no harm in having a little bit of melted cheese with your veggiesóespecially ones like broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, and other unusuals.
10. Eat them yourself! Most kids Iíve met who donít eat their veggies have parents who donít eat their veggiesÖbusted! Kids love to copy what we do, so we must do what is right for them. Turns out itís right for us, too.
What are your tips and tricks and techniques for getting kids to eat their vegetables?