Let’s be honest, getting our kids to eat fruit and vegetables is a constant battle. We are always trying new strategies but at times it feels like we are set up to fail. Our kids are picky eaters. One day they’ll eat a certain vegetable or fruit and the next day they won’t. The grocery aisle is filled with character-covered, sugar-filled, enticing food and sorry broccoli you don’t stand a chance.
Before we jump into these healthy eating strategies, I want to give a quick shout out to the dreaded parent guilt. Parenting is tough. Remember that we are continually trying to do the best for our kiddos while juggling so much. Be kind to yourself. Even strategies with the best of intentions blow up in our face. As we get into these strategies please keep in mind that we are always trying to keep a healthy balance. As you try to integrate these in your own life go for the simplest and easiest strategies. A small change that will not tip the balance from easy-going, fun-filled family experience with food to the “omg please just eat something green” stress induced one. Remember to start small by focusing on one meal or one snack then add on from there. We will be cheering you on!
3 Strategies To Try At Home
- Hide Them – We use this strategy all the time for our son, Ethan, who refuses to eat most veggies but loves chili. We also hide veggies in muffins, pasta, smoothies and granola bars. The best part is having him cook with us and making it a fun family experience. However, we have run into recipes that seem great but still won’t win over our kids. That’s why we recommend picking out simple, easy to follow recipes and making small batches just in case. The bonus is having grab and go healthy snacks for yourself even if the kids aren’t big fans.
- Make Them Fun – I’m sure you have seen this one before. There are plenty of fun Instagram photos of food that have faces or the cute cookie cutter veggies. This one is best done over the weekend when you are prepping food for the week. It’s hard to find any extra time in the morning when we are getting our kids out the door for school. I find that bananas and berries are the quickest and easiest to throw on pancakes, waffles, or just make silly faces. Have the kids help you pre-cut a lot of these veggies or fruit with fun cookie cutters ahead of time. Then during the week you’ll be prepared to throw them on the plate even on busy mornings. As always be stingy with the quantity that goes on the plate so there isn’t huge food waste or so you don’t become a human garage disposal. Try staying positive and remember that it will take multiple tries. One day they may actually put that food into their mouth. Fingers crossed that it makes its way into their stomachs.
- You Eat Them All the Time aka Modeling – This one still amazes me when it works. Again with my picky eater, Ethan, who will not eat veggies on his own plate but when I’m eating a salad will put lettuce, feta, beans, olives, cucumbers and even peppers in his mouth. That doesn’t always mean he will swallow everything but hey being adventurous with new food is a win I’ll gladly take.
Resources You Can Use
- Weelicious by an amazingly talented mom of three who happens to have a culinary school degree.
- Element Nutrition Co. by a family focused dietitian and nutritionist.
- The Natural Nurturer by a veggie loving mom with a passion for healthy living.