How to Get Your Kids to Eat (and Love) Their Veggies
It’s hard to say what’s more annoying: fighting with your kid about eating their vegetables, or that mom at the park who brags about how her kid gobbles up veggies like candy.
Getting little ones to eat leafy greens and other nutrient-packed veggies can feel like an uphill battle. If you don’t have time for all the required chopping, slicing, and dicing (or the sautéing and steaming) it can be even more challenging.
You might be wondering, “Is there a personal chef near me who can help my kids fall in love with veggies?” Hiring a personal cook or a nanny with cooking skills can be a huge help.
Ultimately, the goal is to get your kids to adopt healthy practices for life. Here are some tips for doing just that.
Be a role model.
There’s a saying that “children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.” One of the best ways to get your kids to adopt a lifetime of healthy eating habits is to embrace healthy eating yourself.
Serve appropriate portions. Don’t let kids pile food onto their plates—they can always come back for a second helping if they still feel hungry. Talk to your kids about paying attention to signals of fullness and encourage them to stop eating when they feel full.
Avoid talking about dieting or unhappiness with your body—this can foster the same negative feelings in your kids.
Eat meals together.
It’s okay every now and then to let kids camp out in front of the TV with dinner while you take care of the never-ending list of to-dos. But eating meals together should be the rule, not the exception. It doesn’t have to be formal. Even a healthy take-out meal gets everyone around the table together.
Family meals are not only a great way to catch up with kids, they’re also an opportunity to introduce new foods to them—including the full variety of fresh vegetables.
Kids who participate in meals with family are more likely to eat vegetables, fruits, and healthy grains. If your kids protest family dinners, make them more palatable by getting them involved in meal preparation or letting them invite a friend over for dinner.
Introduce new foods slowly.
Some kids are more adventurous with food than others. In general, kids are naturally reluctant to try new foods. Encourage them anyway and tell them it might take a few tries to get used to it. Channel their favorite superhero or sports figure. Yours might have been Popeye. Theirs might be Dora the Explorer or Elmo.
Disguise the taste of veggies.
One-pot stews and casseroles are perfect for disguising veggies. Beef or vegetable stew, barley soup loaded with veggies or vegetarian chili with all the fixings are tasty and nutritious dishes to help your kids get their recommended number of daily vegetable servings.
Some nutrient loss is inevitable with cooking, but you can minimize this by:
- Using fresh vegetables right away
- Washing leafy green vegetables under cold—not warm—water
- Avoiding thawing frozen vegetables before cooking, which helps preserve water-soluble vitamins
- Using the liquid in canned vegetables
- Using unpeeled vegetables (like carrots), as long as they’re properly washed
- Using cut/peeled/chopped vegetables promptly (the longer cut surfaces are exposed to air the more vitamins they lose)
Keep healthy snacks on hand.
Make it easy for kids to reach for healthy snacks by keeping things like carrot sticks with spinach and artichoke dip or apple slices with peanut butter on hand. There are so many clever ways to make fruits and veggies visually appealing and delicious for kids. Also stock your fridge with healthy beverages like water, almond milk, unsweetened or lightly sweetened seltzer water, and (in small portions) pure fruit juices.
Get kids in the kitchen.
Kids that get involved in choosing and preparing meals are more likely to be interested in the final product. Take them to the store with you or send them to the store with your nanny and let them choose items from the produce section. Get them involved with food prep (as long as they’re old enough and use kid-friendly knives).
These tried-and-tested tips will get your kids eating—and loving—their fruits and veggies and start them down the road to a lifetime of healthy eating.
Ready to Hire a Chef or Nanny to Help with Meal Planning and Preparation?
Life is hectic, and it’s not always easy to get your kids to eat right, especially if you’re a working-parent household. A personal cook or nanny can help ease the stress of meal planning and preparation—whether you need help a few nights a week or every day.
Staffing at Tiffanie’s is an established household staffing agency that helps find qualified candidates for families across the country. We use a rigorous screening process to carefully select only the most qualified candidates, and we nurture you through the entire process of screening, interviewing, and hiring your perfect candidate. It’s how we’ve earned a reputation as one of the most trusted names in the household staffing industry.
Learn more about our process and contact our agency at 866-484-5550 to find your ideal nanny or personal chef.