Vegetables—it’s rare that a child would list them as a favourite food. Many parents face a daily battle in trying to get their kids to eat a vegetable-rich diet, but there are some clever tricks that can help along the way. Today we explore the little things you can do in the kitchen to encourage your kids to eat more veggies.
Grated vegetables can be easily disguised when added to minced meat dishes like chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognese, chicken meatballs, burger patties and stuffings. Carrot and zucchini are usually a winner because once cooked, their flavours can be hidden by sauces and seasonings.
Crumbing vegetables is a great way to ‘hide’ what’s inside, as kids generally love a crunchy textural coating. Cut veggies into long strips, crumb, then serve with a selection of healthy dipping sauces which will also help to hide any detectable vegetable flavours.
Believe it or not, pureed vegetables are a brilliant way to thicken up sauces, soups and gravies. Opt for hearty vegetables like potato, pumpkin or parsnip, and roast first so they develop an intense caramelised flavour. Then blitz! Kids generally like to eat plain meals without too much texture, so creamy components are generally a winner.
It’s been proven that getting kids involved in the selection and prepping of dinner ingredients means they’ll be far more likely to eat them once they hit the table. Have the kids come grocery shopping with you, and each week choose one new vegetable from the shelves to try. Then have them assist in prepping the vegetables come dinner time, and finally giving it a try once dinner’s served.
Combining vegetables with your kids’ favourite foods is another great approach, and is sure to inspire some creativity in the kitchen. Think along the lines of cheesy broccoli, honey carrots or sweet potato chips… there’s sure to be a veggie alternative for whatever takes their fancy.
It’s worth remembering to always try to buy vegetables that are in season, as they will taste the best. And don’t diss frozen! Having frozen vegetables up your sleeve is a smart move—frozen vegetables are still loaded with nutrients and are super quick to prepare.
How have you introduced more vegetables into your kids’ diets? We’d love to hear your own tips and tricks.