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There is hope to get kids to eat vegetables daily and this post is all about it!
Even though we eat healthy at my house, my kids still scrunch up their faces at vegetables and will refuse to spoon any onto their plates. Never mind the fact that I sometimes serve two vegetables and no grains at a given meal.
Over the years, I have come up with some creative ways to get kids to eat vegetables. Stealthy ways. Crafty ways. Easy ways.
Here are five of my favorites ways to get kids to eat their veggies:
1 – Smoothies and Juices
Don’t let them see you do it, but one of the easiest fun ways to get kids to eat vegetables is to add them into smoothies and fresh juices. Carrots, cucumbers, small amounts of celery or bok choy, avocado, or small amounts of grated beets can usually be incorporated into a fruit smoothie or fresh juice without detection.
Make sure you add plenty of sweet fruits—such as raspberries or apples—to hide the vegetables. If you use blueberries, you might get away with adding some sweeter leafy greens, such as spinach.
2 – Sauces and Rice
Another way to get kids to eat vegetables is to hide them in sauces. Cook up some beets, pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash, or carrots until they are very soft. Puree the vegetable and divide it into ¼ cup sized portions. Freeze the little baggies of pureed vegetable.
Next time you make cheese sauce, add some of the pureed squash, pumpkin, or carrots into the sauce and mix well. Alternatively, add some of the pureed beets into tomato sauce for an extra boost of nutrition.
You might have seen riced cauliflower at the grocery store. While you probably won’t get away with serving that instead of your usual rice, you could get away with adding in some cauliflower. Try it. Same color, mild flavor. Experiment with the substitution amounts.
3 – Soups
Much like smoothies, soups can be a great way to get kids to eat vegetables. Try mixing pureed parsnip, turnip, or squash into the broth of the soup. Don’t make it too thick and add in favorites such as cream, cheese, noodles, chicken, and croutons.
4 – Everything tastes better fried!
What kid doesn’t like French fries? Well, why not fry other vegetables? This way to get kids to eat vegetables is a favorite at my house. We fry sweet potato chips, beet chips, breaded zucchini, and parsnip fries.
We also make kale chips, but we season those up with garlic and onion powder and bake them. You can also bake butternut squash wedges and fry up breaded avocado fries. Yum!
5 – Pickles
Did you know that you can pickle more than just cucumbers? Pickled beets and cabbage (sauerkraut) are readily available at grocery stores. This is an unusual way to get kids to eat vegetables but may just do the trick. You can also pickle almost any vegetable yourself, but the best one is carrots.
Pickled Carrots Recipe
You will need: a quart-size Mason jar, a pound of organic carrots, filtered water, 2 tablespoons non-iodized sea salt, 2-4 tablespoons fresh dill, and 2 cloves fresh garlic.
- Wash the carrots, but don’t peel them.
- Cut them on the diagonal, about ¼ to ½ inch thick.
- Chop the dill and crush the garlic.
- Put them in the bottom of the jar and then pack the carrots into the jar.
- Dissolve the 2 tablespoons of salt in about 1 cup of filtered water (you may need to warm the water for the salt to dissolve).
- Pour this salt solution over the vegetables, making sure the vegetables are covered and there is at least an inch of headspace between the top of the jar and the liquid.
- Cover tightly and leave at room temperature in a dark place for about three days.
- After that, put them in the refrigerator. They are ready to eat!
This process of lacto-fermenting the carrots might make a great unit study on friendly bacteria. Not only are these carrots tasty, they also give your family the added benefit of natural probiotics!
Try one of these ways to get kids to eat vegetables and let me know how it goes. I’d especially love to hear what your kids think of the pickled carrots.
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Julie Polanco writes about natural learning, natural living, and naturally pursuing Christ at her site: www.julienaturally.com. Trying to eat healthily and avoid sugar? Get her 70 Hidden Sources of Sugar grocery store cheat sheet HERE.
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