Our moms repeatedly told us to mind our manners, brush our teeth, and always eat our vegetables. And, of course, they were right! So maybe we all slip up from time to time and aren’t the best about incorporating veggies into our own diets. (Is wine a vegetable?) But at the very least, we should do our best to raise toddlers who love getting their greens. After all, our little ones are working with a clean slate, or should I say, a fresh palate? It’s important to start them young so they’ll become lifelong veggie enthusiasts, so here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years.
Offer, Offer, Offer
Are you familiar with the old idiom, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”? This same concept applies to raising a veggie-loving toddler. If your little one doesn’t like the carrots, peas, or corn you’ve given him, don’t give up! So many factors are at play when you introduce new foods to your child. If he’s cranky, tired, restless, or distracted, introducing different vegetables might not go so smoothly. Don’t let that deter you. We’ve all been there. You can try offering the same foods repeatedly and play around with preparing them in different ways. Take the time to keep offering these vegetables to your child. What might not work one day, will likely work the next!
Lead by Example
Setting a good example for your child is one of the best incentives for you to eat healthy. After all, “monkey see, monkey do.” (OK, I promise I’m done with idioms!) Your child watches you like a hawk, so if he sees you happily munching away on some celery, he’ll likely want to join in. Try serving yourself a nice bowl of freshly cut veggies with dip and sit next to him. He will be curious as to what you’re eating and be willing to try. If Mom always eats it, it must be good!
Veggies in Disguise
Try adding veggies to dishes in ways that they’re unnoticeable. If your child doesn’t know the veggies are in there, then chances are they will happily eat away without realizing. Better yet, blend the vegetables into smoothies (I love spinach and kale in mine!) or add them to sauces. You can easily incorporate them into mac and cheese or tomato sauce. Simply added shredded veggies like zucchini, squash, and bell peppers to your savory dishes, and stir well. If you want to be a super sleuth, I recommend pureeing them using the Babycook. The texture will be smoother, and you’ll better your chances of getting away with adding in some secret veggies! You’re kids will thank you and ask for seconds.
What are some creative ways you’ve added veggies into your child’s favorite dishes?