If you’re a parent to a finicky child like mine, then like me, you probably spend half your day wondering about ways to make veggies fun for your kids. And considering children and veggies often go as well together as oil and water, this is no easy task! You could spend hours slaving over a hot stove, rustling up a yummy healthy meal, and your darling child will refuse to have one bite of it because he doesn’t want to eat any vegetables! So read on and know ways to make veggies fun for your kids and life happier for yourself!
1. Mix Veggies into the Food
One of the easiest ways to make veggies fun for your kids is to mix them right there into the food he or she likes. So if you know minced chicken cutlets are a favorite, mix in grated carrots and mashed peas right there with the chicken. Or you could chop up veggies really fine and put them in pasta sauce so that they aren’t obviously visible to your kid. If they can’t see the veggies, they can’t refuse to eat them right?
2. Bring Colorful Food to the Table
Children love anything bright and colorful and the same applies to food. Give them bright, happy looking dishes. So instead of putting a pile of drab looking pasta on their plate, try colored pasta. Pink and blue food beats eating regular food any day right? Celebrate color days with them and so on green day everyone eats green food and on yellow day only yellow food. This will make eating a fun activity for everyone!
3. Plate up the Food Creatively
Sometimes you just need to have fun with the food you’re putting on the plate. You kid needs to want to eat it. So make smiley faces with the potatoes and broccoli and carrots or make flowers and leaves. Use different cutting techniques to make the food look different. So cucumber slices might be boring but cucumber curls are fascinating. Basically be as creative as you can and generate some excitement during meal times!
4. Make up a Story about the Food
As parents, you and I know how easily children get bored. They need constant entertainment and distraction - even at the dining table. And sometimes you need to think like a kid and do things their way. So tell them that the broccoli on the plate is actually miniature trees or that the corn salad is made up of alien teeth. Make up stories about what they’re eating and maybe they’ll fall for it!
5. Use Butter and Cheese
As adults you and I cringe at the sight of too much butter or cheese in our food, preferring to eat salads and healthy meals. But children are allowed the extra calories (unless medically required not to) and all the yumminess that come with butter and cheese. Toss veggies in lots of butter, make cheesy baked vegetables or put in chopped and diced veggies in macaroni and cheese. Anything that imparts that little extra flavor to make veggies more tasty for your kid is always welcome, yes?
6. Get the Kids Involved in Cooking
Everything is more fun when you do it on your own right? Let your kids get their hands dirty in the kitchen while you prepare their meals. Give them sliced or chopped veggies to arrange in a baking dish and let them sprinkle grated cheese over it before you pop it in the oven. This way they’ll be a part of the cooking and will want to eat what they ‘made’.
7. Reward Them
Good behavior always needs encouragement from parents. So make sure you do that when your kid eats all the veggies on the plate or asks for a second helping. Give them a paper crown to wear or you could have a star chart and after every five stars they collect for eating veggies, they can have a special treat. But make sure you reward them when they eat a proper helping of veggies. Eating one piece of carrot really doesn’t count you know!
Making sure our children eat well and eat healthy is probably one the biggest challenges all of us face as parents. But it is important to keep at it and try and try and try, despite all the frustration and hair-pulling out moments! So keep in mind all the different ways to make veggies fun for your kid and mealtimes should become less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone! If you have any fun tips and tricks to make veggies fun for kids, we’d love to hear them!