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News • 24 June 2024

Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Love Vegetables

Getting kids to eat their vegetables can feel like a daunting task, often accompanied by mealtime meltdowns and resistance.

However, with a bit of patience and creativity, even the pickiest eaters can learn to enjoy their veggies. The key is to stay positive and persistent.

It's common for children to reject new vegetables at first. If your child says they don’t like vegetables or a new vegetable, keep offering them at mealtimes and encourage them to try tasting them. It can take a child up to ten tries before they accept a new food, and another ten before they decide they like it.

With only 1 in 20 Australian children aged 2 to 17 getting the recommended number of vegetables , it’s crucial to introduce and familiarise children with vegetables. This helps them form healthy habits and a positive relationship with vegetables that will benefit them throughout life.

Balance is key

While sneaking vegetables into meals can ensure your child gets their necessary intake, it’s also important to serve vegetables in their natural form. This allows children to get used to different tastes and textures, fostering a genuine appreciation for veggies.

Fun ways to make veggies appealing

Grate your vegetables
Finely shredded vegetables can be added to dishes your child already loves. For instance, mix finely grated broccoli, carrots, and celery into pasta sauces or incorporate grated zucchini and carrots into pancakes, pikelets, or muffins. This method not only increases the fibre content but also makes it easier for kids to eat vegetables without even realising it.

Try some veggie-packed sweet treats
If your child resists eating vegetables, try incorporating them into desserts. For example, chocolate cupcakes made with zucchini provide a sneaky yet delicious source of fibre. Another fun option is to make smoothies with baby spinach, avocado, and banana. These nutritious and kid-friendly drinks are a hit with many children.

Add veggies to favourites
Enhance family favourite dishes with extra vegetables. Puree pumpkin into your child’s favourite pasta sauce or serve vegetable soup in a fun mug with cheesy cauliflower bites as "croutons." Homemade vegetable-packed pizzas can also be a fun and interactive way to include more veggies in your child's diet. Challenge your child to see how many different vegetables they can add to the pizza base.

Involve your child in cooking
Getting kids involved in meal preparation can make them more interested in eating vegetables. Involve them in the shopping and cooking process, and they’ll be more likely to eat what they’ve helped prepare. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Let them choose vegetables for dinner.

  • Allow them to chop vegetables (with supervision).

  • Have them arrange sliced vegetables on a pizza.

  • Let them wash and toss salad leaves.

Older children can help with more advanced tasks like grating or chopping vegetables.

Education is key

Teaching your children about the health benefits of vegetables and involving them in growing vegetables at home can also foster a deeper appreciation. Take them to pick fruits or plant a vegetable garden together. Being part of the cultivation process can make them more likely to try what they’ve grown

This blog article was supported by AI generation and, while intended to be helpful, should not be relied upon as individual health advice. Always consult a healthcare professional before making health decisions. The accuracy, completeness, or recency of the information cannot be guaranteed, and we cannot be held responsible for any loss incurred from acting on this information. Content developed in partnership with Health and Wellbeing Queensland.

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24 June 2024