How to Encourage Kids to Eat Green Vegetables

August 29, 2023

Many children don’t like green vegetables because they aren’t sweet like red bell peppers or carrots. But green, leafy veggies contain a lot of essential nutrients, so kids can benefit from eating them at least once a day. Try the tips below if your kids hate green veggies. 

Lead by Example

Children often look up to their parents and mimic their behavior. As a parent, you can set a positive example by incorporating green vegetables into your own diet. 

Make it Fun and Interactive

  • Grocery Shopping: Take your child grocery shopping so they can choose what they want from the vegetable aisle or let them explore the farmers’ market. This gives them a sense of ownership and excitement about trying new foods.
  • Cooking Together: Engage your child in meal preparation and encourage them to wash, chop, and mix the vegetables. When children actively participate in cooking, they develop a sense of pride and curiosity about the food they create.
  • Creative Presentation: Arrange vegetables in fun and visually appealing ways on their plates. Use cookie cutters to shape vegetables into interesting shapes. Make veggie kebabs or create a vegetable rainbow using different colored veggies. The more creative and exciting the presentation, the more likely children are to give them a try.

Sneak Veggies into Their Favorite Dishes

Sometimes, children might resist eating green vegetables directly but sneaking vegetables into their favorite dishes is a clever way to ensure they still get the necessary nutrients. There are lots of ways to do this.

  • Pasta Sauces: Puree green vegetables like zucchini, peas, or spinach and add them to pasta sauces. The vibrant color blends well with the sauce and adds a nutritional boost.
  • Pizza Toppings: Finely chop or blend green vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, or spinach and use them as toppings on homemade pizzas. The flavors will merge with the other pizza ingredients, making it more palatable for kids.

Offer Variety and Gradual Exposure

Introduce a wide range of green vegetables to your child’s diet. Let them explore different textures and flavors. Some popular choices include broccoli, peas, green beans, spinach, kale, and Brussels sprouts.

Encourage your child to at least try one mouthful of a green vegetable before deciding if they like it or not. Repeated exposure to new foods increases the likelihood of acceptance.

Begin with milder-tasting green vegetables that have a less intense flavor profile and are more likely to be accepted by children. Gradually introduce stronger flavors like kale or Brussels sprouts once their taste buds adapt.

Celebrate Achievements and Create Positive Reinforcement

Celebrate small victories when your child tries a new green vegetable or finishes their plate. Positive reinforcement motivates children to continue exploring new foods. Implement a rewards system where children earn points or stickers for eating their green vegetables. Accumulated points can be redeemed for small treats or privileges. Create friendly competitions within the family, such as who can eat the most veggies in a week. 

Buying fresh veggies doesn’t need to cost the earth. Try growing your own or check whether your healthcare scheme includes a healthy foods benefit, so you can save money on fresh produce. 

Encouraging children to eat green vegetables is a gradual process that requires patience, creativity, and positive reinforcement. Remember, establishing healthy eating habits at an early age sets the foundation for a lifetime of good health.

How to Encourage Kids to Eat Green Vegetables was last modified: by

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