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How to Get Your Kids to Love Vegetables

How to get kids to love vegetables

Many kids naturally enjoy fruits and vegetables. After all, what’s not to love? Fresh produce has crunch, sweetness, texture—many of the qualities that make food so satisfying.  For some young eaters, though, produce is an acquired taste. Whether you are feeding a picky eater, or one that loves fruits and vegetables, these kid-tested lunch and dinner recipes are sure to please. Adults love them, too!  For help encouraging vegetable-wary children to sample new tastes, try these simple, stress-free expert strategies courtesy of Melissa Halas-Liang, the founder of SuperKids Nutrition

Get ’Em While They’re Hungry:  “Feed children their veggies first, as an appetizer or snack, before anything else! When kids are hungry, they’re more willing to eat their vegetables. Try fresh string beans they can pick up with their fingers, tasty jicama sprinkled with chopped cilantro and splashed with orange juice, or crunchy, fun sugar snap peas.”

Serve a Colorful Lunch:  “Red, yellow and orange heirloom carrots with hummus, baked blue corn chips, sliced avocado, and watermelon for dessert will supply your child with many key nutrients. Plus, this light lunch helps satisfy hunger without making kids or parents overstuffed and sluggish for the afternoon.”

Make Fruit Fun:  “Cut fruit into different shapes using cookie cutters. This idea works best with melons, such as watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew. You can change the shapes based on the season or their favorite things, like cars or ballet.” Dole’s Glass Slipper Veggie Tea Sandwiches may be the perfect fit! 

Get Your Children Chopping:  “Kids are more likely to try new fruits and vegetables if they help prepare them. Young kids can use a plastic knife to cut up red peppers, cucumbers, and softer fruits like apricots.” For additional age-appropriate ways to get your children involved in the kitchen, check out these Disney inspired resources.

Ready for some family favorites full of fruit and vegetables? Try these recipes:  Asian "Fried Rice" With Quinoa.  Our version of this beloved classic is high in protein, too.  Sunflower Crunch Pockets A fun-to-eat lunch stuffed into a pita. Swimmin' With the Tuna Fishes  Little ones will adore this sea-creature-shaped sandwich.  Lunch-Box “Sushi” These chic, teen-friendly veggie wraps look like a California roll.  Spinach-Eggplant Enchiladas with quinoa, cauliflower, eggplant, and cheese, these are satisfying and scrumptious.

Research tells us that acceptance for new vegetables increases after the third exposure, and can be sooner when children are encouraged to experience them with all of their senses.  Offering new foods while encouraging touch, sight and color, texture, smell (away from the dinner table) can be highly effective. 

Happy eating!

 

Published November 1, 2021

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