Getting kids to eat vegetables can be pretty difficult sometimes. I read something once that has stuck with me…don’t stress about little kids eating veggies, because vegetables can taste quite bitter on their little taste buds. Have them try it and don’t worry if they don’t eat it. As their taste buds develop, they naturally will like them more and more as they get older BUT if you forced them to eat them when they were little, as they get older all they will remember is that they hate them! If you didn’t force it then, they will give them another try and probably eventually like them. Kids get enough nutrients from fruit and the few things they do like when they are young, so don’t scare them away from vegetables for life.
So start with that, don’t worry about it! My kids are not super picky, but they are still kids and they always have an opinion about what’s on their dinner plate. Before you worry too much about the big meal of the day, read my Post on Snacks, and take some of the pressure off by offering healthier snacks throughout the day for when dinner is a bust.
I have plenty of ways of hiding veggies, but I don’t think that should really be the goal. Rather, cook them in their best way and offer them as they are. A lot of my most successful family dinners are very basic, just a simple serving of grilled chicken, burgers, grilled sausage, fish, or sandwiches and one or two of these sides:
6 Favorite Kid Friendly Sides
- Rainbow Fries — any root vegetables cut like fries: potatoes/sweet potato-try purple potatoes, any color carrots, butternut squash, beets, parsnips — toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 425 until done
- Boiled Broccoli — drop chopped broccoli into boiling salted water for 5 minutes, don’t overcook it to mush!, drain and eat, try adding butter or cheese
- Parmesan Kale Chips — toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 7 minutes, crisp but don’t burn!
- Roasted Cauliflower — toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 425 until done–my kids love it roasted dark browned and crispy
- Mashed Sweet Potato with butter and brown sugar — cook like mashed potatoes, boil until soft, drain and mash
- Roasted Mixed Veggies — sometimes I just roast a bunch of stuff and hope that everyone will like something – toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 425 until done
**Kid Friendly Tips:
- My kids love the french fry shape (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots), more fun to dip.
- Let them carry their own basket at a farmers market and give them a few dollars to buy whatever they want or let them pick what veggies to buy at the store.
- Check out kids cookbooks at the library, let kids look through them and help cook.
- Grow a garden with them, no matter how big or how small, let them pick what they want to grow, even if you only have room for a pot or two, try green beans and zucchini.
- Cook foods that you like yourself, don’t worry if the kids don’t eat it and keep trying:)