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Mission: Veggies

How to get your kids to like vegetables

Kids are a mystery on their own. Sometimes, they can be the sweetest human beings that walked the planet. And sometimes (or most of the time), they can drive you crazy! But you’d do anything for them, including making sure they are as healthy as they can get. And you know what that means, make sure they eat their fruits and vegetables, even if they don’t like it.

But how do you get these kids, especially those who don’t like vegetables, to eat their produce? It’s tough but it’s possible. You just have to be very patient and creative.

So how do you get your kids to eat vegetables?



1. Shop with your kids

Start at the beginning. Bring your kids to the grocery and to the produce section. Make the shopping exciting and relatable. For example, you can show them a certain vegetable and then you can explain why it’s good for them. Let’s say they like to read or watch TV. Show them a piece of sweet potato and tell them it’s good for the lungs so they can shout like the Hulk. Or show them spinach and tell them that they’ll be strong like Popeye (if they know Popeye) and fight off the bad guys. Feel free to make the explanations funny and make them laugh. Then make them choose which one they’d like to eat. If they don’t make a choice that time, that’s fine. Do it again on another day. Try it again and again until they make that first choice.

2. Make it fun

Make the process of eating it fun. Involve them in the cooking process. If they’re too young to handle cutting or peeling, have them mix in or stir the already cut or chopped vegetables, which includes the vegetable they chose at the grocery. Or you can pretend to role-play while eating. Pretend that he’s a giant and the broccoli florets are trees he needs to cut down. Or make it a game. The first person to finish their carrot stick gets to choose the movie for the night. Once you associate eating vegetables and fruits with fun things, the kids will enjoy it more.

3. Look for vegan or veggie versions of their favorite food

If you’re in a bind, you can also look for vegan or veggie versions of their favorite food. You can find vegan versions of hotdogs, sausages, chicken nuggets, burgers, bbq, etc. You can find these types of food at Healthy Eats in Makati, Real Food in Alabang, Echostore (Serendra, Salcedo Village, Centris, Antipolo), Adventist Center, and Anmol in Manila, and even Metro Gaisano Supermarket at Market Market. You can serve these foods when you’re in a rush and don’t have time to prepare their food. It’s not the best option but at least it’s still made with vegetables. Just make sure to read the labels.

4. Hide the veggies

If you’re still having a hard time getting them to eat their vegetables, there’s one more thing you can do, hide them. I don’t mean hiding it under the rice or under their plate. I mean, hiding them in the food. Blend the carrots and mushrooms in your tomato sauce for spaghetti. Instead of béchamel sauce, use white bean puree in your lasagna. Make potato croquettes and add cauliflower, spinach, or kalabasa. Make chocolate or vanilla milkshakes and add bananas and cashews. Add eggplant or sweet potato to your burger patties. Be creative!

5. Set an example

Kids imitate what they see their parents or their older siblings do. If you want them to eat vegetables, the best way really is for them to see how much you can enjoy it through your example. If you make vegetables a staple in your dinner table, they’ll view it as normal part of the spread and not something to be scared of. Pretty soon, your kids will ask you about the vegetables. This is the perfect opportunity to promote vegetables since their minds are open. Take advantage of it! But careful with what you say, too. Your enthusiasm and excitement could turn to preaching. The line separating the two is really thin. So careful with the words you tell them.

There’s no one strategy that will work on all kids since they are individuals with different minds and different personalities. So it’s always best to think of a strategy that they’ll be able to relate to. Most importantly, it will take time, especially if they really don’t like vegetables. Be patient and remember, you were once in their place, too.