Kids can love veggies too!

Veggies are great for our kids too. Veggies provide them with much needed nutrients to help fuel their days. Eating a range of vegetables early in life can also help protect against diseases later in life, such as heart disease and some cancers.

But as most parents know, getting your little ones to eat vegetables is tough. But it’s not impossible! Try these tips to help boost veggie intake at home.

Lead by example

Kids love to watch us and food choices are often learnt from parents and carers behaviours. Eating vegetables at family mealtimes is a great way to encourage your child to eat veggies too.

Keep trying with vegetables

Some kids may need to be exposed to a certain vegetable 10 times before they decide to try it, and another 10 times before they like it! If at first your child says no, keep offering that vegetable at different mealtimes – eventually your child may change their mind.

Use praise when your child tries vegetables

Praising your child when they try a vegetable is a great form of encouragement. Praise works best if you are specific with what they did well, such as “Peri, I love the way you tasted your pumpkin and broccoli.” Just be careful not to say things like “If you eat your broccoli, you can have dessert.” Praising and rewarding kids for eating can change the motivation to try veggies. Instead, try to praise them when they enjoy a certain new veggie.

Get your child involved in cooking vegetables

Kids who help prepare their veggies are more likely to eat them. Try to include your child in the cooking process. Perhaps let them choose the veggies for a stir fry, put chopped veggies in the steamer, or wash salad leaves.

Offer vegetables as snacks

Keep some veggie snacks on hand for when your kids are hungry. The more meals that include veggies, the more your child will try them. Try veggie sticks with dip or a bowl of cherry tomatoes on the bench.

Go for vegetable variety, taste and fun

Try to cover a range of veggies – the more variety the better than chances of your child finding veggies they like. Go for veggie-topped pizzas, stir fry or a platter of colourful veggies as a snack.

Get vegetables into meals in other ways

Making the veggie the hero is important for your child to become familiar with the shapes and textures of veggies. However, if your child is especially fussy, try incorporating vegetables into dishes they already like, such as grating carrot and zucchini into pasta sauce, or pureeing veg into soup.

Content contributed by Nutrition Australia