Find out how to inspire kids with vegetables, even during the holidays, with this guide on how to get kids to eat veggies.
It’s the holiday season, when your child’s calendar fills up faster than yours! Add holiday parties and gatherings to their already packed little social life (play date, anyone?), school, and extracurricular activities, and the season becomes a whirlwind series of “what do I bring?” Occasions. But don’t give in to pulling out chips and cookies for every occasion! Serve up party-ready vegetables that are equally fun and delicious, but also nutritious to fuel kids’ growing bodies while helping them develop healthy food preferences. By doing this, you can encourage more vegetables for kids, and learn how to get kids to eat vegetables too.
The foods that young children eat and enjoy pave the way for foods they will continue to eat and enjoy as they grow. That is why it is so important that they are introduced to fruits and vegetables in infants and young children. Enjoyment of fruits and vegetables is the main indicator of consumption. according to study Published last year, 27% of toddlers and preschoolers don’t even eat one serving of vegetables on any given day, and those who do are most likely to eat French fries. This means that they don’t get enough important nutrients like fiber and vitamins D and E. But they do get a lot of sodium and sugar from foods that are high in calories and sugar. MyPlate recommends filling half of your preschool plate with fruits and vegetables, and the other half with whole grains and lean protein.
What does the father do? When time is scarce, especially at this time of year, look for forms of foods that offer vegetables that will please kids, while getting fruits and vegetables in their stomachs. Decorating vegetables for any occasion can be simple and quick, too. A few ingredients and a little creativity can turn carrots, broccoli and beets into your child’s next favorite snack. If time is really tight, grab fresh, pre-cut fruits and vegetables and eat.
Try these four tips to promote a love of vegetables at your next holiday gathering.
1. Artists in Play
Convince their inner artist by serving a plate of veggies cut into bite-size pieces — radish circles, carrot discs or sticks, celery crescents, or snow peas — so there’s a variety of shapes and colors. Spread a “cloth” of whole wheat bread or tortillas with hummus, nut butter, guacamole, or Greek yogurt and have them create a masterpiece like a face (selfie!), flower, or whatever they can imagine.
2. Wow them with the unexpected
Red and yellow carrots? Green or purple cauliflower, yellow beets? How about watermelon radishes that look just like a summer favorite, or the candy-like red and white striped Chioggia beets? Or cut the most common vegetables with shaped cutters or a knife: stars, triangles, letters, numbers or lattices. It will surely surprise their taste buds, especially when dipped in delicious coconut yogurt with fruit or vegetable puree.
3. camouflage it
Sneak vegetables and fruits into a favorite dish or treat and feel good about it! try me PB and J bars, Which includes a bag of grape fruit puree to help kids reach their daily portion of fruits and vegetables, or my Strawberry blondes with coconut, which uses strawberry apple juice. They are always successful. Discover adding other vegetables like squash to baked goods, or avocado to chocolate pudding – the options are limitless and the flavor is amazing. The kids and their parents will never know if you don’t tell them.
If they build it, they will eat it! Serve stackable vegetables such as sliced cucumber, zucchini, squash, bell peppers, spinach, kale, or foldable/foldable lettuce along with whole-grain crackers, pita bread, or tortillas. They can create a color pattern, count layers, wrap a custom wrap or “burrito.”
Holidays are all about family, friends, and making special bonds — the very new occasions for kids, so prioritize enjoying time together. And when you’re filling up kids’ calendars, don’t stress! You can still send them with fruit, vegetable-based snacks, and desserts to parties and get-togethers, like a quick-cut veggie plate with a dip.
Written by Laurie Zantison
Photos and recipes by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN
For healthy, kid-friendly recipes, try the following:
Broccoli and Walnuts Au Gratin
Vegan Mac and Cheese with Peas
Vegetarian pasta with creamy spinach ricotta sauce
Easy strawberry chia chocolate pudding
Easy Cauliflower Hummus Taco
Best classic hummus
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