Although some kids are open to trying new things, and can enjoy the taste of vegetables from a young age, the stereotypes against children enjoying them are still based in reality. As they grow older, and their taste buds develop, children will find themselves appreciating vegetables, if they’re willing to try them! Here are some tactics to use as your children develop:
Make sure they’re introduced to a variety of vegetables as soon as they’re able to eat solid foods. If they’re continually eating all the regular vegetables you serve, their taste buds will acclimate to your cooking and stay that way.
If your children are a few years old, and being fussy about certain foods, try chopping them into smaller pieces and mixing them into dishes they already enjoy. It’s much harder to pick out the pieces one doesn’t enjoy if they’re mixed finely into a stir fry or sauce, and also harder to distinguish their taste.
Also, make sure that your child has tried that food in a variety of preparations and forms. Some children might love spinach, but if they’ve only ever tried it from a can, they might not know it yet! Adding a little butter, soy sauce, ketchup, or relatively healthy flavoring agent is fine – within moderation.
Blending vegetables into sugary concoctions may be a last resort, but can be very effective if you can’t find any other method that works. Squash and pumpkin fit seamlessly into muffins and pancakes, and green vegetables like avocado, kale or broccoli can all be blended into a fresh smoothie alongside your child’s favorite fruit.
And remember: if you don’t enjoy the dish, odds are you child won’t as well. Preparing foods that are genuinely delicious, and then showing yourself enjoying them are the two best tools for getting kids interested in healthy eating. Never act or talk as though eating vegetables is a chore they have to do, but instead a treat that you enjoy, and want to share with them.