Eating Wisely; Incorporating Vegetables

“My four-year-old twins are fairly enthusiastic eaters and don’t often complain about or reject what I prepare for them. They absolutely love fruit! Vegetables are another story. It doesn’t seem to matter what vegetable I give them because they’ll immediately turn up their noses. I have no idea why they suddenly dislike this particular food group. I’d love to hear some strategies or learn new recipes that incorporate vegetables so I can continue feeding my two girls nutritious, well-balanced meals.”

My twins would eat anything if I gave them something to dip it in! So I would give them a glob of ketchup, yogurt, cream cheese, applesauce, or pureed vegetables and they would gobble it up. It also seems to help if you make it look pretty with different colored vegetables. Children definitely eat with their eyes! – Rachel Allen, Facebook

Butter makes vegetables tastier. You don’t need much. My child eats broccoli like it’s her job. Sometimes vegetables aren’t good “naked.” – Jennifer Booth Trudeau, Facebook

My daughter is two and loves most vegetables. Some days when she isn’t as excited about her meals, I offer a different way of eating it, like giving her learning chopsticks (attached at the top) or even a wooden skewer or long lollipop sticks. – Stephanie Savastano, Facebook

I’ve heard of many of my friends blending up vegetables to hide in sauces or even pancakes. Spinach pancakes come out green, and the children think it’s cool and eat them right up. – Michelle Amundson, Facebook

I’m always looking for new recipes for muffins packed with vegetables. I do a lot of vegetable meatloaf, pancakes, burgers, and sandwiches (cheese, hummus, and avocado are a favorite). — Ruth Anne Dauphin, Facebook

My son is becoming pickier. I try to offer the vegetables he does eat (bell peppers and sometimes carrots) as I’m cooking dinner, because he is more likely to eat them if he is hungry. – Natasha Decker, Facebook

We grow our own (vegetables) in a small deck garden. My son’s introduction to tomatoes was picking them off the vine. He goes nuts for them. I even have to stop him from picking and eating the jalapeño peppers. If he gets to pick it, he wants to eat it. So a small garden (we don’t have a yard, but a garden box can work) is an idea for the spring/summer seasons. – Meghan Beck, Facebook

Soy sauce worked for my son as a dipping sauce for vegetables. Also, soups worked. Just dice up vegetables really small—too small to pick them all out—and make sure there is stuff they like in there, too. – Melissa Washington, Facebook

We have a four year old who also loves fruit but is not a huge fan of vegetables. We found that he will drink juice from our juicer, and we give him carrot, kale, celery, and apple juiced together. The apple sweetens the overall flavor, and he gets some great nutrients from the vegetables. – Erin Boyles, Facebook

Smoothies all the way! My daughter isn’t picky about her vegetables most days, but I throw a handful of kale into her fruit smoothies and she’s none the wiser. – Alexis Danielle Maynard, Facebook

(Try vegetables) pureed in “cream” soups. If they like cheese, try with shredded cheese or serve with a grilled cheese sandwich for dipping. – Olga Lampkin, Facebook

It can take 20 or more exposures to some new foods for children to accept them. Just continue cooking and offering vegetables. A fun way to help children feel involved and thus more likely to eat vegetables is to take children to the grocery store and let them pick out what vegetables they would be interested in eating. – Kelley Poteat Torbett, Facebook

Hummus, salad, pita sandwiches. Ants on a log (peanut butter on celery with raisins). Try to make it fun! – Temilyn Mahan, Facebook

My twins prefer raw vegetables to this day. They loved eating cubed vegetables while still frozen. – Kathryn Volkmann, Facebook

Try spaghetti squash. It’s “noodle-y” and fun and goes great with so many meals! – Kendra Johnson, Facebook

I make fresh juice with apples, oranges, spinach, carrots, ginger, and cranberries. I also blend up vegetables and add them into meatballs, meat sauces, etc. We have a lot of food allergies, so I make special pancakes that use sweet potato purée. My boys also love a vegetable beef soup I make them —they eat the peas and carrots from the soup. – Beth Lamkin, Facebook

One word: pizza! – Samantha Ueno, Facebook

Growing your own is great. Get your children involved in gardening. Sugar pod peas and cherry tomatoes are especially fun and tasty to pick and eat right from the plant! – Alice Dench Ziring, Facebook

Roasting vegetables (with a dressing) converts that bitter flavor into something sweeter and more palatable to toddlers. My three-year-old twins reject all vegetables but will eat curried roasted chickpeas like they’re going out of style. – Meg Janssen, Facebook

New Situation

“The new school year is right around the corner. This year I will have one in kindergarten and one in second grade. If previous years with my oldest are any indication, both will come home hungry! Please share your ideas for healthy, tasty, and easy-to-prepare snacks. I have a three year old still at home who loves to help me in the kitchen and will probably assist in snack preparation most days.”

Please send your ideas to Amy at [email protected].