8 Ingenious Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat (And Enjoy) Veggies

I know most kids hate eating green foods. It’s the curse of the green, and it’s something that I sometimes struggle with. As a mom, I want my kids to develop a healthy lifestyle, and eating fruits and veggies is a big part of that. So, I love to explore kid-friendly tips and tricks that allow my kids to love what they eat as part of their healthy choices. 

Yes, if it tastes good, they will love it, but I also want them to enjoy the true taste of foods without all the sugar. I want them to enjoy the process of preparing food and being a part of our family as we enjoy their favorite meals. Here are a few tips that I’ve tried. 

Encourage Your Child To Help With Meal Prep

I know that kids make messes, and it often takes longer for my kids to help with preparing meals, but it is all part of their learning and growing experience. While the food they “help” create has not always been particularly edible, it’s a great opportunity for them to learn measurement, how food is made, and how to make the foods they love. 

It’s also a way for them to select the veggies they love the most. So, they are helping to create what they often see as an experiment in flavors and textures, but they are also purposefully incorporating healthy foods into their diets. 

Make Cooking And Eating Fun

Cooking and eating food as a family is a time to share moments together, but it also feels good to create a dish that others enjoy. I don’t know if my kids will ever want to be chefs, but I want them to know how to cook and find some small pleasure in making things with their hands that taste good and are good for them.

There’s as much fun in the process of making good food as there is in making bad food. Just because the food doesn’t taste as it would in a restaurant doesn’t mean that the process of prepping and eating food isn’t fun. In fact, these are the times with my kids that I enjoy and will cherish the most as they move, ever steadily, toward adulthood.

Hide Veggies In Their Favorite Dishes

If your kids HATE veggies, you may not have any choice but to hide the veggies in their favorite dishes. Yes, you really can blend that squash and put it in their favorite spaghetti sauce. Or bake a pan full of squash brownies. You’ll swear there’s nothing healthy about them. Sometimes the look and taste of food can be deceiving.

That’s a lesson that all of us should learn, no matter what our age or foodie preference. So, if you’ve been missing out on a delicious blueberry and greens smoothie, veggie and apple muffins, zucchini fries, or veggie enchiladas, it’s time to rethink your idea of forced veggies for dinner. Why not give them a chance to embrace and fall in love with veggie-hiding edibles? 

Let Them Know It’s Ok To Be Picky

I know what it’s like to have toddlers who will only eat one food. My kids went through those phases, too, but I also know adults who are super picky about what they eat or don’t eat. So, my philosophy about eating and being picky about eating may be a bit different from most. I love veggies and I encourage my kids to enjoy them whenever possible. 

Sometimes it’s not the “green” that’s the problem. It could be that they don’t like the texture of a particular green veggie. For example, my kids hate peas but love broccoli. I don’t force them to eat peas, but I do encourage them to eat the veggies they love. I think part of parenting is figuring out where our battles lie and how to find peaceful and amicable resolutions. 

Do As I Say And As I Do

Adults don’t always love veggies, either, so what are we really expecting from our kids? There could be a friend or adult figure who says they hate green veggies. Could that be why your kids suddenly hate veggies? Find out what is driving their distaste, but, also, show them by example why veggies are great tasting and good for you. 

It shouldn’t be a punishment for you or your kids to eat veggies. If it feels like torture for you or your kids, maybe there’s a reason for that. It might be that the veggies you’ve had in the past were mushy, gross, or just unsavory. Perhaps it’s time to revisit and restore your own faith and love in the power of healthy veggies. 

Avoid Forcing Kids To Eat

The relationship with our kids and food can be complicated, but we can also learn a lot about both, if we’re willing to listen and learn. If your kids continue to say they’re not hungry, find out if something is going on at school, with their friends, or in their regular activities that they just haven’t talked about. It could be time to see a therapist. 

Yes, it could be that they don’t like your cooking, or they don’t want to eat their veggies, but it could be that you and your family should explore what is causing frustration, anxiety, or even depression in our kids’ lives. It’s easy to just think it’s just about the veggies, but we need to be open enough to explore all the reasons why our kids are saying they just don’t want to eat.

Try New Foods

I love trying new recipes and foods, but I don’t really enjoy everything that I make, particularly if I’ve never tried it before. I usually force myself to eat it because I made it, and I hate to waste food. But how is that different from our kids? They won’t always love new foods, but I do ask that they, at least, try them. 

The next time they try that new food, they might enjoy it, or maybe they will still hate it. I, sometimes, remind my kids about the foods they used to hate when they were super little. Those foods are now some of their favorites. Sometimes, it just takes time and patience – with ourselves and with our kids. 

Always Remember (And Eat) What They Love

When all else fails, go back to the basics. What have they loved since they were little? Maybe it’s chicken nuggets. So, find a way to make those favorite meals healthier. Pair them with veggies or other foods that they enjoy, and make it fun! 

Who says you can’t have pancakes for dinner or broccoli for breakfast, if that’s what you and your family love? Or combine the two for lunch with eggs in a basket, French toast, potato skins, or quesadillas

Sometimes, we get so caught up in what we’re supposed to eat or when we’re supposed to eat it that we forget that food is there to nourish us. It can be whatever we make of it. We can (and should) enjoy what we eat, and we should also focus on our health in every aspect of our lives. They’re not mutually exclusive. 


What are your thoughts about your picky eaters? We’d love to hear from you. 

Looking for Family Tips & News? Read These Articles Next:

Join the Conversation