Eat Your Vegetables!

This post is not strictly about cloth diapering, but I thought you all might enjoy it.  I was on the phone with my daughter’s second grade teacher the other day talking about school stuff, when she said, “Can I ask you a personal question?  I have lunch at the same time as your daughter, and I notice that she and her brother ALWAYS eat all the vegetables on their plate!  How do you do it?  Most of the other kids will eat the bread but throw the veggies away.”  Needless to say, it was a Proud Mommy Moment.  And it got me thinking, how do we get our kids to eat all their vegetables?  Here are some of the things we do:

1. Fruit Smoothies.  Our go-to after-school snack recently has been fruit smoothies.  I toss some cut up apples, peaches, pears, grapes, bananas, whatever, into the blender with some orange juice and ice and/or frozen berries.  I’ve found out that if I add frozen blueberries, I can get away with adding a handful of fresh spinach too, because the dark blue berry flecks disguise the dark green spinach flecks.  The kids love it and they’re getting at least 2 servings of fruits and veggies per cup!

2. Dips.  Kids love to dip.  They’ll eat things they don’t even like if you can make it fun.  So we serve veggies with dips.  Carrots with ranch dressing.  Celery with hummus.  Sugar snap peas with guacamole.  Pear slices with plain yogurt.  (Once I even served carrot sticks with ketchup in a pinch – it was gross to me but they loved it!)

3. The Second-Helping Rule.  When we serve our kids’ dinner, we put about half of what we think they’ll eat on their plate.  Then before they can have seconds (which we know they will want because we only gave them a half-portion to start with) they have to eat everything on their plates.  So they can’t just eat the pasta and leave the peas and expect to get filled up. 

4. Desserts.  The rule at our house is that you have to eat everything on your plate to get dessert.  Now don’t tell the kids, but dessert is usually healthy too.  Sometimes we drizzle honey on plain yogurt, or sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of apple slices.  Recently we bought a pack of those tiny “toddler-size” juice boxes and stuck them in the freezer.  For dessert we cut the tops off and the kids eat them with a spoon, like a little apple sorbet or popsicle – but with no added sugar. 


What tricks to you use to make sure your kids are eating healthy foods?


4 thoughts on “Eat Your Vegetables!

  1. Kristin says:

    I do yogurt smoothies as well with fruit and berries and the kids think those are great. I enforce having lettuce or spinach in salads and wraps. The last time that I made meatloaf, I put carrots, spinach, and tomatoes into the food processor and mixed that in.
    Otherwise, I try to have a lot of variety. Great ideas that you have! I know from having done lunchroom duty that a lot of kids will not eat a balanced meal and with the elementary kids, I encourage them to eat their veggies before getting more of the main course.

  2. Mariel Tam-Ray says:

    Elisa, for dessert, you have to try frozen banana “ice cream.” We whipped some up tonight — just frozen banana chunks, plus I used a little juice to smooth them out — and we served it in ice cream cones.

    Redding is 2 1/2 and is not all that into vegetables right now, other than peas (usually frozen) and kale chips and baked sweet potato fries (which we don’t make often enough). I like your spinach smoothie trick, I’ll have to try that one.

  3. Laurie says:

    I guess I am on the other side of the spectrum, I cannot get my 6 month old to eat fruit! She loves all of the vegetables, but everything I try to get her to eat fruit she rejects it. Even if I mix it with vegetables. I have tried homemaking the food, and buying every kind imaginable. Any ideas?

  4. Kupi says:

    Wow. I like the 1/2 portion rule to get them to eat at least some veggies (I’m guessing a 1/2 servings worth). I notice at work that the kids who are buying lunch won’t eat the non-strachy veggies. If they’ve brought it from home, they’re more likely to eat it (probably b/c they’re used to eating it at home). None of my students this year will eat the green beans when they’re served.
    I know this isn’t my decision, so I try and not let it bother me at work. Besides, some days I feel like I’m doing good if they eat anything at all! 🙂 But it does bug me sometimes when I see kiddos coming in day after day with non heathly choices. Pizza and nuggets from home with nothing but chips and sugary dessert. I understand kiddos are gonna eat alot of this stuff, and I also understand about working moms being busy and doing they’re best, but sometimes it bugs me alittle.

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