Getting children to eat their fruit and veg is always a tricky one. When they are just babies and trying food for the first time you give them every vegetable under the sun, but then something happens as they get older. They discover other food and realise that veggies are not as nice as, say, a biscuit.
It is our duty as parents to try and persuade our little cherubs that they should be choosing the healthier options, or to just “eat one more mouthful of peas”. The fight is never ending and our little ones can be incredibly stubborn. I’ve had food thrown over the floor, her just refusing to eat anything, eating everything but her vegetables, sneaking her veggies onto someone else’s plate, and I’m pretty sure if we had a dog, the dog would be very well fed with unwanted veg.
Fruit is much easier to get little ones to eat, they are sweet and moist and much tastier than the slightly bitter vegetables that we have to offer. What’s more they are much more vibrant in colour making them more appealing to little fingers.
So my question is
How do we get children to eat their veg?
Do we force feed them into oblivion?
Do we threaten them?
Do we make every single meal into a soup, just so we know they’re having something?
Do we continue with a daily battle and struggle making meal times ever so slightly stressful? Or do we find a solution that works best for our children?
I have spent the last year and a half looking for alternative ways to get my little girl to eat her vegetables. I will admit not everything that I have tried works, but the ones that do work I stick to.
Trial and error is the best option we have as parents to try and get our little ones to eat. Even a supermarket has tried a campaign to get children to eat their veg. But the question is does it work?
Below are a few ideas that I have tried, with some good results.
Hide and Seek
Adding vegetables to a sauce or hiding them in a Bolognese, this has been a great way for me to get my little one to eat up her vegetables. She loves a Bolognese and my homemade sauces always go down a treat.
Another way to hide vegetables is to make a soup. (I will tag my soup recipe once I reveal this to you al, below) My daughter loves a soup but is adamant that she dislikes the various veggies that I add to it. That is where I laugh a little. She will gobble a homemade soup up in no time giving her plenty of nutrients and veg.
Shaping it up?
Making fun shapes out of vegetables and fruit is a really good way to get little ones to eat them. Rather than doing the classic vegetable sticks and chunks, make them into something fun. Try some letters and numbers to help with their learning, or simple shapes such as a star, heart, or smiling faces.
Sometimes I get my little one to help make the shapes, that way as she has felt involved she is more likely to eat them. I like to get her to make a picture with her veggies before she eats them so she has fun with them first. She gets great pleasure in eating her creations (haha).
Making a game out of it?
My favourite game to play with my little girl is that her veggies are going to eat her favourite part of her meal if she doesn’t eat them first. At first she started eating her favourite parts first so the veggies wouldn’t touch them, but after a bit of learning (I started removing bits from her plate when she wasn’t looking shhh – she got them back after her veggies were gone) she will now eat her veggies alongside the main part of her meal.
We also try a game of who can eat their veg the quickest, and I used inspiration from the Aldi advert (I think it was aldi) and told her that the vegetables are going to take over the world if she doesn’t help mummy eat them all.
Making it fun to eat her vegetables is definitely one of the best ways I have used to get her to eat them up.
Giving the vegetables a nickname helps her to see a fun side with them, and more likely to touch them. While it doesn’t always work it does help her to understand that they are good for you.
Some of the nicknames we have are:
Broccoli – green trees
Cauliflower – white trees
tomatoes – tomtoms
Cucumber – cumbie
What are some of the things that you do to get your children to eat their veg? This is an ongoing battle for most parents and while I have found some solutions to it, I will admit IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK. Children are stubborn and they know what they want (even if it’s not what they need) and will do anything they can to get what they want where possible.
I look forward to hearing all about your solutions and struggles that you have with getting your little ones to eat their fruit and veg.
much love xx