If you’re dealing with a picky eater, meal times can be a constant battle. Many kids tend to gravitate toward pasta, bread or junk food, causing parents to worry that their children are not getting enough nutrients in their diet. Here are 10 sneaky tips to get your child to eat more veggies:
1) Add minced cauliflower to rice. The veggie is almost invisible!
2) Hide shredded spaghetti squash or zucchini in casseroles.
3) Bake sweet treats with apple sauce instead of butter or oil and opt for carrot cake or chocolate zucchini cake when baking homemade goodies.
4) Mix pumpkin puree in with pancake or waffle batter and top with fresh berries.
5) Add tomatoes, spinach, bell peppers and/or mushrooms to an omelet or scrambled eggs for a savoury breakfast.
6) Make eating veggies a game: Have crunch contests where the loudest crunch wins or design colourful veggie plates together with your child and then devour your creations.
7) Add a little flavour…within reason! Adding a pinch of salt, dip or a healthy cheese sauce can get children accustomed to enjoying veggies.
8) Add minced broccoli to mac and cheese or other fave pasta dishes.
9) Smoothies: The perfect hiding spot for more greens!
10) Roast kale, Brussel sprouts or sweet potatoes in the oven with olive oil, a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for instant, satisfying snacks.
While children should be encouraged to try new foods multiple times before deciding whether they like it or not, they shouldn’t be forced to clean their plate if they really don’t like a particular food as it might create a negative association with that food. The trick is to keep trying, re-introduce foods often and lead by example by eating a variety of healthy veggies and fruits.