As adults, we know that greens are necessary to keep our bodies healthy—and most of us even develop a fondness for them. The challenge is getting our kids to try to enjoy the bounty of the spring coming to gardens, farmers markets, and grocery stores near you, including gorgeous veggies like asparagus, zucchini, fennel, spinach, and lettuce. Children specifically are very sensitive to taste, therefore, your child’s sensory development can indeed affect their food acceptance. Your child may not be eating many vegetables at this point, they are likely still receiving many of the same essential nutrients from other foods, fruit being one of them. Here are some tips to attract your children.
1. Zucchini noodles
What kid doesn’t like pasta? Skip the regular pasta and make your own noodle ribbons using these gorgeous green zucchini! Simply peel a zucchini using a hand peeler or invest in a spiral slicer for spaghetti-shaped “zoodles” kids will love. If your toddlers aren’t touching anything green, just be sure to peel off the skin before making your spirals or ribbons.
2. Dip In Sauce
Serve raw or steamed veggies with a sauce, dip or dressing. This can be anything, even ketchup, honey mustard or ranch dressing! Something that you know they enjoy the taste of can really increase their acceptance and consumption of some vegetables. Even adding a dolop of nut butter–such as peanut or almond–can make veggies seem more fun or appealing, while adding some nutrition too.
3. Keep warm in winter
Corn on the cob, baked potatoes, hot home-made popcorn, baked beans and stewed fruits can really hit the spot on cold winter days. In winters it is important to keep warm your toddlers.
4. Plant a vegetable garden
Even one as small as a windowsill pot will do. Allow your children to choose which vegetables to grow, and encourage them to plant, water, weed and harvest the bounty. They will be much more interested in eating food they have grown themselves.
5. Start them young
A baby isn’t biased about what foods she should or should not like. Studies have shown that eating greens while a baby is in utero familiarizes the little one to the flavor. Whether this is true or not, those greens are certainly good for both mother and baby.
6. Put vegetables into a favorite dish
Add veggies to dishes your kids already like, like tacos, pizza, or spaghetti. Filling tacos with beans and roasted vegetables can be a fun way for kids to try a new vegetable.