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Getting your kids to eat more veggies

Last Modified: 5/27/2020

kids veggies

This post was written by Adrianne Kartholl, RDN, CD, Parkview Health.

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding nutrition in children revolves around the consumption and acceptance of vegetables. This food group can be tricky for kids especially when trying to get them to eat adequate amounts. But no need to worry. With a bit of creativity and persistence, parents and caregivers can increase the intake and acceptance of these foods.

Reaching recommendations

While most children in developed countries, such as the United States, have access to vegetables, the truth is that most kids still don’t reach the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Vegetables are not only a great source of vitamins and minerals, but also fiber. Vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin D are essential for adequate growth and development during childhood.

Early introduction

When introducing your child to their first foods, be sure that vegetables are an option at every meal. Try offering a variety of vegetables. Remember, it's very common for children, especially in their toddler years, to shy away from vegetables due to texture and taste. However, research has shown that it can take up to 15 times of offering a food before a child will learn to accept it. Consistency is key!

Getting excited about vegetables

A great way to get kids excited about vegetables is by taking them to the grocery store. We recommend having your children shop with you, if possible. Take a moment in the produce section to introduce them to a variety of vegetables. Let them observe the colors and textures of the vegetables being purchased. This can also be done with frozen and canned options as well. We also recommend trying a new vegetable each week. As a family, decide how the new vegetable can be prepared. If you try a vegetable raw, offer it the next time steamed or roasted. Even when plating, try standing broccoli or cauliflower up like trees. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make it fun.

Smart snacking

Snacks are also a great opportunity for your child to get their servings of vegetables in. Try a variety of raw vegetables, cut into fun shapes or sticks, and pair it with a low-fat dressing, dip or hummus.

Give your meals a boost

Many items cooked at home can have vegetables added to them to boost their nutrient values. Adding an assortment of vegetables to pasta sauce is a delicious way to incorporate extra vegetables. Popular choices include onions, peppers, mushrooms and carrots. You could even add finely chopped vegetables to eggs, soups or casseroles to help boost your family’s intake. Smoothies can also be a fun way to incorporate both fruit and veggies into a meal or snack.


Helpful resources

American Academy of Pediatrics

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