- You can’t control every bite your kids eat – th
at said, don’t give up; on average, it takes over a dozen presentations of a new food before a child is willing to just taste the food — and as much as a further dozen tastes before a child will actually eat something new. Forcing your kids to eat foods they don’t like only reinforces their dislike for the food.
- If you have a fussy eater, encourage your child gently. Children shouldn’t be forced to eat a new food, but they should be encouraged to simply taste the things that are served. With this in mind, try not to offer new foods unless you yourself are in a relaxed mood so that the experience is pleasant for both of you.
- Even if your child is a picky eater, always have veggies present on the table at every meal. This allows them the “choice” of selecting the veggies themselves. Also, make sure there is always at least one thing on the table your child does like.
- One way to increase the variety of new foods in your child’s diet is to try eating fruits and veggies of all colors of the rainbow. You can make this a funactivity by doing “taste training” with your children. For example, choose one type of food (like citrus) and try many different varieties (i.e. lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime). Ask children to pick a favorite – it may turn into their new favorite flavor!
- Try incorporating mashed or pureed vegetables into meals. Butternut squash in mac and cheese gives a beautiful yellow color and a rich sauce that can still be flavored with cheese. Beets taste amazing in tomato sauce, and give it a gorgeous deep red hue. Blend steamed cauliflower into mashed potatoes – and they’ll never even notice it’s there!
- You can also build variety on top of what kids already like by introducing variations on your children’s favorite food dishes. For example, if they like one type of rice, try others (i.e. white, brown, wild, Arborio, basmati, jasmine, etc…).
- Research has shown that when kids help in the cooking process, they are more likely to eat the meal they are helping prepare. Safe ways to involve your kids are; washing the fruits/veggies, measuring, mixing, chopping softer veggies
- Lastly, remember kids are watching everything their p
arents do. If you aren’t eating (and enjoying) veggies with every meal – neither will they!
- Zucchini: Add in grated zucchini to your meatballs, hamburger patties, or spaghetti sauce. For a healthy twist on baked goods, you can even add in grated zucchini to your breads, muffins, and cookies!
- Butternut Squash: Incorporate mashed or pureed vegetables like squash into meals and snacks adds creaminess without added fat. Butternut squash in mac and cheese gives a beautiful yellow color and a rich sauce that can still be flavored with cheese. Adding pureed pumpkin into ordinary oatmeal gives it an extra fiber boost and a bright color.
- Beets: Beets taste amazing in tomato sauce and sweeten it up without added sugar. You can also add pureed beets into pancake or waffle mix, for pretty pink princess pancakes!
- Cauliflower: Blend steamed cauliflower into mashed potatoes – they’ll never even notice it’s there! You can also try it in mac and cheese for a sneaky
- Spinach: Blend spinach into fresh fruit smoothies to give them both a nutrient and color boost. Mixing with sweet and tart fruits like banana and mango makes for a kid-friendly twist.
- Berries: Ditch the jarred jams and jellies and puree fresh berries for toppings on oatmeal, pancakes, sandwiches and desserts.
- Leafy Greens: Pesto doesn’t always have to be basil-based! Add in kale or spinach and even other herbs like cilantro or parsley for a different and equally delicious flavor.
- Cauliflower Mac & Cheese: https://www.hellofresh.com/recipe/detail/55cce209fd2cb940528b4567/cauliflower-mac-and-cheese-with-balsamic-arugula-salad/
- Crushed Beets over Pasta: https://www.hellofresh.com/recipe/detail/5566221afd2cb9046d8b456b/crushed-beets-whole-wheat-spaghetti-with-lemony-ricotta-hazelnuts-basil-oil/
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Steak: https://www.hellofresh.com/recipe/detail/54989f1fff604ddc048b4569/seared-steak-with-cauliflower-mash-and-green-beans/
- Mashed Pea Toasts with Ricotta: https://www.hellofresh.com/recipe/detail/5537b40e6ced6eae038b4567/creamy-ricotta-pea-toasts-with-arugula-edamame-salad/
- Red Bell Peppers (red), served with different dips like hummus
- Carrots (orange), sauteed with butter and cinnamon
- Sweet Potato (orange), baked vs. mashed
- Broccoli (green), roasted or sautéed
- Lettuces (green), provide a variety and ask kids to describe the taste differences
I want to thank Rebecca for being so helpful and supplying these tips that really do make a difference. Try one of her tips today. See how it works. Give it time. If you feel it might not be working, move onto her second tip. Keep trying. Do not give up! If you have some tips yourself, please share them below! Lot’s of parents will be reading this and will enjoy every bit of advice they can get! And if you want to try HelloFresh, you can use my promo code for $35 off your first order with HelloFresh! Enter code MEALPREPMONDAYS at checkout on www.hellofresh.com.
PS: Rebecca will answer your questions live tomorrow 4/20/2016 on our Instagram channel @MealPrepMondays . Join us at 3:00 PM and ask her how to sneak in more veggies in your meals!