Fresh veggies from the backyard gardens to the Farmer’s Market are here and taste so good! However, there are challenges to getting some kids to enjoy them. Here are some ideas that may help you.
Grow a garden
Grow a garden with your kids. They will love planting the seeds and watching the plants grow. But the best part is eating vegetables straight from the garden. A favourite thing to do this time of year, is to eat some garden peas, fresh out of the pod!
If you don’t have your own garden, take your kids to the Farmer’s Markets and let them choose a vegetable. This week I saw a preschooler choose a purple cauliflower to take home just because she liked purple!
Offer veggies that taste less bitter
Kids are SUPER tasters and taste the flavours of foods more keenly than many adults. And that can be a challenge when it comes to veggies because vegetables can taste bitter. It is those healthy vitamins and antioxidants that they contain that give them that bitterness. Some veggies are more bitter than others.
For this reason, I like to give kids raw veggies that are not bitter, such as mini carrots, red and green peppers, cucumber, and tomatoes. I offer raw veggies with a dip because kids love to dip anything and a dip can take away from the bitterness of the vegetables.
I have found that some veggies are less bitter when cooked. For example, raw broccoli is very bitter but if it is cooked for just 2 minutes, it takes on a much brighter green colour and loses its bitterness. Some vegetables taste milder when they are not cooked, for example spinach.
Offer veggies that are not mushy
Kids like vegetables with a crunch. Raw veggies are favourites. Many kids prefer the fresh green beans available now in the summer over the cooked frozen beans that we have all winter. Kids like veggies cooked until tender crisp and not mushy.
In fact, I have found that kids prefer to eat frozen peas frozen instead of cooked. When my kids were young, I just put some frozen peas in a bowl for them to eat as a snack. They loved them that way!
Give kids veggies when they are hungry.
Have kids start their supper with veggies by putting out some raw veggies and dip for them to munch on while you are making supper. By the time supper is served they will have eaten their veggies and won’t need to eat them with the meal.
Enjoy those veggies yourself – your kids do what you do, not what you say.
Don’t force your kids to eat veggies. Don’t even say “Have just one bite.” Offer crisp veggies that taste good and enjoy eating them yourself. Your child may take some time but s/he will eventually enjoy them too.
Treat yourself to health!