My kids won’t eat veggies!

Some kids can feel a little put off by green foods. But fear not! With a few little tricks, you can help your child feel more confident about trying those green veggies and gradually even liking them!

Start small

If your kids won’t get veggies, start with a fresh or dried herb such as oregano, basil, thyme, or parsley. Sprinkle a small amount of thyme in your child’s favourite pasta dish or add chopped basil to their favourite savoury muffin.

Growing herbs can also be fun and exciting! Your little one might even like to smell it and taste the leaf on its own. Once your child is familiar with green specks in dishes they love, introducing new green foods will become easier.

Don’t hide the green stuff!

Kids are smart. Eventually, they find the sneaky veggies. They notice that tiny speck of green in the chocolate cake or the green tinge of the smoothie. Whether or not you fess up when they confront you, they will find out that you tricked them. This can affect their trust in you and your food! The result is a little detective who inspects their food rigorously and feels anxious about trying new foods. It can be hard to keep the secret going and it’s hardly worth it.

The great thing about being honest with your child about the ingredients you put in dishes is that you won’t have to worry about your child finding them, or having to pretend that they are something else.

Instead of hiding green foods, get your child involved with choosing, preparing and cooking them. Every green encounter with greens will make them more familiar and less intimidating!

Talk it up

Greens are amazing! They make your body strong and help you fight viruses. They help your tummy work properly and help you grow. Green vegetables can be tiny like peas and tall like celery. They can be floppy like spinach and crunchy like cucumber. They can be pale like iceberg lettuce and dark like zucchini. You can cut them in lots of different shapes to make them fun and look different – diced, sliced, grated, chopped, pureed and even juiced!

If your child still won’t eat veggies, talk enthusiastically about new foods to spark your child’s interest and encourage tasting. Have fun and interesting conversation about greens and other foods. Try different things. This is also a great way to build familiarity with new foods, making them less intimidating. Share your love of greens, you never know, it could be contagious!

Make it sweet

We all have a natural taste preference for sweet things. This means that kids are more likely to like foods that have a sweet taste. This is particularly useful to help with green veggies, which can often taste a little bitter. To sweeten them up, try a sweet honey or maple syrup vinaigrette or your child’s favourite dipping sauce. You can also try sprinkling grated cheese. Encourage your child to taste the greens with other foods on their plate to create a new taste.

Let them take the lead

Kids love choice. Let them choose a new green vegetable to try at the supermarket. Let them smell a few herbs and choose the best one. Or, ask them which other food they would like with the greens, for example “Would you like sausages or chicken with the green beans?” Sometimes kids are more likely to try new foods if they get to choose.

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Written by Angela Sutherland

After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music.

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