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Getting Our Kiddos to Eat (try) Veggies Without too Much Work or Pressure!

Not sure about you all but routine cleaning tasks and meal prep have taken a back burner in our home in the past few months. Grocery shopping feels stressful! It’s difficult to plop our kiddos in the shopping cart and stroll leisurely through the aisles, sometimes snacking as we ride. Instead, we make a list and go in and out as quickly as possible– solo. For me this leads to the same foods being bought and eaten. 

How many times can I heat up frozen peas for my toddler just to find them still on the plate or all over the floor. Does this sound familiar? 

Every now and then I can get a surge of energy towards meal and veggie prep. I am always thinking though, how can I get my littles to eat more vegetables? Here is what I discovered works best for us and from other parents and dieticians. 

  1. Family meals 

We have found and as has been recommended from several dieticians, that eating together and eating the same foods as our kids, can encourage kids to try new foods and give consistency around eating. It also allows for reflection and conversation about the day that can be healthy for familial relationships. 

  1. Bring a “friend” to dinner night

Some people may not agree with this one as it can be a distraction, but for my toddler I have found it helpful. Sometimes if he’s reluctant to try new foods or eat vegetables, we’ll bring a stuffed animal to the table to feed. Sometimes the independence and experimentation around feeding can lead to more eating or trying of new foods. 

  1. V-a-r-i-e-t-y.

Our kiddos get bored of foods, just like us! Kids love new and exciting foods. Squash, zucchinis, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, sunchokes, daikon, radishes…on pizza, in mashed potatoes, with pasta, as the pasta, with cheese? 

  1. Take the pressure off 

In two ways. Off of yourself to be perfect and serve the perfectly balanced meal at every chance and for introducing new foods to your kiddos. Introducing new foods or veggies with familiar foods and giving no pressure to eat them can encourage kiddos to try them. Praising an attempt at trying a new food can also encourage food exploration. If they refuse to eat the broccoli or throw it on the floor, it’s ok and normal behavior. Maybe next time they’ll try it. 

  1. Never did I think I’d be the mom who cut foods into shapes…

Some moms might say otherwise, but not me. That is, until one day when I gave my hockey obsessed child a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into a hockey stick and puck and saw a face of pure joy! Getting creative and silly with shapes (even if they aren’t perfect looking) will definitely allow for experimentation.

  1. When I dip, you dip, we dip—into veggies.

Do your kiddos love dips? Mine sure do. Whatever the dip may be, the more likely they are to eat the food. 

  1. You’re doing your best, nice work!

It’s so easy to get caught up in the–”am I doing enough?” web of thinking. Especially, as we scroll through social media. We all know that no one is perfect and there are not enough hours in the day to be so. Our little humans love us and love spending time with us more than anything. So, just know that we know that you’re doing a great job in a difficult time so, let’s be gentle on ourselves, just as we are to our littles. 

We hope this helps give you some ideas for how to get your littles to eat their veggies. If you have any ideas that aren’t listed, let us know! We love to collaborate and share. 

Happy veggie eating!

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