In their own unique way, almost every child is a fussy eater in one form or another. Picky eating isn’t necessarily a bad thing for kids to be – they’re busy developing their emotions, opinions, and taste buds all at the same time. It’s no wonder broccoli and brussel sprouts are the last thing they want to eat!
But if you’re a parent who is trying to grow a healthy, happy, and adventurous kid, then mac n’ cheese 3 nights in a row might be something you and your child have differing opinions on. And we want to help!
Fully equipped with our own experiences with picky taste buds, we’ve put together our 5 top tips for getting fussy kids to eat their vegetables.
#1. Hide them in plain sight
Probably the most obvious option, and one we’ve all heard a million times, so we’ll get it out the way first. Hiding vegetables in your kids favourite foods might be sneaky, but it’s a desperate parents last resort. Mac n’ cheese you say? Here you go kids! Just ignore what looks a little like kimchi…
#2. Introduce them bit by bit
Most kids have vegetables they HATE, and vegetables they are at least indifferent to. Try feeding them what they WILL eat (usually potatoes, carrots, peas, beans, cucumber, or tomatoes) until you feel like they’re ready to try one more vegetable. Keep trying vegetables one at a time, and offer them in their best form (covered in butter, or raw, or dipped in hummus – it depends on the vegetable!)
Even the staunchest of fussy eaters will be able to find a few options they can stomach.
#3. Try serving them in different ways
Listen, no one likes boiled brussel sprouts. No one. But if we were introduced to them as kids as roasted and seasoned, we might have different opinions. The same goes for most vegetables. If your kid won’t eat broccoli, try it with a cheese sauce. If your kid won’t eat beetroot, try it in our beetroot kraut. It’s all about finding different ways to serve vegetables to show them there are many options.
#4. Make vegetables exciting
We get it, you’re probably fairly frustrated right now. But your child is probably picking up on that, and now vegetables are being sauteed in negative emotions. Try and find different ways you can make vegetables fun. Games, competitions, and positive reinforcement will go a whole lot further than the “there are kids starving in Africa” shtick. Perhaps reward them when they eat all their vegetables. Or create a game where they have to taste all the vegetables and rank them best to worst. If you find ways to make it fun, they will have long term positive associations with their vegetables.
#5. Take a deep breath, this won’t be forever
Yes, there are some children who grow up to still be as fussy as they were when they were kids, but these people are the exception to the rule. As your child’s taste buds and opinions develop, so will their attitude towards vegetables. If you can find ways to make sure they don’t hate the idea forever, and continue to get nutrients however you can give it to them, then you’re doing fine.
Parenting is hard, but you’re doing great. Keep it up!