How to get your little ones to love their vegetables. Forever!
VEGETABLES JUST TICK all the boxes, don’t they? Less cholesterol, less saturated fat, less total fat, no animal protein, more fibre, vitamin powerhouses… there really is no downside to raising a child who loves his veggies. But sometimes this is easier said than done. It is quite common for babies to love their vegetables and then to pull up their noses for previous favourites during the toddler years. We help you get over and around the hurdle with 10 clever tips.
1 Offer the same vegetable in different forms. Sometimes cooked carrots will be rejected, but a child will happily munch on a raw carrot. Try offering frozen peas as a snack instead of cooked peas. Raw baby spinach will be chomped up in a salad, but is often spat out when cooked…
2 Involve your child in preparing the meal. Ask him to rinse the broccoli and break it into florets. He can also turn the steamer on for you. When children are involved in the making of the meal, and even with the shopping, they tend to eat better. Announce to the whole family that Junior made the broccoli for tonight’s meal, and chances are he’ll eat it.
3 Toddlers love finger foods and dipping, so offer crudités at snack time and in lunch boxes.
4 If tomato sauces for pasta are popular with your little one, you can add finely chopped or even puréed vegetables to the sauce. Also try chunkier tomato-based sauces, such as ratatouille.
5 If your toddler likes mashed potato, try adding in mashed carrot, chopped spinach or even mashed cauliflower and broccoli. Sweet potato mash is also nutritious and delicious.
6 Nearly all vegetables are made yummier by adding cheese! Let your toddler help you sprinkle some over and watch it bubble under the grill.
7 Fritters are the best way to use up leftover vegetables. Mash the vegetables and make a batter by adding an egg and some flour until you have a thick consistency. Shallow-fry small portions in a frying pan. Crispy and moreish!
8 Develop your child’s palate by exposing them to herbs. Even in small amounts, they add to the nutritional value of the meal as well. Make it an adventure to let your child smell basil or dill and get them to guess what you’ve included.
9 Carrot cake, anyone? Learn how to bake with vegetables. Butternut or pumpkin purée can be used in many muffin recipes and grated sweet potato can be added to some cookie recipes. Google for exact ideas. 10 Don’t forget beans and legumes – they’re also vegetables and most children love them. Beans make great finger food, but if your child doesn’t like them they can easily be puréed and added to any sauce or soup. Your child will be none the wiser, but will be getting a big extra nutritional kick.
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