by Jeanne from Michigan
“Eat your fruits and veggies!” is a phrase that we hear often. I understand why it’s important, but getting my kids to eat more vegetables is hard!
One of the things I found helpful was to change our afternoon snack from a carb heavy dinner spoiler to just raw vegetables.
Right around 4 pm I cut up three or four different kinds of raw vegetables* and put them on a platter out on the kitchen table. Sometimes I add fruit or dips to go with the veggies like hummus or ranch dressing.
This late afternoon time (between 3-4:30 pm) is key. It is when my kids are the hungriest. Two of them are just home from school, and the other two are finishing up rest time. Usually everyone asks “what’s for dinner?!” and I’m in the middle of figuring out dinner. So until dinner is ready, I direct them to the veggie platter. I’m more of a laid back mom, so if they wanted to grab a handful and run and play, I’m OK with that. And I never fear that this snack will spoil their dinner. What better thing to be filled up with than veggies?!
For a while my children only ate raw carrots. But I would continuously put new veggies out. For example, just a few pieces of fresh celery, peppers, green beans, or cucumbers sat out with the carrots for anyone to grab. And once or twice I would grab those new veggies for myself to eat. Slowly my kids would try these new offerings themselves. Have picky eaters too? Don’t be discouraged! It took my pickiest eater two years to try celery! Now she asks for it. Just seeing you eat something over and over might create a kind of comfort and awareness of the food for your child.
A tip that I stumbled upon: the vegetables that do not get eaten, cut into smaller pieces and toss with lettuce. Voila! You have a side salad for dinner, or lunch tomorrow.
This sneaky snack has been a slow process but the habit has helped my children (and myself) eat more vegetables before the day is over. I hope you test it for yourself!
*Note from wichealth: Steam hard veggies until soft for children under 4.
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Jeanne.
About Jeanne. . . Jeanne Garlets is a mom of four with two kids at home and two in elementary school. She loves the outdoors and includes her kids her hobbies of running, hiking and biking. Those hobbies are always nice to do on her own too.
Want more inspiration about how to involve your kids and encourage eating nutritious foods? Check out a few lessons at www.wichealth.org. Our Choosing Healthy Foods category is a great place to start!
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