Keep it interesting—vary the type of vegetables you serve and keep
offering them. Offer some favorites with new veggies so even if the kids aren’t
up for trying something new, they have an old favorite to fall back on. And, if
your kids are okay with mixing veggies, try new combos for new appealing flavors,
textures, and colors.
Dress ‘em up—Try veggies with cheese sauce or Green Giant®’s Giant
Bites. For lunch or snacks, serve with dip, salad dressing, or even salsa.
Encourage experimentation—Sometimes it takes a few tries before
kids will even try a vegetable (or any new food) so keep ‘em coming. Encourage experimentation
with vegetables and let them know you understand they might not like EVERY vegetable,
but they won’t know unless they try.
Get your kids involved—Ask your kid to choose a vegetable for lunch
or for the family dinner. Encourage them to help pick out a vegetable to try while
you’re grocery shopping or preparing your shopping list. If it’s appropriate for
their age, have your kids help prepare veggies for dinner. Getting them involved
will help your kids feel empowered to make choices and contribute.
It's a classic childhood scene: Mom says you need to eat your veggies, and you create
intricate plans to make them disappear–to anywhere but your mouth. Maybe there's
a baked potato skin you can hide them inside. Dogs are built-in disposals. And there's
that potted plant near the dinner table. But now that you're all grown up, has your
palate for veggies changed? If not, we're here to tell you that vegetables are anything
but bland and boring. The way in which you prepare or present vegetables, however,
just might be. While there's nothing wrong with steamed broccoli or plain cooked
carrots, they could be perked up at dinnertime with different sauces, brighter colors,
and more interesting textures, says Jan Hangen, RD, clinical nutrition specialist
at Children's Hospital in Boston. Here's a new game plan:
Bet on a buffet of choices. Set out a pretty serving tray with
one raw and one cooked vegetable. Assemble a condiment tray with several salad dressings,
grated cheese, a no-salt seasoning mix, and lemon slices. Other options are: olive
and walnut oils, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup (particularly good on root vegetables
such as butternut squash and sweet potatoes).
Dress 'em up. Garnishes appeal to your sense of sight, and well-chosen
ones also boost nutrition, flavor, or even texture. Try topping cooked vegetables
with grated Parmesan cheese, sliced red onion, slivered almonds, or mild tomato
salsa. Sprinkle green salads with pomegranate seeds, chopped walnuts, berries, or
add slices of mandarin orange.
Add color. Load a tray with red, yellow, green, and orange veggies.
Eating from this rainbow of colors provides variety and helps ensure you get a good
mix of nutrients.
Mix it up with marinades. Toss veggies in a low-fat dressing and
marinate them overnight in the refrigerator. Serve them cold mixed in your favorite
pasta, or throw them on the grill with chicken or a veggie burger. Good grilling
options include red, yellow, and green bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, garlic,
onion, summer squash, and grape tomatoes.
Meet new vegetables. Go to the grocery store or the farmers' market
and, on a regular basis, buy an unfamiliar vegetable. If you're not sure how to
prepare it, you can always find recipes on the Internet, or head to the library
for a cookbook.
Travel the world. One night a week, give your meal an international
theme. Some dishes to try:
- Make an Asian-influenced salad with mandarin oranges, water chestnuts, slivered
almonds, and bok choy.
- Assemble Mexican-inspired vegetable tostadas, using crunchy broccoli slaw topped
with black beans, shredded Cheddar cheese, light sour cream, and salsa.
- Take a quick trip to France for some ratatouille by sautéing key ingredients in
olive oil, including eggplant, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes.
- Get a good Italian cookbook to brush up on how to make good vegetable-based antipasto.