Once children start to get a little taste of what’s at your typical birthday party like sugary cake, cookies and cheesy pizza-it can start to become a challenge to get your child to eat nutrient dense fruits and vegetables they used to devour.
We all remember being told to finish our fruits and veggies as a child. But, did our parents ever explain how supercharged veggies are with powerful minerals and vitamins that boost our immune systems and keep our gut healthy and strong? Probably not! Additionally, fruits and veggies are packed with fiber to support digestion and you guessed it- number two trips to the potty!
Below are 5 tips on how Steph and Jen have gotten their little ones to eat their fruits and veggies, even if that means “sneaking” them in where you can.
- Morning Smoothies: Smoothies are a great way to get multiple servings of fruits and veggies in one sitting. A favorite on our list is adding foods that are filled with fiber and healthy fats like spinach, avocado, banana, berries, and a choice of non-dairy milk. You can even try freezing your morning smoothies into popsicles which are usually a fan favorite in both our houses. Both options feel like a treat which makes your little one more likely to indulge.
- Baked Goods and Clean Label Snacks!: Another great way to add in some fruits and veggies and making it more of a fun toddler food is by baking them into our sweet favorites. Carrot Cake, blender spinach muffins, blueberry muffins, zucchini bread. Some of our favorite snacks with fruits and veggies added are: Chum Bites and Pulp Pantry Chips.
- Blend, Blend, Blend: A favorite recipe we tend to repeat in both our houses are spinach pancakes. Spinach is a great neutral vegetable to blend into a pancake batter which in turn makes the pancakes of course green! We call them monster pancakes which makes them more exciting for the little ones. Blending other veggies into sauces is another great option to sneak in those vegetables. Try blending up broccoli really fine and tossing it into the mac and cheese next time and see if they even notice. Or add spinach to your favorite pasta sauce.
- Re-introduce Daily: It’s amazing how one day your kid will think something is yucky, but then all of a sudden take a liking to it out of nowhere, and vice versa. Sometimes just re-introducing the same vegetable on the plate weekly or every other day in small amounts will eventually get your little one interested in giving it a try. Even if they take one bite of something they never would have even come close to touching before is one step closer to getting them to possibly have a new food to add to the rotation.
- Monkey See Monkey Do: Usually kids tend to follow what they see, whether it's from kids at school or watching their parents, or older siblings at home. Chances are if they see Mommy, Daddy or “big brother” eating something they will want to copy the behavior. The other day Steph was snacking on some sliced peppers with hummus, which made her two year old son, Jack want to try. Now pepper slices are a frequently requested snack! This won’t work for everything but the more you share the colorful fruits and veggies on your plate- the more curious and encouraged your children will be to try! Also, our children always see us preparing meals or grocery shopping. Let them help out and enjoy the experience of unloading groceries or prepping a salad with you. There are child-safe knives that they can use to chop up veggies to be your little sous chef!