Looking for ways to encourage more veggie eating in your house? Veggies can be a tough sell, especially for little ones. I find anytime I can make eating veggies fun and take the focus off of the veggies and onto the activity, things go smoother and we have more success.
Below is a list of 20 ideas to try all centered around fun ways to encourage kids to eat vegetables. I recommend to slowly go through the list and finding what ones work and what ones don’t. These are all tools to add to your parenting toolbox so even if one doesn’t work now, tuck it away for later as it may work down the road.
20 ideas to encourage veggie eating in your house
- Play a game with your veggies. We loved to play tic-tac-toe when my girls were younger. Cut up veggie sticks to create the board and then small veggie pieces to create your own markers. Have fun and get creative.
- Make a snack tray and make sure to include a few different veggies. I recommend using two familiar veggies and one unfamiliar veggie.
- Fill a muffin tin with colorful fruits and veggies. I like to add a dip to help make the veggies more enticing.
- Make a rainbow with veggies and fruit. It is always more fun to eat a rainbow.
- Sample several dressings with veggies. Put two to three different dressings on the table with veggie sticks and have your family put the dressing in order from their favorite to least favorite. Once you know their favorite dressing, this will help with raising a salad lover too. I love Primal Kitchen dressings as they are made with avocado oil instead of seed oils and they are free of sugar. Read this post on why I like to reduce my family’s seed oil consumption.
- If you have access to a local farm, buy a farm fresh veggie and a store bought veggie. Have your kids taste each one and compare the differences in color, taste, and texture. Are they able to pick out the farm fresh veggie?
- If you take your child to the store have them help fill the cart with colorful veggies and maybe pick one out they have never tried before. Or have your child help you put the veggies away in the refrigerator when you get home. You can talk about the different colors, tastes, and textures. This helps kids become more familiar with veggies when is the step before they will actually eat veggies.
- Go to Farmers Markets with your child if you have access to one. Discover together all the amazing different varieties of veggies you may not find at the grocery store. Introduce yourself to the farmer and help your child start to build the connection to where their food comes from.
- If you have the space, time, and desire, grow your own veggies. This can be as simple as growing herbs on a window sill or sprouting broccoli sprouts. Check out this link to see how. It requires just a few minutes a day of rinsing the seeds with water and you will have spouts in about one week!
- Have a Family friendly competition of who can eat the most veggies in one day! Or work together as a team to see how many veggies you can eat all together.
- Have your kids help you in the kitchen by washing, drying or cutting veggies depending on their age.
- Make a smoothie together. I love adding spinach or frozen cauliflower rice to our smoothie. You can start by having your child add just 1 small leaf or 1 small piece of cauliflower. This will not be enough to change the color or taste of the the smoothie. The sole purpose is just getting them use to the idea of veggies!
- Make a baked good with veggies. Check out my Spinach Chocolate Chip Muffins or Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins.
- Serve veggies as an appetizer before dinner. The best time to serve veggies is when your kids are hungry. For me, that perfect window is between 4:30 and 5:30 when I’m making dinner and they are “starving!!!”
- Serve veggies at as many meals and snacks as you can. The more we serve veggies, the more “normal” veggies become. I know my youngest won’t eat her veggies at school so I just send her with 1 carrot stick or 1 cucumber slice, as an example, with her snack and lunch so veggies become normalized. My girls would think it was weird if I didn’t serve veggies. My goal is to build the habit of serving veggies even if they don’t eat them every time.
- Make a list of all the veggies your kids like (or will eat), and put them on the fridge. As they continue to try different veggies, you can add them to the list and slowly watch the list grow. This list becomes a good reference for you, a parent, when thinking about what veggies and to serve.
- Have fun with food by creating food art together. Think of this as a special activity to do with your child.
- Leave chopped veggies in a clear glass container at eye level so your older kids can help themselves to veggies when they are hungry.
- Role model eating veggies. It is so important for your kids to see you eating veggies so if you aren’t a fan of veggies yet, I recommend faking it until you are. Easier said than done, I know, but think of the end goal of raising healthy, happy, adventurous eaters who love their veggies!
- And, lastly, an overarching tool for encouraging veggie eating is to get your kids in the kitchen. Check out my kids cooking classes (virtual or in person) where we have fun, create, and try new foods in a safe, no pressure environment. All the recipes we make together have a special nutrient dense ingredient, either veggies or beans, to show kids that food can be delicious and be good for us too.
I hope that out of all 20 of these ideas, you will find at least a few new ways to encourage veggie eating in your house. I’d love to hear what ones work best in your house!