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This post was sponsored by North Coast Organic through Kitchen PLAY, and I received Kids’ Apple Juice Drink and Fruit + Veggie Applesauce Pouches from them.
Are your kids picky eaters or vegetable haters? Getting your kids to eat vegetables doesn’t have to be a battle. Here are 21 ways to encourage your kids to eat vegetables and love them!
Do your kids need to eat more vegetables? Mine do too.
I’ve often wondered why babies will eat every vegetable in the world as baby food, and once they’re older they won’t touch a green bean.
After struggling at mealtimes for years, I came up with several easy ways to increase your kids’ vegetable intake (*ahem* these will also work on your husband). You may find yourself eating more vegetables too, which is never a bad thing.
There are lots of benefits to eating more veggies, and it’s important to avoid foods that pretend to be healthy, like fruit snacks. Through working with North Coast Organic, I was surprised to learn that most fruit juice concentrate (which fruit snacks and other foods are made from) originates in China. This means that they could contain traces of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and who knows what else.
North Coast Organic has been operating here in Northern California for nearly 100 years. All of their products are 100% certified USDA organic, made without added sugars or preservatives, and are fresh-pressed (never from concentrate). You can taste their dedication in every product.
Here are my favorite easy ways to get your kids to eat more vegetables.
21 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables
1. Make veggies easy to eat and readily available. Keep snow peas, celery sticks, and baby carrots in the fridge. Set them out for an after-school snack, and for the family to munch on while preparing dinner. In this case, a little bit of hunger is your friend.
2. Use a bit of tasty trickery. Kids love applesauce, and applesauce in a squeeze pouch is even better. North Coast Organic Fruit + Veggie Applesauce Pouches are a huge hit in our house. We especially like the blueberry/spinach/kale blend. They are perfect for eating in your fort, in your lunch, or as an anytime snack.
3. Chop or grate vegetables and add them to Loaded Fried Rice. You want the veggies to be cut up so small that they can’t be picked out. Great choices include carrots, zucchini, peas, cabbage, corn, and even finely chopped green beans.
4. Add spinach, kale, or other greens to a smoothie for a whole lot of nutrition without affecting the smoothie’s flavor. Here’s an easy smoothie recipe and some recommended greens to add. Start with a North Coast Organic Fruit + Veggie Applesauce Pouch to make your smoothie in a snap.
5. Speaking of drinking things, be sure you are drinking healthy. Although not strictly vegetable-related, this information is important for us moms to know. Kids love apple juice, but did you know that most kids’ apple juice drinks are made from juice concentrate? Apple juice concentrate is high in sugar, low in nutritional value, and doesn’t taste fresh.
I was amazed at the difference when we tried North Coast Organic Kids’ Apple Juice Drink. It’s organic (of course), made from USA-grown apples, and has no added sugars or preservatives. This tasty drink has 45% less sugar than conventional apple juice, and it’s teenager-approved for drinking while catching up on homework.
6. Grab the spinach and baby kale you’re using for your smoothie and add a handful to your salad. Over time, increase the amount of healthy greens and decrease the amount of lettuce until your salad is all greens.
7. Spaghetti sauce is a great place to hide extra vegetables. Grate up some carrots or zucchini, or finely chop spinach and add to your homemade spaghetti sauce while it cooks. Use this supercharged spaghetti sauce on pasta, in lasagna, on pizza, or for dipping breadsticks.
8. Menus matter! If you serve a vegetable kids hate with a main dish they love, they will eat the main dish and skip the veggies entirely. Try making a main dish that they’re ambivalent about and they’ll be more likely to eat their vegetables.
9. Experiment with new or unusual vegetables. Grab a bag of edamame or a jicama the next time you’re at the store. Splurge on the crinkle-cut carrots and try kale chips.
10. Add finely chopped spinach or Swiss chard to scrambled eggs. Tell Hubby that they are herbs for seasoning.
11. Add finely chopped spinach to homemade no-knead pizza dough and call it Alien Pizza. This is super-popular with the kids (use the spaghetti sauce you made with the extra veggies too)!
12. Grow a garden together. If kids help plant the seeds and grow vegetables and fruit, they’re more likely to eat those vegetables. You can grow vegetables indoors, outside in containers, or in your front or back yard. Here are the best vegetables and fruits to grow with kids.
13. Roasting vegetables is easy and brings out their natural sweetness. Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, beets, and sweet potatoes are all great choices for roasting.
14. When you’re serving a stir-fry dish over rice, include cooked, riced cauliflower. Just mix it in with the cooked rice and serve it without batting an eye. I’ll bet you that nobody will notice–especially if you’re serving it with homemade orange chicken.
15. Instead of a starchy side dish like noodles or pasta, make a second vegetable side dish. Pro tip: just about anything tastes better with homemade cheese sauce on it.
16. Sauté shredded zucchini and add the cooked squash into hamburgers or baked Italian meatballs. If you’re afraid that someone will see the green color and question your culinary motives, peel the zucchini so it’s easier to hide.
17. Try a bit of baby spinach on your favorite sandwich instead of lettuce. Baby spinach is milder and more tender than full-size spinach.
18. It’s always more fun to eat with your fingers. Try making these easy zucchini fritters or green bean fries for a snack or a dinner side dish.
19. Sauce is your friend. If you’re making homemade tacos, sloppy joes, or anything with ground meat, add shredded carrots or zucchini as you’re browning the meat. The sauce will camouflage the veggies and no one will be the wiser.
20. Make lettuce or chard wraps. This is sort of like an Asian burrito with a lettuce/chard shell instead of a tortilla. Cook the protein and veggies of your choice with a splash of soy sauce and sesame oil. Then everybody scoops a bit of the filling into their lettuce or chard leaf and eats it like a taco.
21. Believe it or not—you can sneak vegetables into brownies. North Coast Organic has a great recipe for brownies made with black beans. Don’t forget old favorites like zucchini bread or pumpkin bread too.
What are your favorite ways to get your family to eat more vegetables?