Toddlers and tomatoes just don't go together. Or, do they? Figuring out how to get your toddler to eat his vegetables is a tricky science that parents have been experimenting with for centuries. Next time your little one has a blow up at the sight of peas or tosses his carrots at you, give one of these food prep tricks a try!
Hide Veggies in MeatWhen mixing up your favorite meatloaf, meatball, or homemade sausage recipe, sneak in a few soft vegetables. Sweet peas, minced steamed carrots, and shredded spinach blend into cooked meat and become almost unrecognizable.
Make it CreamyKids love gooey, messy foods like pudding cups and jelly. Play up this texture by offering creamed corn in an upcycled, clean pudding cup container. Or, add cheese sauce to chopped cauliflower and broccoli florets served over a favorite carbohydrate, like noodles or mashed potatoes.
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Create Cool ShapesSometimes kids refuse vegetables because they're bored and simply don't want to eat at the moment you're ready to serve a meal. So, make the food fun! Carve a finger puppet out of a hunk of cucumber. Use toothpicks to make a grape tomato snowman. Or, transform slices of baked sweet potato into hearts by using a cookie cutter.
Create Colorful SticksIf a vegetable doesn't look like a vegetable, it becomes more edible in the eyes of a kid. So, brush up on your culinary skills and learn how to create matchstick or julienne slices of raw vegetables. Get started with bell peppers, celery, carrots, and kohlrabi.
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Offer a Dipping SauceWhether it's a creamy salad dressing, homemade hummus, or juicy marinara sauce, your kiddo is more likely to give those veggies a try if he can dunk (and get messy) with his food. Get the bibs ready!
Try a New VegetableToddlers are perpetually curious. If you place something on their plate they haven't seen before, and everyone around them is eating it, they might dive in too! Try offering uncommon vegetables like okra, mung bean spouts, spaghetti squash strands, or hominy.
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Make a Food SwapDig into your Pinterest boards and finally make that riced cauliflower pizza dough, veggie burger, and buffalo-style cauliflower wings. These new takes on common foods are sure to intrigue your little one!
Be sneaky, creative, and persistent and you're sure to win the meal time battle. Above all, set a great example by letting him see you eating vegetables -- and enjoying them! Learn more about nutrition for your child here.