02 Apr How to Add Vegetables Into Kid-Friendly Meals
This post was sponsored by Champion.
By Mary (Yue) Sun, PhD, Guest Blogger
The biggest problem parents seem to have is finding creative ways to get their kids to eat more veggies. But getting your child to eat healthy shouldn’t be a burden. Here are 3 quick and easy ideas to boost your kiddos veggie intake.
- Make a healthy dip: Research shows that dips are a great way for children to increase their vegetable consumption. Make a reduced-fat dip and serve along with celery sticks, sliced red peppers, and baby carrots. If you’re trying to get your kids to eat more fruit, whip up a sweeter yogurt-based dip.
- Puree your veggies: Research shows that repeated exposure of veggie purees has been shown to be the most receptive way to increase vegetable acceptance for children. Plus, pureeing is one of the easiest and affordable ways to add veggies to your child’s meal. Some great veggies to puree are zucchinis, carrots, squashes, cucumber, and celery. Freeze the extra pureed veggies in ice cube trays to use for later. Add these pureed veggies in soups and pasta sauces to enhance the flavor and good-for-you nutrients. Check out the video below featuring registered dietitian Melissa Halas-Liang who shows how to add puree vegetables into salsa and sauces. Here, a Champion juicer for an even and finely minced consistency, but you can use a food a food processor instead.
- Make Your Own Veggie Noodles: Got a noodle eater? Making your own veggie noodles is a fun way to get your kids to eat veggies. To make your own vegetable noodles, simply shred zucchini or any other squash of choice lengthwise with a grater or mandolin. You can also invest in a veggie noodle maker. You can also prepare spaghetti squash, which actually looks like spaghetti. Cook spaghetti squash by either microwaving in a bowl lined with water or baking the squash halves in the oven for 30-40 minutes. After the squash has been cooked, allow it to cool and then shred it with a fork to create “pasta”. Top spaghetti this with a healthy pasta sauce filled with pureed tomatoes, basil, cheese, and any added pureed veggies.
It’s important to keep in mind that kids may not be receptive to new foods early on, but patience is key. In fact, it’s absolutely normal for kids to slowly accept new foods after 8-10 tries (or more!). Give these 3 simple ideas a try and kick start your child to a lifelong habit of healthy eating!
Mary Sun earned her PhD in Nutritional Sciences (Human Nutrition Emphasis) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has a special interest in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Nutritional Sciences. She is currently pursuing her registered dietitian nutritionist credential