We’ve all heard it countless times from our own moms, the media, the government and our doctors: EAT MORE VEGETABLES. Most of us know why, but not always the how. In our busy lives it’s simply not practical to sit down and eat a salad for every meal, plus that would be very boring. I have a skinny friend (you know, the kind of amazing woman who even looks slender when 9 months pregnant) who once told me, “I just don’t eat anything that I’m not excited about eating.”
While that’s not quite what I do always, I have found some ways to get more vegetables into my own body AND be excited about it!
My kids, on the other hand, were a little more reluctant at first. Our oldest daughter has always been an adventurous eater. When she was a toddler I was so proud that she would literally gobble up almost anything I sat on her high chair tray. Daughter number 2 wasn’t as agreeable but still ate pretty well. Then came along baby number 3, and all my motherly nutritional pride went out the window. You know, she’s one of those kids who loves to eat anything the color TAN. Chicken nuggets, french fries, pizza, mac and cheese, are her favorite things in the world. I had to start getting a little more creative after this one.
Here are five ways I get my kids to eat more vegetables:
- Be an example! One of the most important ways to influence kids’ behavior (or anyone for that matter) is to model it yourself. Do your children see you enjoying lots of veggies? Watch your words too. I’ve noticed a big difference in our kids’ attitudes when I say out loud “I need to eat this salad” vs. “I can’t wait to eat this colorful plate of salad!”
- Let them help in the kitchen and give choices. Our five-year-old Ilana loves to help me in the kitchen, especially when I let her use a kid-safe knife and cut veggies or fruit. Gabby, our “selective” three-year-old seems to eat more when I let her choose the family’s dinner vegetable. Green beans or spinach? Carrots or green peppers? Preschoolers especially love either-or choices and their involvement in meal planning.
- Start a vegetable garden or visit local farms or farmers markets. Children of all ages love to get in the dirt and see where our food really comes from. I personally have not developed my green thumb (I’m not giving up yet!) so we do try to go to local farms or farmers markets monthly. There’s nothing more satisfying than growing/picking your own food! Our seven-year-old, Ariella, is very adventurous when it comes to food and she loves trying new ones she finds on our trips.
- Be sneaky! Sometimes a mama’s gotta do what a mama’s gotta do! Let’s be honest, there are just some vegetables my kids will not eat. Soups/sauces and baked goods are perfect ways to “hide” some veggies. I make a taco soup that my kids scarf down and they still have no idea that there is pureed cauliflower and okra in the broth. Zucchini and pumpkin are very easy to hide in muffins. Google is your friend for these creative recipes! There are so many we can add to our “veggie arsenal”.
- Make them taste good. This can be key, not just with kids, but husbands too! No one in my family will sit down and eat raw broccoli usually. However, steam that succulent veggie and add some grassfed butter or coconut oil and some seasonings or sprinkle some cheese and it becomes a treat. My husband and two of our daughters are obsessed with my kale chip recipe. Almost as soon as I pull them out of the oven, they are scarfed down by those three. Want to try it out with your family? Here’s my recipe. Let me know what your family thinks!
Jen's Kale Chips2017-05-02 02:40:37Serves 6A crispy, healthy alternative to regular chips!Write a reviewPrep Time5 minCook Time15 minTotal Time20 minPrep Time5 minCook Time15 minTotal Time20 min177 calories13 g0 g13 g6 g11 g99 g430 g1 g0 g2 gNutrition FactsServing Size99gServings6Amount Per ServingCalories 177Calories from Fat 114% Daily Value *Total Fat 13g20%Saturated Fat 11g53%Trans Fat 0gPolyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mg0%Sodium 430mg18%Total Carbohydrates 13g4%Dietary Fiber 4g16%Sugars 1gProtein 6gVitamin A236%Vitamin C151%Calcium11%Iron9%* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.Ingredients
- 1 16 oz bag kale
- 1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil (unrefined will give coconut flavor)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (not yeast for baking bread, this is a seasoning)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp mineral salt (I use pink Himalayan)
- 2 T Truvia OR Pyure no-sugar sweeteners (or sugar if you prefer)
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Mix all spices together in a bowl.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Put kale in a large mixing bowl and pour coconut oil on top. Mix with clean hands until all the leaves are coated. Dump out kale in a single layer on baking sheets (you may have to do a second batch). Then sprinkle seasoning mix on top of kale. Bake at 400 degrees until crispy, but not burnt. I check at 12 minutes but usually do them for 15 minutes.
betacalories177fat13gprotein6gcarbs13gmorePalm Beach Mom Collective https://palmbeach.momcollective.com/
- These kale chips taste best fresh out of the oven but can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.