First: Let’s go ahead and add this to the list of “problems” I never thought I’d have.
A few months ago I read this book, and decided to really give vegetables the old college try. Now every morning I get a big cup full of celery sticks and baby carrots and carry it around while I do my morning routine stuff. I pop it in the cup holder in the car and finish it off on the drive to school drop-off. And my girls (7 and 2) are always begging for my celery sticks.
Let me tell you upfront that I am not a food sharer. And I don’t feel bad denying them when I’m eating junk food or even a sandwich, but veggies? Yeah, I usually end up (grudgingly) handing those over. Because, motherhood.
Anyway if you want to have this problem, too, here are 5 lazy ways to get your kids to eat more vegetables.
1. Eat more vegetables, mama.
Yeah–you eat more vegetables. Eat vegetables in front of your kids. Your kids want to be like you, and if they see you noshing on baby carrots and hummus or hoarding your own personal stash of sugar snap peas, eventually they’re going to want to know what all the fuss is about. They may not be in love right away, but they’ll probably want to try it.
Other people’s forbidden fruit vegetables are that much better, anyway, right?
2. Find vegetables you like.
Duh, right? (Do people still say “duh”?)
But seriously, if you don’t like kale, don’t eat kale. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EAT KALE TO BE HEALTHY.
If you hate celery–back up off that!
There’s a whole section at the grocery store full of vegetables, so branch out and discover new stuff. Don’t be scared! Let your kids help you choose. At our house we like sugar snap peas, baby carrots, celery, and mini-cucumbers (or big ones chopped into circles). We steer clear of bell peppers. Because we can. But you don’t have to!
Find what you like. Food is not supposed to be torture.
3. Serve meals in “courses”–starting with the vegetables.
Waaaaaaaaait a second. Didn’t I promise you lazy ways to get your kids to eat their veggies? And now I’m saying to serve in courses?
Well here’s how it goes down at our house. If you consistently refuse your veggies, you start getting just the veggies on your plate. Kind of like a first course. None of the good stuff your sibling is chowing down on appears on your plate until your veggies are gone.
This is totally lazy. I’m not being fancy. I’m avoiding any nagging, arguing, etc. altogether. You can eat your veggies and get the “good stuff,” or you can just sit and look at your vegetables until mealtime is over.
(And yes–we have a meal end-time–at least for breakfast and lunch. I’ve got one very slow eater, so I started setting a timer for 30 minutes. When it’s done, the meal is over. They’ve learned quickly to eat up or miss out!)
4. Keep your veggies prepped and accessible.
Mama, I get a good amount of sleep, but I’m parenting-willpower-tired a lot. Because of the resistance. You know what I’m talking about.
My ability to cope with mess, noise, and craziness steadily declines over the course of the day. So by the time afternoon snack time rolls around, all I want is to feed my kids things that:
- won’t make a mess,
- they like enough to eat with minimal whining, and
- require zero effort to prepare.
If I’m not prepped in advance, I’m doling out cupfuls of cheese crackers and scooping myself a brownie right from the pan. If I’ve got my ducks in a row, its just as easy to grab something healthy. (We usually do a 50/50 split: some fruits/veggies and some crackers/granola/etc.)
So either chop and wash those veggies yourself, or if you feel like ain’t nobody got time for that, just buy them pre-chopped and washed. It is THE. BEST. I started buying pre-cut celery sticks from Walmart and pre-washed cut lettuce from Costco and now we are eating a LOT more of both of those. Because I don’t have to wash them! Glory!
5. Think outside the raw-vegetables box.
Raw veggies are great, but they’re not the only way to get greens (and yellows, oranges, etc.) into your kids’ faces.
We love salads, or steamed veggies with butter and salt at dinnertime.
Green smoothies have been all the rage for, like, ever. 😉
Breakfast? What about omelettes with veggies & cheese! Savory crepes!
Soups! Frittatas! Galettes!
I’m very hungry now. 🙂 But I hope you see now that you’ve got options if your family just isn’t a celery & ranch dip bunch.
Best of luck feeding those people their vegetables. If all else fails, just do what I do: burst into defeated tears and tell them all through your sobs that they can eat their dinners or go to bed. 😉