Just make a new plan Stan
Step out the back Jack
You don’t have to be coy Roy
This post started out as a guest post for Creative 2X Mom on how to inspire children to eat more veggies but I couldn’t get the tune “50 ways to leave your lover” out of my head while numbering them. And it has been noodling around in there for a while.
Eat some more greens Gene
How about a zuke Duke?
Try a roasted beet Pete!
I decided to expand my list and share it with my 8 million daily readers(HA!). If you feel like sharing a favorite tip or idea that I don’t hit please feel free to leave me a comment, I’m always up for more veggie loving secrets.
The number one question I get asked in person and on my blog is “how do you get your kids to eat vegetables?” My short answer is easy “I expect them too” but the long answer is, well, long. Here we go:
1-eat raw vegetables with them on a daily basis
2-let them see you eat them, share in the goodness with them
3-let them help you prepare the vegetables, we have a serrated butter knife and one or both of my little boys make crudites at least once a day, this is simply chopped fresh vegetables they clean and ‘cut’, have them work close to you so you can keep an eye on them, their joy in working with you and preparing part of a meal will have a profound impact on their relationship with vegetables
4-let their crudites be available before the rest of the meal like an appetizer
5-join a CSA, farm fresh vegetables really do taste best
6-take them to pick up the vegetables at the CSA, let them help pack or un-pack the box up-be excited!
7-provide 2 vegetables with each meal, then they have a choice, mine usually choose both but having a choice is important
8-sometimes those choices will be the lesser of two evils and so be it, you don’t need to pussy foot around likes and dislike, this is what we have pick one and eat it
9-we require each person has to have 3 bites of each dish from dinner, they can have seconds of their favorite ones, they can not eat 3 bites of everything and then only more of bread or steak, moderation, perhaps more steak and a slice of bread then more vegetables are required
10-regarding the 3 bite rule, usually by the time they eat 3 bites they have forgotten they “don’t like it”
11-we remind them that they should take those bites because you NEVER know when your taste buds will change and you might be missing out on something you like!
12-if other adults HATE VEGETABLES speak with them in private and remind them that their choices will influence small children and to please refrain from making snide rude remarks about certain things-in other words grow up! if mommy or daddy say “ew _______ !!” chances are one of the small souls at your table will repeat it
13-avoid carrots who have spent time on a lathe these ‘baby’ carrots are usually old and tasteless, try real fresh baby carrots for the ultimate treat!
14-fresh, local, organic is best
15-frozen comes second
16-canned is a distant third
17-highly processed last
18-grow a small box garden-like Square Foot Gardening
19-let them grow one too, each of my little boys has their own 4×4 garden bed, their vegetables are the best!
20-try growing a straw bale garden, they require minimal work, seem to produce a great crop and make their own compost at the end of the season
21-go vertical with peas, mammoth dill, cucumbers and pumpkins in a planter with a trellis, dill does NOT vine but it grows up nice and tall and tastes great fresh
22-try a topsy turvy tomato planter, they even produce in Alaska, the ultimate endorsement
23-get seed catalogs in the dead of winter and browse them with your children, the garden dreams shared in January make the anticipation of a garden pot, barrel, planter or bale a pleasant pastime
24-sprout seeds for eating, alfalfa, carrot and mung bean grow well, taste great and pack a WALLOP of nutrition, the ultimate micro farm in a jar!
25-learn to roast vegetables, kids can help clean and cut, stir in a bit of oil, sprinkle with salt and roast until slightly browned and tender, roasting brings out a sweetness and flavor that surprises even vegetable connoisseurs
26-put up some of your garden harvest, even a small garden could produce a pint or two of piccalilli or green tomato relish
27-again let kids help, putting up the harvest is a great way to spend the day together, even the littlest of kids can wash, scrub or cut (with a kid safe knife!) vegetables, they can measure too! pride in ownership goes a long way in encouraging them to try new things
28-if you really don’t have any space look for a local community garden area where you can have a small garden bed
29-ask someone with a garden or room for one, if they would consider sharing their space with you
30-spend time on a farm
31-go to a u-pick farm, we grow lots of veggies but still visit in the fall to stock up on anything we were not successful in growing (zucchinis anyone?)
32-put vegetables in front of them everyday
33-constant exposure ensures they will have had plenty of chances to become familiar with all kinds of vegetables
34-attend a farmers market with kids and let them shop, making choices for the family between this zucchini and that yellow one means they are already invested in it before they are asked to eat it
35-let them visit with the grower, my experience has shown me that most growers at a farmers market are more than willing to talk to kids about being a farmer
36-be willing to try new things yourself, is kale new to you? well guess what you need to eat 3 bites
37-try new recipes! you might just surprise yourself with a new take on an old favorite
38-even those veggies you hated once can be enjoyed if you are as open to them as you are asking your kids to be
39-learn to grill veggies so summer dinners can be easy, grill baskets are great
40-put them on sticks, raw or cooked veggies on skewers are a hit
41-avoid ranch dressing, it’s just really not good for you, it’s full of MSG and lots of fat that kind of cancel out the goodness of veggies
42-if you use ranch now slowly wean your family off of it and then ‘accidentally’ run out, oops did I just say that?
43-salads with salsa rock, just sayin’
44-Taco Salads make a perfect vegetable filled dinner, amazing what a handful of cheese and stale tortilla chips can do for a salad
45-don’t sneak them, in what good does that do? they don’t get the full benefit of the food and they don’t learn to love them
46-don’t be afraid to add them in odd places, I do use pureed carrots in bean soup, it makes a nice base! try it with other vegetables and leave out the salty chemically enhanced broth for superior flavor and health benefits
47-avoid the temptation to label vegetables as good or bad food, they are simply food to be eaten
48-rewards for eating them are never a good idea
49-Relax! Don’t make forcing vegetables down their throat the ultimate goal!
50-The ultimate goal is to have fun and enjoy your kids while bringing them up to enjoy a healthy lifestyle
So, yes indeed, there are 50 ways to eat your veggies.
Peace and Love-