We are not a Pinterest-worthy house. I gave that up a long time ago. You will not find our meals elaborately and artistically presented in adorable dioramas or amazing characters. I also quickly realized that being an adventurous eater may not necessarily be a learned skill, but just a really good habit. Therefore, I try to make it a habit to offer my two toddlers unique foods that are not part of their usual repertoire. In the course of this, I have come up with a few ideas to get my miniature Giadas to eat more veggies.
We LOVE roasting our vegetables. I will turn on the oven in 90-degree heat to add roasted vegetables to our crockpot entree. I have found that any veggie is fair game if I chop it up; toss it with EVOO, salt, and pepper; and stick it in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or so. My girls’ favorite roasted veggies are shaved Brussels sprouts, zucchini/squash combo, and carrots/parsnips toss.
Every so often, I let my older daughter choose a color and we try to eat as many fruits and veggies of that color as we can for the day. It’s a fun way to get her involved and for the whole family to try new things!
The number 2
We have a two-bite rule in our house. In order to get a sweet treat after dinner (we’re also big dessert people), everyone has to have at least two bites of each thing on their plate. This is strong motivation for vegetable consumption.
Ranch dressing, melty cheese, Greek yogurt dip, ketchup, peanut butter, ranch. Did I mention ranch?
Think outside the box (or produce drawer)
To go with those dips, I like to make kale chips and sweet potato fries. I pull off all the leaves from the stem on the kale, toss with EVOO, salt, and garlic powder. Stick the pan in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees. To make sweet potato fries, cut them into strips and pat them dry on both sides. Lightly drizzle EVOO and sprinkle with salt. Again, 15-20 minutes at 375. Serve with ketchup and/or ranch. Yum!
No, I’m still not talking about impressive food art. For some reason, my girls LOVE frozen veggies, like frozen squash cubes, frozen peas, and frozen corn. It’s not how I personally like to eat them but if they’ll have a serving, power to ’em!
Grow your own
I’m not much of a farmer, but I have been able to produce a few green peppers and some patio tomatoes. Bring your Future Farmer of America to the garden center to choose a few easy-to-grow veggies. Routinely check on and sing to your growing goodness with your little ones. My girls are more likely to snack on tomatoes freshly plucked from their own plant!
Rest assured, we have many meals in which dipping our chips in salsa “counts” as a serving of vegetables. My kids are not always into their veggies, and we have plenty of “two more bites or no dessert,” but feel free to give these ideas a try and let me know how it goes! And please share your favorite tricks for getting your kids to eat some vegetables!