80+ Recipes to Encourage Kids to Enjoy Their Veggies

By : | 2 Comments | On : May 24, 2015 | Category : Blog, Fussy Eaters, Nutrition

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80+ Recipes to Encourage Kids to Enjoy Their Veggies

The Healthy Eating Pyramid by Nutrition Australia has had a refresh and it’s looking good. Vegetables are the highlight and with only 7% of us enjoying enough veggies every day we’re on a mission to encourage kids to boost their intake one recipe at at time.

Veggies are packed full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and many other antioxidants and natural plant chemicals that promote optimal growth and good health as well as helping to prevent sickness and disease. If you’re not sure how many vegetables your kids should be eating The Australian Dietary Guidelines have recommendations on the number of serves* of vegetables our little kids should enjoy:

(*1 serve =A standard serve of vegetables is about 75g (100-350kJ) or: ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin) ½ cup cooked, dried or canned beans, peas or lentils* 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables ½ cup sweet corn ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava) 1 medium tomato)

2-3 4-8 9-11 12-13 14-18
Boys 5
Girls 5 5 5

BUT, it’s not just the number of serves our kids should eat or the recipes we serve them. Teaching them how to eat and enjoy their vegetables as well as talking to them about why they are so good for us is essential. It makes it a whole lot easier for them to eat the recommended amount if they enjoy them.

5 top tips to encourage kids to enjoy their veggies:

  • introduce all varieties of vegetables in a variety of ways right from the start
  • make veggies visible on your child’s plate and serve them in a variety of ways e.g. roasted, steamed and raw; crunchy or soft; pureed, mashed or as finger food
  • continue to offer again and again as it may take up to 10-20 exposures of a new food before a child becomes familiar with it and begins to accepts it
  • always offer new vegetables or previously refused vegetables alongside foods you know your child loves to help reduce any anxiety of being presented/fear of trying new foods
  • demonstrate positive eating behaviours to your children and eat and enjoy a wide variety of veggies with them.

NOTE: We never recommend bribing or forcing your child to eat their veggies (or any food) as it may result in a negative association with eating, decrease enjoyment of the food and increase anxiety and stress at mealtimes.

Instead create positive associations with eating, make meal times relaxed, demonstrate how to eat the vegetable, show enjoyment and let them explore the new vegetable make a mess. Let them poke it, squish it, smell it, lick it and even spit it out as each step is one moment closer to them taking a bite and even enjoying it. As mentioned above it can take time with repeated offerings but from personal experience, hearing the wonderful words, “broccoli is my favourite”, is very possible.

If you are finding veggies a struggle then there are many meals that can contain ‘hidden’ goodness but still keep trying to regain acceptance by presenting veggies to your kids in a variety of ways by using tasting plates, growing vegetables, experiencing fresh markets and cooking with your kids.

Happy cooking and happy eating – OHCs x

80+ Recipes

Finger foods

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Family Meals

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Dips

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Soups

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