This post was most recently updated on May 3rd, 2019
There’s nothing worse than slaving over dinner, serving your kids, and they push the plate away. Yes, it will happen, but since we lived by Baby-Led Weaning and the Division of Responsibility, most meals are gobbled up.
How do you do it? I’ll tell you the rotation of meals that are sure to please your picky eaters, and make them ask for seconds on salad!
First, I’d also like to share It’s Not About Nutrition‘s mantra – just that – it’s not about explaining to your 3 year old that broccoli is good for them. They don’t care! The key is to create the habit that this is what we eat every meal. Sweets we eat occasionally. Avoid playing the two-bites game, then allowing dessert. It teaches them that you have to get through the bad food to get to the good stuff.
I’ve been impressed with these techniques, as my kids will of course refuse broccoli one night, then inhale it the next week. The secret is to just keep serving it up, they will get used to seeing it, and if they are hungry they will try it.
That’s my other pro tip – if my kid gives me the side-eye when I serve salmon, I say, “You have to try it, but you don’t have to eat it.” That takes the pressure off, and most times they like it. But if they don’t, I don’t care. And that must be your attitude. Non-chalant. Try again next week.
Some of us never liked peas, and you have to give them the chance to decide what they like and just don’t. And they must be able to detect when they’re hungry or full. Not by some dictate of 2 bites or clean your plate.
Remember – we moms are teachers here and our kiddos do not miss a trick! They will pick up on your every secret stare or approval. Keep the goal in mind at all times – will they only eat veggies when I force it, then abandon them when I’m not around? The lesson is to instill a lifetime love of great varieties of delicious foods.
So often, I make myself a heaping veggie packed salad, and my 2 year old wants to steal half of the bites. And I let him. With a sigh. Because mom is lucky to have a chance to sit and eat.
And my kids like sweets just as much as the next, but they only get one treat a day. And it doesn’t matter when. But when they choose to have it, that’s it. Moderation. Not off limits, because you don’t want to create the frenzy of candy.
Related: 6 Easy Veggie Preps for Your Littles
8 Meals to Make Your Kids Love Veggies
Pro Tip: The Veggies are not hiding here – they are in play and meant to create familiarity and eventually love
1. Chicken Salad Lettuce Boats
My kids love the fun of boats – I love the utility of bib lettuce or romaine leaves, just tear and done
Sub tuna to mix it up
2. Penne Primavera
Make a simple sauce with a pat of butter, splash of milk, and Parmesan or any cheese you have in the fridge, then add in steamed broccoli, zucchini, peas, mushrooms, red peppers, carrots or what you like with pasta and chicken.
Cheese sauce = yum
My two year old steals all the broccoli out of my dish!
3. Ham and Cheese Roll Ups
Roll it up with deli meat and shredded cheese, mixed greens, and dressing of choice
4. Risotto with Peas
It is NOT hard to stir up risotto, just takes a few cups of chicken stock time to simmer down. It feels special when it’s just rice. Add in your desired veggie and shave in parmesan cheese.
5. Sausage and Peppers
They won’t likely pass up anything that resembles a hot dog, and cook in some sliced bell peppers.
Combine with pasta and/or make a bell pepper cream sauce with half and half and blended roasted peppers.
This one might take a few visits to fall in love, but again the point is to introduce and repeat.
6. Stir Fry
A super simple throw together of shrimp and szechuan style green beans with lo mein can’t be resisted
7. Hearty Soup
Every fall I really get into soup batching from scratch. My faves are red chili, white chicken chili, loaded potato, wonton with bok choi, and
Broccoli and Cheddar – always sketch-free
8. Appetizers for Dinner
Want your kids to really be interested in new foods? And you can be lazy?!
Baby pickles, fresh guacamole, black or green olives, cucumbers sticks, cheese stuffed celery, hummus on pita, pickled beets, radishes with fresh ranch dip
Be sure to let them try everything you’re eating, despite you not thinking it’s kid-friendly. Use a muffin tin or divided plate with little cups to sample everything.
There, now go out and make it an easy week of new and exciting ways to get your garden on! What are your favorite veggie-adored meals?