How I Got My Kids To Eat Vegetables

Not only did I want my kids to eat vegetables, I also wanted them to actually like eating them! So this is how I got my kids to eat vegetables.

My solution is pretty simple.

How I Got My Kids To Eat Vegetables {Time With Thea}

I prepared and set out a ‘Veggie Platter’ everyday before dinner and encouraged and allowed my kids to eat as many vegetables as they wanted before the main meal was served. Let me explain the specifics.

As a full time working Mom, things were pretty hectic between the time of everyone coming home from work and school and trying to get dinner on the table. Even before I started on dinner I set out a ‘Veggie Platter’ with the rule that you could eat as many vegetables as you wanted before dinner was served.

My thinking was my kids were getting their vegetable quota in even before dinner was served. Any other vegetables they ate at dinnertime were a bonus.

I remember my mother saying to me not to snack before dinner because it would spoil my appetite. I guess this statement is true but it depends on what’s being eaten. It is my experience that kids tend to graze throughout the day. In other words they tend to eat more smaller meals and snacks more often. Their smaller stomachs can’t handle large amounts of food and they are burning lots of energy by being active and growing. This veggie eating time was just part of the dinner meal.

The ‘Veggie Platter’ was always served with their favourite dips. This was very important.

I only added 3 or 4 vegetables to the platter to keep things simple but added different vegetables throughout the week for variety.

I always tried to include a favourite per child and once in awhile added a new one just to expose them to different vegetables. Unfortunately, they still don’t care for jicama.

Sometimes the ‘Veggie Platter’ only included pickled vegetables like pickled beets, asparagus or beans.

Some canned vegetables also work on a ‘Veggie Platter’ too! My kids loved the little baby corn and my husband loves the little canned baby beets.

Just to change things up sometimes the vegetables were presented on a:

  • Rectangular platter
  • A circular platter
  • A square platter
  • A bowl

But always with dip!

I usually cut up a couple of days worth ahead of time. I tried cutting up a big batch for the week but they lose their freshness and start to spoil which is a really great way to turn the kids off of eating them.

I also usually had my kids pick out their vegetables and spoon their dip onto little plates. This avoided the double dipping factor and I could kind of see what and how much they were eating.

Another rule was that you had to eat what you put on your plate and you had to eat the whole veggie. For example, you couldn’t just nibble off the flower part and leave the stem of the piece of broccoli. Yup… that really happened in my family.

The ‘Veggie Platter’ was left on the kitchen counter and later put on the dinner table as part of the meal for anyone who wanted more fresh vegetables.

Any leftover vegetables were added to school lunches for the next day or stored in separate bags or reusable containers in the fridge to be added to the next day’s ‘Veggie Platter’. The reason for separate bags is that I found different vegetables spoiled at different rates if left in the fridge too long.

It was quite amazing to see the hungry family members gravitate to the kitchen to get their vegetables while I cooked dinner.

How I Got My Kids To Eat Vegetables {Time With Thea}

So that’s it! That’s how I got my kids to eat vegetables! My kids are grown now but I still prepare the daily ‘Veggie Platter’ so my husband and I get our veggies in our daily diet too!

Here’s another article that I wrote that really worked with my kids that you might want to check out too. This is how I made the mornings run a lot smoother as a full time working mother with two busy kids: How To Teach Your Children To Be Organized In The Morning.

Happy veggie eating!

I’d love to hear your strategies and tips for getting your kids to eat their vegetables.

Thea Signature

Comments

  1. says

    Presentation is so important in serving food, even for kids. I used to add carrots and spinach to my pasta sauces to get in some extra veggies for my boys when they were younger. I can also relate to eating the tops off of brocolli and leaving the ‘trunk’ on the plate! Enjoying your posts…..have a wonderful week! — Vickie

    • says

      Thanks Vickie! The broccoli issue just be be a common one with kids. I used to ‘sneak’ vegetables into different dishes but after awhile my girls started to complain once they got older. I see nothing wrong with adding canned tomatoes to mac and cheese but apparently they didn’t like the idea at all. Oh well, one can only try. ~Thea

  2. says

    If I could get my kids to eat one “leaf” on the broccoli “tree,” I would be ecstatic! Great post, Thea, I am going to have to try this one!

    I have no idea if this kind of thing can work off WordPress, but I nominated your blog for the Sunshine Award. I am supposed to let each nominee know, and I’m thinking I’m supposed to include a link of some sort, but this is the best I can come up with…

    http://themiracleisaroundthecorner.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/sunshine-lollipops-and-rainbows/

    I just want you to know that you “positively and creatively inspire me!”

    • says

      Ha-Ha! That is pretty funny about the broccoli tree. It is interesting how every family has such different little issues! Thank you for the nomination and your kind words. I totally enjoy reading your blog as you so inspire me with your courage and all the growth and changes you have made in your journey. ~Thea

  3. says

    I LOVE this idea! We always have cut up veggies in the fridge to make it easier, but I really love the idea of making them the appetizer before dinner. I will be trying this right away. Thank you!
    ~Erin

    • says

      Thanks Erin! It really does work by just putting out the veggies pre-dinner every day. Whatever gets eaten is the bonus! Let me know how it works if you get a chance! ~Thea

    • says

      I am glad it helped. I just found if I kept putting them out as an ‘appetizer’ and treating like these veggies and dip were something ‘special’ it worked over time. Even just eating cucumber is better than nothing. Hopefully, she will start to try other veggies with a similar texture or colour if it is presented to her. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. says

    Great idea! I have a ‘grazer’ here too – I think I’ll give this a try while I’m making dinner. I usually keep a container full of cut-up veggies for my husband’s lunch bag so it’ll be easy to grab some before dinner.

    • says

      You are so smart to pre-cut the veggies. It just saves a lot of time. It is quite interesting living with ‘grazers’. I find it challenging sometimes because I don’t eat that way so I just have to accommodate the different ways of eating. Thanks for stopping by! ~Thea

    • says

      Nice to meet you! My daughters are in their twenties now but they have been ‘trained’ since they were toddlers so it’s such a routine in our household. Good luck with your teenagers! Take Care, Thea

  5. says

    I am very fortunate that my kids love fresh fruits & veggies. But I love the idea of setting them out before dinner to keep them from eating snacks. I will have to try this idea. I also noticed that you are from Canada, a place that I have always wanted to visit. Maybe some day!
    Stopping by from The SITS Girls

    • says

      Yes, I am from Canada! Where are you from? A lot of my blog visitors are from the US. You are very fortunate to have kids who eat veggies and fruit. You could actually set out both as the daily pre-dinner appetizer for the kids. It is such a great habit to have. Take Care, Thea

  6. says

    Hi Thea – this is a great suggestion and one I can easily incorporate into my evening routine. My kids have their favorite veggies but others are hard for them to try. They are also picky with dips but hummus and guac seem to work. Stopping by from SITS.

    • says

      Hi Tara! Thanks for stopping by! It sounds like our kids have a lot in common! I just find if you set out the veggies and dip every evening and make it a routine, it really works.

  7. says

    This is such a fantastic idea!! I love this!! My girls do like veggies but they don’t really ask for them. I’m totally going to try this.
    Found you through SITS! :)

  8. comfortcoutureblog says

    I love this idea! My son will eat vegetables, but this is a great way to encourage him to eat more. Thank you for sharing.

  9. says

    I love this idea. I think for my kids, the dip is key to getting them to eat raw veggies. I am recently a SAHM, but still they come home from school “starving” like they can’t possibly wait. I am thinking a fruit platter would work well too with some yogurt for dip. They love yogurt. :) Stopping by from #SITSBlogging and going to follow you on social media too. I look forward to your inspiring posts!

    • says

      Thanks Tanya! I’ll stop by your blog so I can follow you on social media too! Fruit platters work really well too! It is quite amazing how it all disappears when I set out a bowl of grapes, strawberries or apple slices!

  10. says

    Hi Thea (again lol)…I absolutely love this idea. I have a really picky 19 month old and I have been so worried that he will refuse to eat vegetables. This might do the trick. And as long I eat out of the platter too, he will definitely follow suit (he is pretty good at copying lol). Pinning this. Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Hi Tosin (again) Tee-Hee! I’m glad you like the strategy for making sure the veggies were eaten. I find little ones are such grazers, he may enjoy his nightly veggie appetizer before dinner… with his favourite dip! Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Thank you and nice to meet you Tonia! We just made raw veggies and fruit a daily routine in our home and it seemed to work. It sounds like it is a priority with your family too!

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