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.
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.
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.