Do you have a picky eater at home? I do. Actually I have three of them, but my four year old son is by far the worst. He has existed for months at a time on pasta and peanut butter. He’s a boy with a mind of his own- a mind that won’t be talked or bribed into trying that bite. I can count on one hand the number of foods he likes and I can assure you there aren’t any veggies on the list.
Nutritionists agree that it’s important for parents to provide healthy options. They encourage intuitive eating where the child decides what and how much to eat from the healthy options provided. They recommend parents keep putting out new foods because it often takes 7 exposures to a new food for a child to decide if he likes it.
But what do you do when you’ve put the veggies out well over 7 times and they still go untouched?
You get creative.
Here are my top 10 ways to get more veggies and nutrition into my picky eater’s diet!
1. Blend it in a Smoothie
Whip out the blender and sneak in some greens. Be sure to use fruit to sweeten your smoothie. Add yogurt or milk of your choice for extra protein.
2. Bake it in a Muffin
Mini muffins changed my life. My kids love them and they stopped wasting half their muffins or only eating the muffin tops. I love to use Kodiak cake mix in my muffins because it packs them with protein as well as fruits or veggies (we do zucchini, apple, or pumpkin).
3. Cut it in a Fun Shape
This applies to fruits and veggies as well as cheese! My boys love cheese slices that are cut out like trucks.
4. Swap it for Fries
Instead of buying traditional fries try sweet potato fries.
5. Freeze it in a Popsicle
Another great way to sneak in veggies is by making green smoothies and freezing them in Popsicle molds. Spinach is a great add in but I avoid kale because of its overpowering taste. You can also add blueberries to hide the green!
6. Dip It
Dip a veggie in something yummy, like carrots in ranch, or dip something yummy in a veggie, like chips in hummus!
7. Substitute it in a Nugget
Instead of chicken nuggets or tater tots try a veggie version like cauliflower nuggets or zucchini patties.
8. Let Your Child Help Cook it
Being involved in cooking something new will encourage your child to try it. You can let your child pick out new veggies at the grocery store.
9. Buy Veggie Noodles
Instead of regular pasta buy a healthier option like veggie noodles or a whole wheat pasta.
10. Eat it Together
Modeling healthy eating is actually the biggest factor in getting your child to eat healthy!
I hope some of those options work for your picky eater! Leave a comment and let us know if you try some of these ideas or have another idea to share!