Struggling to get your little ones to eat their greens? Former Olympic swimmer and Mum, Susie O'Neill, provides her top tips to help you on your quest!
Getting kids to eat their vegetables seems to be an age-old problem for parents. The old “you can’t have dessert until you have finished all your veggies” works from time to time, but believe it or not, convincing them to eat their greens doesn’t always have to be an uphill battle.
Here are some creative ways to help you ensure they are getting their essential nutrients from vegetables each day.
1. Try out some ninja vegetable placements, like sneaking in spinach or kale in smoothies, thickening gravies with pureed vegetables or including finely chopped broccoli in your pasta sauce.
2. Most kids can eat an entire bowl of dip using a single carrot stick, so try to get one step ahead of them and make a vegetable homemade dip using cooked mashed pumpkin, cauliflower or avocado and treat them to wholegrain crackers.
3. Include at least one nutritious vegetable in a lunchbox sandwich filling: grated raw carrot, a slice of beetroot, tomato or cucumber, and a lettuce leaf. When my kids were younger, I loved making “open face” salad sandwiches with carrots for hair, cherry tomatoes for eyes, cucumbers for noses and capsicums for smiles!
4. Make salads more appealing to kids by serving it with a low fat creamy dressing and cut things into very small pieces so that they are easy to get in their mouths and chew. ? Get the kids involved in your kitchen. Because they are part of the entire cooking process (including going to the supermarket to purchase the ingredients), they are much more willing to eat what they have been a part of making.
5. Kids can’t get enough of potato chips, so instead of serving them deep-fried, try oven-baking pumpkin or sweet potato and serving them as ‘French fries’. ? Remember that vegetables don't have to be just a savoury food. Carrot and ginger cake and sweet recipes that include zucchini and other vegetables in the ingredients list will work a treat!
6. Hide a variety of chopped or blended vegetables in fritters, savoury muffins, pizza toppings or in meatballs.
These are just a few creative ways to get your kids eating an assortment of vegetables, and hopefully over time, their young taste buds will evolve to love them!
Good luck! Susie
Together Counts is a new online resource to inspire Australian families to lead healthier, active lifestyles. Take a look at www.togethercounts.com.au