LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Let’s talk about a parent’s pain point, trying to get kids to eat vegetables.
The dinner-time dilemma might be demoralizing but this new research shows the fight is worth it.
A recent CDC report shows nearly half of kids ages one to five don’t eat a daily vegetable and almost a third don’t eat a daily fruit.
It’s recommended kids get two to three cups of fruits and vegetables a day, but how can you reach that goal if your kid doesn’t want to try these foods?
Registered Dietitian Emily Tills tells me you can’t force your kids to eat. Instead, offer them fruits and vegetables at every meal.
The more kids experience these foods, the more likely they’ll be to start eating them.
If you have a very picky eater, Till says the best hack may simply be to hide these foods:
“If they like macaroni and cheese, try to cook up a little bit of butternut squash and fold it into the sauce. Maybe shredding up some zucchini or mushrooms and adding it to a hamburger or meatloaf or meatballs. I even had a family say they put peas inside raspberries for their toddler to eat because the toddler doesn’t taste them at that point.”
Tills also suggests blending veggies into pasta sauce, making smoothies, or cooking vegetables in different ways.
This last hack may have you celebrating.
“Kids tend to like crunchier things more than soft cooked things. So, it’s ok to offer vegetables with a little bit of ranch or blue cheese or another dipping sauce,” said Tills. “If it’s going to get your kid to eat the vegetables, go right ahead, that’s all that matters is that they’re trying it and they’re expanding their pallet.”
If your kids are between five and eight, Tills suggests starting a food challenge.
You can go through the alphabet and let them pick a new vegetable or fruit to try every week.