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Old 03-03-2010, 04:30 AM   #1
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How to Get Kids To Eat More Vegetable dishes?

I am actually seeing my kids are eating more meat than vegetables these days. They seems like prefer meat over vegetables. Even I try to mix the vegetables and meat together for some stir fry Chinese style dish, they kind of only eating the meat and left all the vegetable aside. I am more worried rather than annoying as in longer term it is not good for the health of my kids.
I give them some supplements that can cover the lack of vegetables intake, but this is not ultimate solution. I am looking for any good recommendation recommendation here? Perhaps you too have the same problems and you already got the solution that can share with me and the rest.
Thanks in advance.


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Old 03-03-2010, 08:26 AM   #2
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You could use my parents' method: No veggies? No TV later.
Course in this era you might have to use cell phone....

I ate my veggies, LOL!


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Old 03-03-2010, 08:36 AM   #3
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I was never given the option to not eat my veggies. I couldn't leave the table until I cleaned my plate.

My kids ate their veggies so it wasn't an issue we really had to deal with.
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:52 AM   #4
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WHat i try to do it make tacos..with a greater ratio of the veggies like tomatoes, cabbage than the meat..also grilling veggies can help like kebabing them..
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:52 AM   #5
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I will preface this by saying that I have a very adventurous eater and don't have this problem in my 8yo dd, but I have nieces and nephews that I have to fool.

I don't believe in coercion or manipulating at all... especially when it comes to food. There are so many issues surrounding food that I think the best thing you can do it to teach a healthy relationship with food.

Perhaps you can start by simply talking more about how vegetables fuel your body and how some have special "powers" (like carrots helping you see at night... this was one that was a favorite of dd's when she was younger). Lots of discussion about their importance in our diets can be a good persuader.

You can also get them involved in the cooking - when they have their hands in them, they are more likely to eat them because the know exactly where they are coming from.

Vegetable gardening - my dd has always loved helping me with the garden. She is actually now in charge of the herb garden and I let her do it all from planting to weeding to harvesting. She feels a real sense of ownership having a key role in the actual nourishment of her own body because she has learned what the whole cycle means.

Casseroles are a good way to have lots of veg that may get simply overlooked by the kids.

Hiding in sauces - another sneaky way using pureed vegetables.

Soups are also a good way to get vegetables in. Some "creamy" soups are actually just pureed vegetables that thicken the soup (such as butternut squash soup).

Finally... make eating healthy the only choice in the house. Get rid of the processed junk if you are buying it and they are used to it and buy lots of veg instead. We always have clean, trimmed, raw vegetables in the fridge. When dd wants a snack, she knows that her options are what is cleaned and ready in the fridge (this includes fruit as well as veg) or nothing. Vegetables don't necessarily have to be consumed at a meal... they can be eaten as snacks instead. If they become the norm, then healthy habits are formed. Sure we also eat treats, but I make them only rarely and once they're gone they're gone. (We rarely purchase treats except for chocolate.)

HTH in some way.
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:55 AM   #6
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I'd just make a couple of vegetarian meals a week and starve them into eating. If there's nothing else to eat, I'm confident they'll choose vegetables over being hungry. Probably why I'm not a parent!
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:02 AM   #7
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I usually have already cut up carrot and celery sticks on the counter when the kids come home from school. I dont say anything, but they seem to go throughout the afternoon. The unpeeled carrots could sit in the refrigerator forever, but once i peel them and have them ready to go, the kids just snack on them ( because they are too lazy to peel and cut them by themselves)
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:06 AM   #8
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Have them help with the preparation and cooking of the veggies. Kids love to help with that stuff and I have yet to see a kid not want to eat what he/she has spend time preparing.

Try buying dried veggies. We buy dried string beans from Trader Joes. They are crunchy with a little natural sweetness. We eat them like we would eat potato chips. The kids love them.

Try pureeing veggies and mixing them into sauces or make sauces from them. Serving spaghetti? Blend up some carrots or other veggies and mix the puree right into the sauce. They will be eating their veggies without even realizing it.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:33 AM   #9
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alton brown actually did at least one episode on this topic - disguising veggies in dishes that kids will like....ive attached the link below, which includes a transcript, the recipes and some other info....it uses alot of parsnips, and there may be other episodes where he focuses on other veggies.....fun reading, if nothing else

EA1305: Undercover Veggies
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:43 PM   #10
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Hi. How old are your kids? I have twin 3 year old girls. About a year ago, I got them to start eating raw vegetables by making kind of a game of it. I'd say, "Do you want to eat some crunchy red pepper?" Then I'd say, "Listen to how crunchy it is." I'd get close to their ears and crunch it and they'd giggle and want to try it. (How shocked was I that it worked?!) I later did that with celery, carrots, cucumbers, etc. Of course, if your kids are older, this won't work. For broccoli, I'd show them how the broccoli kind of looks like little trees. Then I'd joke and say, "Eat your trees!" They thought it was hilarious. Even now, a year later, when they don't seem to be eating their broccoli (some days they just aren't in the mood), I'll say, "Eat your trees" and they laugh and take a bite.

I was a terrible eater as a child. I wouldn't try anything and there were very few vegetables that I would eat. My parents always used to say I needed to eat the meat, the rest didn't matter. Now we know more about nutrition and we know the opposite is true.

I put a little bit of everything on the girls' plates and when they finish their favorite things and ask for more, I tell them that it is important to eat a well-balanced diet so they will be strong and healthy. I tell them they can have more pasta or meat, but they need to eat some vegetables, too. I never force them to eat food, but I do press the issue when I know it's not something they dislike. For instance, if we are having pasta, meatballs, broccoli and carrots, they might eat all of the pasta and ask for more. I'll tell them they need to eat some meat and some vegetables first, then they can have more pasta.

There are some things they just won't eat and I don't force the issue, mainly because they are pretty good when it comes to veggies. Believe it or not, on Christmas Eve when I was making a plate of snacks for Santa (cookies) and the reindeer (carrots and celery), the kids were grabbing the carrots and celery off the plate and eating it. I had to cut up more. Nobody reached for a cookie!! Lol - I have pictures to prove it!

I struggle to get my kids to eat meat. I think the main problem is that they didn't have any teeth until they were 12 months old, so they ate a lot of ground meat: turkey meatballs, beef meatballs, pork meatballs, meatloaf, etc. (They never liked the Gerber meats as babies. Yuck! I couldn't blame them! And I tried to make my own and they didn't like that either.) I still can't get them to eat steak. One of them will eat pork tenderloin and chicken...it's a battle with the other one. (But she'll eat asparagus, broccoli, peas, carrots, yellow squash, spinach, etc. And she won't eat cupcakes, cake, pie, ice cream....refuses to try them!)

It sounds like your kids don't necessarily dislike the vegetables, but just prefer the meat more. If that is the case, I'd recommend just stressing the importance of a well-balanced, healthy diet. I find that my kids need to be reminded to eat vegetables.

If I give them a plate of Wheat Thins, string cheese, strawberries and carrot sticks for lunch, they will usually eat the strawberries and crackers first, then ask for more. I tell them they can have more after they eat some carrots and some cheese. They will eat some and I will dole out another cracker or two. Then when they eat more, I give them some more strawberries. I just kind of force the balanced diet on them a bit. I know that if they won't eat the carrots to get a few more crackers, then they really aren't that hungry. (Again, I only do this with things I know they don't truly dislike.)

We just got back from vacation. When we ate at resturants, they both wanted chicken fingers and grilled cheese. Every time. (Lately they won't even eat hamburgers!) So I would order those items, but ask for broccoli (or another veg) and fruit as sides instead of fries. If my husband or I had fries, we'd give the kids a few and then when they asked for more, we'd tell them they have to eat some of the vegetables, too. Fruit is never and issue. Fruit is usually the first thing they eat. (And we'd only give them a portion of the chicken and grilled cheese to start, otherwise they'd fill up on those things and then say they are full.)

There are lots of ways to "hide" veggies in foods, but I didn't want to do that unless I absolutely had to. I didn't start "liking broccoli" until I was about 20 years old. It's better to work to find ways to convince them that it's not so bad, otherwise, they will grow up thinking they don't need to eat vegetables (because they don't even realize they are eating them if they are hidden). Plus, you want them to make healthy choices outside of the home, too. Take it from me, I had chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk for lunch every day throughout all 4 years of high school because I was so picky. In grammar school, I always threw my sandwich away and ate only the fruit and the dessert my mom packed for me. (A pack of Yodels and an apple were enough calories for me to survive.)

Good luck.

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