How to Get Children to Eat Greens: 5 Easy Ways
What comes to mind when you think of ingredients children typically refuse to eat? Often, it is green things like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and more. Some claim that it is because of their bitter taste, which humans instinctively associate with poisonous food.
Others say it’s because children’s taste buds are not ready to appreciate certain flavors. Whatever the reason, greens are a nutritious food that kids are encouraged to eat worldwide. The following 5 tips will show you how to get children to eat greens without power struggles.
How to Get Children to Eat Greens: Green Smoothies
Green smoothies are one of the easiest ways to get spinach. If your kids like smoothies at restaurants and juice bars, you need to re-create the fruity version at home and then add spinach. They might refuse to drink it if they see the green color, but the fruit will give it a beautiful purple hue instead.
This Vitamin C Rich Green Smoothie is often a big hit with kids!
How to Get Children to Eat Greens: Creamy Dips
Spinach and artichoke dip, anyone? While this one is more geared toward teenagers than toddlers, it is often a big winner at the dinner table. And you don’t even need to have greens in the dip; you can have them on the side.
A plain, steamed broccoli floret might not be what your kids want, but they might change their minds if it is part of a colorful plate alongside carrot sticks, snap peas, and celery to use as dippers. When it comes to creamy dips, mild hummus is often a good choice for kids.
How to Get Children to Eat Greens: Make Greens that YOU Love
We often focus so much on making our children eat greens that we don’t take the time to enjoy them ourselves. Sometimes, if children are reluctant to try foods of any color, the best thing to do is to step back and give them a break. Instead, make greens you love and enjoy eating in front of them. More than anything, children learn by example.
Some popular dishes grown-ups like include Caesar Salad, Mediterranean salads with feta and olives, garlicky braising greens, broccoli in bechamel sauce, and more. You can also get a few cookbooks from the library and browse through the recipe with your kids to see what they might be interested in trying!
How to Get Children to Eat Greens: Grow Them in a Small Pot
Life is like a giant science experiment for kids. From dropping items repeatedly from their high chair as babies to chemistry and physics classes, later on, kids are constantly exploring their environment. Please take advantage of their curious nature by growing greens in your kitchen or living room.
You do not need special equipment or a lot of space. A small clay pot is enough to grow a fragrant basil plant, whose leaves can be scattered on tomato salad or pizza by little hands. Or, try pea shoots, baby kale, or mild peppers.
You never know what children will end up loving; all you can do is provide them with various options and see what gets their attention.
How to Get Children to Eat Greens: Mix Them with Favorite Ingredients
Are your children fans of mac and cheese? Add peas to the mix or the side in a little bowl. If they enjoy tortilla soup, why not add a little cilantro on top? While not technically a leafy green, avocado in guacamole can be a creamy introduction to green-colored foods.
Or for chicken nugget lovers, setting them on a mild and crunchy butter lettuce leaf can be intriguing enough for them to nibble on it.
Failing that, you can always try the time-tested game where you all pretend to be rabbits or other veggie-loving animals and gobble up leafy greens together! Getting children to eat various foods can be infuriating or fun, depending on how you look at it.
As with many aspects of child-rearing, power struggles and bribes can backfire and make everything more complicated than it should be.
Take a deep breath, relax, and try one or more strategies above. But above all, don’t set high expectations. Remember that today’s insurmountable problem, like how to get children to eat greens, might not even be an issue a year from now.