Monday, February 9, 2015

How to Get Your Toddlers (or Any Age Children) to Eat Their Vegetables; Yes, Even Twins

When my first set of twins were babies they would eat anything, and I mean anything. The only food I introduced that they didn’t like was cucumbers…go figure. But, alas, as they got older and their taste buds developed further, they began to reject more and more foods.

Eventually, it got to a point where they began to have issues with the texture of foods. I can’t even pinpoint how many textures they dislike. But I know they don’t like “stringy” foods such as string beans, turkey, chicken, noodles, etc. However, they also dislike all the other veggies I have provided in the last 6 months.

So this meant that I had to become very creative in how I presented these vegetables to them. For their nutrition yes, but also to save me from a personal breakdown at mealtime!! So below you will find some of my tried and true methods:

  • Egg Scrambles. These always work for us! All you do is crack a few eggs into a bowl, add some milk or water, and scramble them in the bowl. Then pour the mixture into the pan and continue to scramble them with a spatula. When the eggs begin to cook and slightly puff up, you add your cooked vegetable and cheese (the cheese is optional but really helps). If you don’t want to cook your veggies, just make sure you dice them up into very small pieces (but if they are not cooked at all, they may be too hard, and your little one may pick them out). *A side note here, eventually my kids began to catch on to me and pick out as much veggies as they could. But never fear! I was prepared. To fix this, I would puree a batch of mixed veggies and use that instead of whole veggies. They no longer had anything to pick out.
  • Bread, muffins, or cookies: grate up almost any vegetables, like carrots, zucchini, cucumber, squash, etc. Or puree them. Then, insert these veggies into any bread, muffin, or cookie recipe and cook as usual. You can make a huge batch and then freeze some. These are fantastic for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Don’t think that you have to put this into a sugary sweet recipe! You can use applesauce instead of sugar to sweeten, but also, you can use savory items like cornbread as well!
  • Sugar or honey. Yes, I just wrote that, and even I cringed inside just a little. I am that mom who doesn’t allow my kids to have excess sugar, corn syrup, food coloring, icing, etc. However, I want my kiddos to eat their vegetables. So sometimes I will put a small amount of brown sugar, raw sugar, or honey on things like carrots, sweet potatoes, or corn.
  • Cheese! Yes, cheese is the answer to most of life’s problems and then chocolate fixes the rest haha! But let’s stay on track here. Vegetables. If I melt cheese on any vegetable they love it. But who doesn’t? If they have a dairy allergy, try the cheese substitutes.
  • Smoothies. Recently smoothies have been a life saver for me. You really can throw anything you want into a blender, along with some juice and the kids will drink it up. Especially my kids. I only give them milk and water to drink, so when I offer them the exotic flavor of a smoothie they are so excited! I also let them drink it out of an adult cup with a straw (that I hold of course). My most recent smoothie accomplishment? I made a smoothie that consisted of frozen fruit, 2 bananas, 1 pear, frozen broccoli, fresh kale, and orange juice!! They loved it! Go figure, even frozen veggies work. Score!

  • Pouches. For some reason, my kids still love those pouch to go fruit and veggie pouches. My husband just told me that he read that those pouches often contain mold (like Capri Sun pouches can) so in order to avoid this I bought some reusable, refillable, BPA free plastic pouches. I make up my own vegetable and fruit purees. Sometimes I make a coconut oatmeal pouch for breakfast. You can slip any veggie or fruit into these!

  • Ketchup. Yes, it really is that simple. Allowing my kids to dip their foods into ketchup or BBQ sauce, or even MSG-free ranch, will liven up any vegetables. Or meat for that matter!

If you can think of any other ideas I, and our fellow readers, would love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments below! 

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