The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports 9 out of 10 children are not eating enough vegetables. Yikes. It’s apparent that veggies have many benefits for kids—from contributing to their overall nutrition and preventing obesity, to even boosting school performance. That’s why it’s so important we help our kids eat right. Here are 15 tips that may convince your child veggies are cooler (and tastier) than they think.
1. Carve faces into bell peppers and stuff them with spaghetti or zucchini noodles.
Any face and any food will work, but spaghetti mixed with zucchini noodles is fun because it looks like guts, and what kid doesn’t like the idea of eating guts? Here’s a recipe for a 5-minute simple raw red sauce to go with your noodles.
2. Serve chocolate covered vegetables.
It might sound unconventional, but it works. For the chocolate, we’d recommend using pure cocoa butter and adding it to good-quality, regular, dark chocolate. The cocoa butter makes it easier for chocolate to stick.
3. Make these four-ingredient vegetable popsicles.
Blend together spinach, banana, frozen mango, and coconut water, then pour into molds. The result is a sweet, nutrient-packed, bright-green popsicle. Your kids will love this recipe.
4. Have kids pick their favorite “flowers” from a colorful vegetable bouquet.
Watermelon radishes, golden beets, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus make a beautiful bouquet (firm vegetables work best). Cookie cutters help achieve the perfect look. These directions offer even more options.
5. Bake vegetables tossed with seasoned breadcrumbs.
This healthy option offers a satisfying and flavorful crunch. Try this recipe and see how easy it is to make this dish using any vegetables you have on hand.
6. Turn chopped cauliflower into tots.
Along with cauliflower you’ll need some eggs, onion, parsley, cheddar cheese, and bread crumbs. This recipe is so good your kids won’t even realize they’re eating cauliflower.
7. Or, make cauliflower sheep.
All you need is black-eyed peas, olives, raisins, toothpicks, and, of course, cauliflower florets. Follow this tutorial to make this a favorite with the kids.
8. Add cauliflower to mashed potatoes.
First mix the cauliflower florets with a small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then roast them for a bit in the oven. This gives this mashed potato recipe an overall tasty roasted cauliflower flavor–and the extra fiber.
9. Create an Angry Bird after-school vegetable platter.
Using a red and yellow bell pepper, baby carrots, and blueberries or olives, make his face in the dip.
10. Build vegetable sculptures.
Arrange cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli and cauliflower to make veggie people. Use single serving ranch dressing as dip and faces. See how they’re put together here.
11. Make veggie sushi rolls.
This is easier than it looks. Slice zucchini thinly, fill with vegetables, then roll. Try substituting cashews for rice, like in this recipe. Yum.
12. Add colorful sprinkles to vegetables.
Kids love sprinkles, and this is a fun way to get them to eat their vegetables. Plus, it’s pretty. To get the sprinkles to stick to a vegetable like broccoli, just dip it in some kind of oil or butter then dunk into a bowl of sprinkles.
13. Incorporate vegetables into desserts.
- Add chopped zucchini to chocolate cake as seen in this recipe.
- Use avocados in brownies by replacing the butter with a ripe avocado. Try this recipe.
- Bring beets into a cupcake recipe like this one. It’ll have more of a healthy muffin taste. Kids still love it.
14. Let kids build their own salad-in-a-jar.
Salad in a mason jar is so popular right now, why not get the kids involved? Make a craft out of it by putting your kids in control and allowing them to layer the veggies of their choice–as long as they pick at least four veggies.
15. Mix root beer into prune juice for prune-juice soda.
Just a dash of root beer can make the prune juice taste great, and it’s not just for constipated kids. Prune juice is made from dried prunes, or plums, which hold many nutrients.