8 cunning ways to get kids to eat vegetables

Would your child would rather lick the carpet than let a floret of broccoli pass their lips? You have our sympathies. But also, and more usefully, we offer up these tips on winning the veg war.

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    1. I'm sorry - this restaurant serves a set menu - not a la carte

    "My daughter knows that what's on the plate is the only option - but I don't cajole or force, just offer it to her and if she says no I get her down from the table. Quite a few times, she's come back to the table to see if I've thrown it away and has a taste or a few mouthfuls."


    2. Pasta sauce is your friend

    "You can hide 5 gazillion veg in tomato sauce with pasta. My children's current favourite 'tomato' pasta sauce actually contains lentils, sweet potato, onions, tomatoes, cheddar, carrot and celery!"


    3. Go pick-your-own for picky eaters 

    "Serve the food "family-style" rather than "restaurant-style". Bring the food to the table and let everyone (other than the small kids) help themselves. Make certain there's at least one food that they like on the table, be it rice, potato, bread, carrots, whatever. And then let them take what they want to eat."


    4. "Chips come from potatoes?!" - and other facts your children may not know

    "I've found the best way to get my daughter to eat different foods is show her they're from the same ingredient. For example, I couldn't get her to eat mashed potatoes when she was younger but I knew she liked chips. So, first we tried home style chips, then croquettes, then mash."


    5. Burst into song. No, really. 

    "My friend noticed how tense she looked while trying to get her toddlers to eat, so she started singing to them to diffuse the tension. It worked, and now I do it too. You feel a bit stupid, but it certainly does lighten the mood around a fussy toddler. Stops it being a charged emotional event, when you're singing 'one banana, two banana' or 'Strawberry Fields foreeeeever'."

    6. Hold it. Smell it. Then EAT IT!!!


    "Get them to hold something or smell it. Quite often they eat it - their sense of smell and touch tells them that it's safe to eat."


    7. "Do as I do" (to employ if "Do as I say" hasn't worked)

    "Eat together as a family. If they see you eating things, they are more likely to try themselves."


    8. Sow it and grow it. 

    "Get them to start growing fruit and veg in your garden. Amazingly, my son loves cabbage now, purely because we grew them last summer and he helped water them, so wanted to try his cabbages. He hated them before, but now they're his favourite veg! He also learned to love cucumber and carrots the same way. And we grew loads of strawberries and just let him eat them straight from the bush."


Last updated: 21 days ago