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7 Creative Ways to Get Kids to Eat More Veggies

“No, candy corn is not a vegetable. Potato chips aren’t either.”… Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat veggies? My two year old loves her veggies, all of ’em – but my nephews who live with me definitely do NOT. They are 6 and 9, and very opinionated and a bit stubborn. {A lot like their dad, my younger brother, lol.} So since healthy eating is a bit of a passion of mine – and kids need about 2 1/2 cups of veggies every day – I had to start getting creative to encourage them to try new foods without a fight. Here are my top 7 tips and tricks to easily get your kids to eat more veggies – and if you’ve a tip that works great in your house, be sure to share it in the comments after the post.

How to get the kids to eat more veggiesAll of these tips have a few things in common – they’re simple, meaning that they’re easy solutions that any busy mom can fit into her daily routine. They’re fun, and make eating veggies something kids want to do, instead of something you have to force them to do. And they’re delicious and nutritious, which is the whole point, right?

  1. Hide them: Yep, I’m suggesting that you trick your kids, lol. You can puree veggies like broccoli, carrots, or zuchini and add them to baked goodies like muffins and cupcakes. If you’re pressed for time, use a jarred baby food – mix a jar or two into pasta sauce, casseroles, or pizza sauce. Adding steamed cauliflower to mashed potatoes is almost undetectable. Once you start doing this, you’ll never go back – there’s not much difference in taste or consistency, and you’ll know that you’re helping your kids get those veggies that they need so much.
  2. Involve them: Kids get frustrated a lot because there is so much in their life that they have no control over. Imagine – someone tells you what time you have to get up, what time to go to sleep, makes you eat on their schedule – and even tells you what you have to eat at each meal! So let them help as much as possible – plant a veggie garden, visit a local Farmer’s Market, produce stand or U-Pick Farm – or if all else fails, have them help you choose cool new things to try from the produce section of your local grocery store. Having some say in what is served always helps kids be more open to trying new things.
  3. Soup them: This works even for me – there are a few veggies that I am NOT a fan of, like squash. But if they’re cooked up in a big veggie soup, I’ll eat just about anything! The flavors blend together, you can add noodles or meat to distract kids from the veggies, and top it with cheese, crackers, or croutons. This is a great way to use up all of your leftover vegetables at the end of each week too.
  4. Add them: Find ways to add veggies to your kids current favorite foods. If they love Mac ‘n Cheese, why not add some frozen peas before finishing and serving it? If they’re a big fan of wrap sandwiches like our boys are, add shredded lettuce, grated carrot, and any other diced or chopped vegetables. Add some cream cheese or ranch dressing, sliced turkey or ham, and you’ve got a super healthy super sandwich.
  5. Name them: When Cole was little, I used to serve him “Grasshopper Legs” – and they were his favorite thing. {Green beans, in case you were wondering. No grasshoppers were harmed in the making of this post…} Get creative – do they have a favorite cartoon, animal, or movie? Or, if they have a favorite color, you could even use a touch of food coloring to make purple corn, or green mashed potatoes. Good times.
  6. Create them: Get a cool gadget like a Spiral Vegetable Slicer, to make fresh veggies look a lot more fun. Or make funny faces, or cool characters out of veggies and other lunch-time staples. If you need some inspiration, check out my Fun Kids Foods board on Pinterest!
  7. Smother them: No, not the kids {lol}. A melted cheese or awesome ranch dressing like Hidden Valley can make anything yummier and more fun to eat. We use empty baby food jars to hold servings of ranch – it’s just about the right amount for two little boys to share at lunch time, and it’s easy for them to grab out of the fridge, along with the individual baggies of veggies I make twice a week – sliced sweet peppers, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and celery. The guys who invented individual bags of chips were on to something – so copy them with your healthier bags of grab and go snacks.

Using these tips should really shake up the usual routine in your home – for you, and for the kids. Hopefully you’ll be able to get them to open up and get excited about trying new foods – but at the least, you’ll have some great ways to sneak those vegetables into their meals, so that they get better nutrition until you can convince them to eat better on their own.

Hidden-Veggie Turkey Wrap with Hidden Valley RanchThis is one of our favorite lunches – the Hidden-Veggie Turkey Wrap with Hidden Valley Ranch. It’s a super simple way to hide extra veggies in a fun-to-eat wrap sandwich, it’s great for kids or adults, can be easily switched up depending on what you have on hand, and travels well – making it a great option to send in school lunchbags. Here’s how to make it yourself:

  • Mix a bit of Hidden Valley Ranch {I prefer the Lite version} with some low-fat plain cream cheese, then spread a thin layer on a tortilla, to about a half-inch from the edges all around.
  • Add some shredded carrots, diced peppers, or any other veggie that you’ve got available.
  • Top with a layer of thin-sliced turkey lunch meat, a couple of lettuce or spinach leaves, and a bit of shredded cheddar cheese. {If you’re feeling extra indulgent, add some bacon crumbles too. Mmmmm…. Bacon.}
  • Now grab one end, and roll the wrap up as tightly as possible. Cut in half, and use toothpicks to secure if needed.

Add a side of extra ranch for dipping, and some sliced apples, bagel chips, or grapes, and you’ve got an awesome power lunch perfect for any age. To learn more about creating healthy lunches – and to join an amazing fundraiser to showcase how good, simple foods make healthier bodies and families – visit LunchBreakforKids.com.

Let’s Chat: What are your best tips on getting kids to eat more veggies and try new foods? Leave some comment love below….


The Hidden Valley® Original Ranch®, dressings & dips has provided me with free product to help with my review, but anything I receive from Hidden Valley does not affect my thoughts on its company or their product. {Photo one credit: awsheffield. Photo two my own.}

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Comments

  1. My husband likes to make pictures out of food on their plates. He will make bunnies and faces – all kinds of animals. The kids go running to see what he has created. They always eat it. I am more of a puree person. If you put it in the food processor – they don’t really know it is there. I always puree the veggies in soup. I add the meat later in chunks. They have no idea!

  2. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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