Getting children to eat their vegetables can be a daily battle. Whether they’re picky or just prefer certain foods, children have quite a reputation for disliking their vegetables.
However, depending on their age, children need to be eating between 2 to 5 serves of vegetables a day. A standard serve is generally about 75g. This would look like a cup of green leafy vegetables, half a sweet potato or half a cup of cooked green or orange vegetables, for example.
More than just a healthy source of carbohydrates, vegetables offer fibre, vitamins and minerals for good health and protection against chronic disease. Disguising them in meals that look fun and tasty is a great way to get them into their diet.
Here are some ideas to get vegetables in your child’s meals:
- Add some baby spinach or frozen chopped zucchini into their favourite smoothie.
- Chop up pizza ingredients, such as tomatoes, mushroom and capsicum into an omelette.
- Bake some healthy muffins with lots of hidden vegetables, such as grated carrot in carrot and walnut muffins or grated beetroot in cacao muffins.
- Make sweet potato or beetroot pancakes.
- Pack a nutritional punch into quiches with asparagus, leeks and roasted tomatoes.
Lunch and dinner
- Cook spaghetti bolognese or lasagne with half the amount of meat you normally use and replace it with vegetables instead.
- Finely chop vegetables, such as carrot and zucchini, into meatballs and sausage rolls.
- Hide lots of grated vegetables in burger patties and make zucchini and parsnip chips on the side.
- Add green such as kale, silverbeet or bok choy into a variety of different soups or stews.
- Add butter to cooked vegetables, such as green beans and corn, or to potato mashes to make them taste better, and to allow the fat to absorb the vitamins in the vegetables.
Novel ways for children to take supplements
Childrens’ supplements, such as probiotics or fruit and vegetable powder blends, are taken with water, milk or juice, but children can take them in a variety of fun ways that encourage healthy eating at the same time. Add them into:
- Chia puddings
- Overnight oats
- Raw treats or slices
- Pasta and pesto sauces
- Vegetable mashes
Always read the label prior to taking supplements, follow the recommended dosage and seek practitioner advice to help meet any dietary concerns you have for your child.