QUESTION: Ultimate question! How do you get a 9 year old to eat veggies??? only thing i’ve found is to run them through my food processor until they’re pureed and then drain and mix to whatever meat/sauce is in dinner. even potatoes are a no go anymore :(
ANSWER: As you know, this is a difficult and tricky one. Many parents are at a loss on how to approach this. It isn’t simple and never definite:
Of course there are the obvious ways to include veggies into his diet, but you’ve probably already tried them: making spaghetti with homemade sauce, giving several dipping sauces to try with raw veggies, lasagna, etc. Since you have resorted to pureeing, I am assuming that you have tried just about everything else. It is exhausting to have to puree foods and hide them into the meals, and one has to wonder if this helps them accept that they are actually eating vegetables. One the other hand, it isn’t that kids have to actually like vegetables; they just need to eat them.
First things first, there should be almost no junk food. Kids should be able to be kids, but at the same time, if you have to choose between a raw carrot and a Big Mac, what would you pick?
Secondly, keep it fun. One idea that is particularly neat is the “Yuck Away”. You take a bottle of say maple syrup, something sweet, and you act silly and pretend it is vegetable “Yuck Away”. You let them poor it on the veggies, as long as they promise to eat them. Sooner or later, they won’t need the “Yuck Away” at all.
Or, you can always retreat to what you have been doing, hiding veggies (maybe telling him later). Deceptively Delicious (by Jessica Seinfeld) is a great book about how to make awesome meals that are packed with vegetables and their nutrients, pureed into the ingredients. It also includes tips on how to improve store-bought foods, and advice on how to make eating a positive experience for your child.
Or, maybe have them drink their veggies. Let him help in the creation of the drink or smoothie. Add fruit to the blender or juicer for a more sweet and recognizable taste (ex: mango and carrot). Unfortunately, some kids have a problem with texture and will not drink it, either. Bananas, V8, peaches, strawberries, and plain yogurt are good for making the texture smoother. And, you can always make veggie popsicles together, and then use them for a treat.
The best advice is to just be creative and persistent. As difficult as it seems now, as long as he is exposed to vegetables over the span of his life, chances are that he will eventually like them…or at least just eat them.
**You can purchase Deceptively Delicious at your local (Plano) Barnes and Noble!
Try some of these links:
Delicious & Nutricious: Jessica Seinfield’s recipes and tips
How to make veggie burgers
Making food fun photo gallery
Fresh for kids veggie sides
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