Dear Dietitian – How Do I Convince My Kids to Try Vegetables

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Published Saturday, July 7, 2018
PICT Leanne McCrate Dear Dietitian
by Leanne McCrate, RD, LD, CNSC

Dear Dietitian,

My ten- year-old son is a good eater, but the only vegetable he will eat is corn.  How do I get him to at least try other vegetables?

--Sharon

Dear Sharon,

When I was a child, I had to sit at the dinner table until I finished eating my green beans.  I would plug my nose and eat as many as I could. Then I would wait for my Mom to finish washing the dishes, and my dad was deep into the evening news. I would discreetly toss the remainder of the green beans underneath the fridge. "Mom, I'm finished."

We all know it's important to eat our vegetables because they contain valuable vitamins and minerals. The best way to get children to eat vegetables is to model this behavior for them.  Parents who eat healthy often have children who eat healthy.

It's not a good idea to insist that kids eat 100% of the vegetables served, as this can lead to aversions. Just make sure they eat a bite or two with the attitude, "You don't know if you will like until you've tried it."

The trick to successful vegetables is the seasoning. Margarine is a first-line component, but you probably knew that. Roasted pine nuts, sesame seeds, and slithered almonds are a great way to appetize veggies. Adding mozzarella cheese is a house favorite. For a slight citrus flavor, use lemon or orange zest.

You can try different ways of cooking veggies.  Steaming is a quick and easy method. For delicious sauteed vegetables, use olive oil spray and seasoning.  Cook on medium heat or a little lower as they will take longer to prepare than steamed food. Be sure to leave them a little crunchy. 

Last but certainly not least, eat dinner together as a family. It may be the most important thing you do all day.

Sincerely,
Dear Dietitian

Leanne McCrate, RD, LD, CNSC, is an award-winning dietitian with over fifteen years of experience. Have a question?  Email Leanne at DearDietitian411@gmail.com.