If you're dedicated to helping your child eat nutritious food and establish healthy eating habits from the start, then you're probably aware that veggies are a big part of that.
But there is a reason kids don't like them, some are bitter, some are gooey, some are chewy and some are too leafy for them.
So, trying to make sure your child eats enough vegetables can be hard. Especially trying to fit them into delicious vegetable lunches or dinners.
Kids Don't Eat Veggies?
But often veggies are neglected by kids. And science still hasn't come up with a reason for that.
For example, right now, my 16-month old son is in a "potato phase". Meaning the only veggie he'll eat is a potato. No matter which ones are served right next to it.
So what I've been doing lately is serving meals that have a balanced macronutrient count which also includes produce – i.e. veggies.
A Different Approach To Veggie Exposure
To clarify – the goal here is not to hide the veggies you serve within other food. Think big picture: it's better to instill healthy eating habits rather than just getting some veggies in on any given day.
So you're better off serving veggies in ways that encourage your kids to eat them, while remaining aware of what they are eating.
This can be done in several ways.
Different Ways Of Exposing Veggies In Food
- Serving mixed meals were veggies are visible (e.g. lasagne, pasta, stew, spring rolls etc.)
- Servings veggies as a sauce (e.g. in a risotto, pasta etc.)
- Serving veggies in a soup (my absolute favorite)!
- Serving them in baked goods (e.g. muffins, frittata, pancakes, etc.) but communicating with the child what they are eating so that they are aware you are not trying to trick them
Why Do This For Lunch?
I've found lunch being the easiest meal of the day where I can try this.
Breakfast is really a porridge time for us, and snacks are usually dairy or fruit so lunch comes naturally as a meal where I try and expose my son to different veggies in different ways.
And if he doesn't eat them, he still has 1 or 2 meals left throughout the day where he can fulfill his nutritional requirements and not go to bed hungry.
If he doesn't want to eat what I've served for lunch, I'll also often offer it again at dinner time. And sometimes he will choose the lunch option and even ask for more. Toddlers!
So let's take a look at different types of simple and quick veggie lunches that you can serve to your picky toddler.
Vegetable Lunches Where Veggies Are Visible
Vegetable Lunches #1
Veggie Lunches #2
Vegetable Lunches #3
Veggie Lunches #4
Vegetable Lunches Where Veggies Are Served As A Sauce
Veggie Lunches #5
Vegetable Lunch Where Veggies Aren't Visible
Veggie Lunches #6
Vegetable Lunches #7
Veggie Lunches #8
Vegetable Lunches #9
Trying to balance pretty much everything in life and getting your child to eat nutritious food can be a struggle. But let me tell you a little secret – you don't need to get them to eat.
Just serve balanced meals filled with nutritious foods. And let them take it from there.
This list of vegetable lunches is a simple way of including vegetables into meals that you can serve to your child and they can choose whether they'll eat it or not.
Since most of these are mixed meals, I do recommend serving other foods they usually eat and love alongside so that even if they refuse the vegetable exposure part of the meal they still have something to eat.
What's Your Biggest Struggle When Feeding Your Child? Let us know in comments.
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