Parents often find difficulty in getting their children to eat healthy foods, especially when vegetables aren’t generally a favorite among kids. While most parents are familiar with the pleading process during mealtimes and the threat to withhold dessert, there are other ways to get your child to eat healthy foods without creating a stressful atmosphere during the meal.

Grocery Store Treasure Hunt

While seeing green on their plates may not seem very appealing during mealtime, letting your child get involved in purchasing the vegetables at the grocery store can be a good start in sparking their interest.

Taking your child along to the grocery store can be a way to get them excited about vegetables. Make a fun game out of finding certain healthy foods at the grocery store and create a treasure hunt for your child. This can jumpstart a dialogue between you and your child during mealtime about the healthy foods you child helped to pick out at the grocery store.

Growing Garden

Children’s curiosity about nature is a great way to get them interested in healthy foods. Children love the outdoors for the fresh air, to get a little dirty and exert some energy.

Take advantage of their love of the outdoors by starting a garden with your child. Growing your own vegetables, herbs or fruit can be a great way to bring in fresh grown ingredients into the home. Your child will be amazed at how a small seed can blossom into something with a little bit of time, love and care.

Helping Hands in the Kitchen

Getting your children involved in the cooking process can help to spark their interest in the side dishes of a meal. While many kids tend to focus on the crunchy chicken or the messy pastas, letting your children help with the cooking can get them interested in the other parts of the meal.

While your children may not be able to partake in the chopping, they can definitely take part in all the other actions involved in cooking. Let your children rinse, sort and spice and they will beam with pride in helping with the family meal. This can help to get them to try the dishes when the meal is ready to eat.

Cooking Class for Kids

Sometimes, getting children to eat something healthy is as simple as surrounding them with their peers. Signing up your children for a cooking class geared towards children can be a great way to get them to step out of their comfort zone and try new things. Seeing other children try new foods can give them the confidence to try them and partake in the cooking process.

Invisible Vegetables

While making plain vegetables as a side dish can be part of a healthy meal, recent cookbooks have come out with some great recipes that implement healthy ingredients without children catching on. Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kid Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld is a cookbook filled with recipes that hide the vegetables without taking away from the overall taste. 

There are some great finds like brownies made with carrots and spinach or chocolate cake made with beets. However, you don’t necessarily need these recipes to hide your own vegetables in your meals. Think of ways to implement vegetables wherever you can, whether it’s steamed cauliflower in a food processor to make your mashed potatoes creamy and healthy or homemade pizzas topped with vegetables.

Mealtime can often become a battle of wills between you and your child, especially when it comes to trying to get them to eat healthy foods. However, mealtime should be spent as quality time as a family. Instead of creating a stressful atmosphere during your family meals, try to implement some simple tips, whether it’s getting them involved in the cooking process, showing them how the food gets to their plate or just using creative recipes to implement extra nutrients in their meals, that will ensure your children receive all the nutritional ingredients they need for a healthy diet.

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