Your kids may like vegetables more than you think. Here are the most popular vegetables with children and how to prepare them.
As a mom, you want to make sure your babies are healthy. Yet finding foods they’ll eat is frustrating, and it makes you want to stop fighting and give in — and sometimes we do, but that doesn’t mean that we give up the fight toward bright, colorful, fresh food for everyone in the house.
Fortunately, there are plenty of veggies out there that kids actually like, including some surprising ones. From green vegetables to purple ones, children may be more interested in different foods than you expect.
Here are the 10 most popular vegetables with children–take a look.
Believe it or not, this veggie is one that kids deign to eat more often than you realize. Because it’s easily masked in smoothies, children don’t seem to mind spinach. The strong flavor gets overpowered by the fruit and yogurt.
This veggie is high in vitamins C and K, as well as minerals like iron to help kids stay healthy. Fresh is best if you can mix in raw spinach with a smoothie at home, or the greens into a soup or a salad. Many of the applesauce pouches have spinach mixed in with the fruit as well.
One of the sweetest vegetables, butternut or acorn squash is a winter root vegetable that kids seem to put at the top of their lists. Roasted squash is soft and easy to chew for babies who are new to food, and it doesn’t require intense work with a fork for toddlers who are working on hand-eye coordination. It’s also an easy one to work into pasta sauce and soups without anyone noticing.
3. Sweet Potatoes
This veggie’s high in starch but very in vogue right now. There are tons of options like sweet potato fries and tater tots if you’re seeking a healthier alternative to regular potato choices. They also taste delicious baked in the microwave with a bit of butter and no-frills.
Be careful with too many orange veggies, especially for babies under a year old. They’ll turn orange if you give them too many orange vegetables, a condition called carotenemia. Try to get in a good mix of vegetable colors to make sure their skin stays the right hue.
4. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers may be another surprising choice, but the sweetness of the pepper is a veggie that attracts kids. In fact, some moms buy their kids a pepper at the start of a shopping trip and let them eat it like an apple throughout the store. It keeps them occupied and provides lots of vitamin C.
You can try mini sweet peppers, which lots of kids like to eat raw. They work well dipped in a soft cheese or hummus, too. You can even convince them to eat a colorful rainbow lunch sometimes, with foods of every color represented.
While bell peppers are in the nightshade family, they’re actually very good for you (unlike some poisonous members of the same plant family). Eating bell peppers, raw or cooked, can help with eye health and in preventing anemia.
5. Grape Tomatoes
While some kids are reluctant to try larger tomatoes, grape tomatoes are just the right size for their mouths. Small food is always more attractive, and if you’re worried about the tomatoes still being too large, then cut them in half.
There is one added advantage of halving tomatoes. You avoid the unpleasant feeling of the tomato bursting in your mouth when you bite down, something kids object to.
6. Green Beans
If your child doesn’t like these at first, do some experimenting. Try them canned and frozen, as well as fresh. Cook them to various states of done-ness, as kids may not like them mushy.
Green beans also feel large in a child’s mouth, so try cutting them in half or thirds. To some children, the size is enough to deter, so chopping them and serving “baby” green beans could provide an incentive to try them.
These deep red, almost purple root veggies are another sweet one that kids may appreciate. Try them raw in a salad, even shredded, or try them cooked al dente. You can also top them with cheese or butter and salt–any number of toppings can turn a yucky veggie into something delicious.
These veggies don’t taste like much, so they won’t have a strong flavor to deter your kids. While they usually encounter cukes on a salad with the skins still on, take time to peel them at home and you may have better luck. The skin can feel funny in small mouths.
Try slicing them thinner than restaurants usually do. The thin slices are easier to chew and don’t feel as strange to children. These are another veggie that tastes better with toppings like yogurt dill sauce, hummus or ranch, and they provide plenty of the potassium your kids need.
Another squash, zucchini is plentiful in the summer. It’s delicious pan-fried in butter with some garlic and salt on it.
Yet if you’re kids won’t eat it that way, it’s easy to mix into dishes undetected. Shred-it and bake into any number of types of breads and cakes, and they’ll never know they’re getting the vitamins and minerals they need. This guide can help you find more ways to introduce healthy veggies to children.
10. Most Popular Vegetables with Children: Carrots
These are cheap and easy for kids to eat. Small children need them cooked, especially if their teeth are still coming in. But bigger kids like to chomp them, especially if you let them dip the carrots in ranch dressing or hummus.
Slice them smaller for kids who have trouble, and watch for any problems with choking. They also work great cooked and glazed, if the natural sweetness isn’t enough for the children you’re serving them to.
Introducing Healthy Foods Young
These ten veggies are some of the most popular vegetables with children. Yet there are so many more that aren’t mentioned. Give them all a try with your kids because they may surprise you.
The most important thing is to keep offering different options to kids. Offer only a few if you aren’t sure the kids will like the vegetable to avoid waste. But don’t stop offering, even if you’ve tried to serve them before and it was a fail because you never know when they’ll give it a shot.
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