We know it’s not just a problem with fussy toddlers: your daughter doesn’t like the texture of kale, or your son hates beets. Maybe Dad thinks vegetables are important but forgets to use them when he cooks, or Mom is tired of limp lettuce leaves and watery tomatoes.
So what can you do? We have to try to aim for as many servings of vegetables as we can a day, so try these 7 quick tips to get everyone eating more vegetables-when they don’t like them that much.
1. For everyone on-the-go: leave veggie trays on the counter or in clear containers in the fridge. Kids will grab them between running outside with their friends and teenagers will munch on them when watching a movie. If you make vegetables available in a way that attracts visual interest, everyone is much more likely to opt for veggies as a snack.
2. For texture-haters: A lot of kids and teenagers hate the texture of certain vegetables. So mix it up! Try stir frying red peppers instead of serving them in a salad, or roast beets instead of eating them raw. When serving them in a salad, or even a cooked meal, dive them extremely small, to reduce the texture & flavour impact.
3. The dip trick: Most vegetables can be made into fabulous dips (try our bell pepper hummus!). You can sneak fresh herbs in or make a big bowl of fresh salsa or guacamole: everyone loves dips, and you can go the extra mile by serving them with some cut up veggies (like carrots, cucumber, bell peppers…).
4. Try new vegetables in salads: Instead of the standard lettuce-and-tomato that seems to be the typical standby of summer BBQs, take advantage of the season. Arugula, avocadoes, cucumber, eggplant, hot peppers, kohlrabi, shallots, radishes, summer squashes, and zucchini are all in peak season right now. And don’t forget herbs! Mint can pair well with watermelon, dill with cucumber, and basil goes well with nearly every vegetable.
5. Sneak them in: Does your son hate onions and carrots? Cook them and then toss them into a food processor to add to your famous spaghetti sauce-without them knowing! Once they tell how much they like the meal, then you can let them know what is really in it. Grated zucchini is great to add to chocolate muffins, or, if you have a juicer, add a bit of spinach to your apple juice. Smoothies are also the go-to way to cheat vegetables in: just add a handful of greens to those berry smoothies (Kids actually enjoy drinking a veggie that tastes like fruit and are more willing than you might think!)
6. Recreate the chip: everyone loves chips. Taro, zucchini, carrot, and kale can all be baked into fantastic chips. Slice thin and bake in the oven with your favourite seasonings: sesame oil and seeds for an Asian flare, sea salt and pepper for a classic taste or smoky paprika and cayenne for spicy chips.
7. Add more vegetables to dishes you already love: is lasagna your family’s favorite? Add cooked carrots and chopped spinach. Throw broccoli and asparagus into omelets, or throw some extra veggies on the next time you have make-your-own-pizza night.
Getting everyone eating more vegetables can be quick and easy with the right tools! For more great tips, check out our Whole Foods Lifestyle Program!