Produce & smoothie cups

How to Sneak More Fruits & Veggies in Your Kid’s Diets

Lauren Egger is a busy mom of five, a former RN and founder of the Healthy Mom Project.

The struggle is real when it comes to getting kids to eat (and like) vegetables! I am intentional about this with our kids and it’s still tough. One minute they will eat and love something and then the next day they don’t. Fruits and vegetables are essential for us since they’re an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. My kids aim for five servings of fruits and veggies a day. A serving size is about the size of their little hand.

While I wish I could say my kids beg me for veggies, that’s just not the case! It’s been stress-free when my kids first started eating: They not only like vegetables, they actually prefer them. Then, somewhere around age two and up things get really tricky. Between eating at family and friend’s parties, churches, schools and different functions, and them being the age where they start to become more independent, it starts to become more challenging. Here are some tips and tricks that help me. I think you’ll find them useful too.

Cut and Slice Them Differently

Sliced oranges and cucumbers

I always think of cutting fruits and veggies in “normal” ways, and forget that we can switch it up! I amazed myself when this cucumber trick (see photo above) worked for my preschooler. Now, cucumbers are his favorite and he’ll eat them any way they are cut. Slicing oranges this way (see photo above) instead of peeling them worked for one of my kids who wasn’t a fan of the pith (the white substance which is high in fiber). It’s also easier to pack in lunches because it’s a little less messy.

Other ideas include:

  • Use an apple corer and then slice the apples horizontal in thin slices. Top with nut butter and granola or chocolate chips for a sweet treat!
  • Slice kiwi in half so kids can scoop out the fruit with a spoon, or peel kiwi and slice thin.
  • Scoop watermelon out into balls with a melon baller.
  • Scoop grapefruit out into a bowl so it makes it easier for kids to eat.
  • Slice carrots into thin sticks and dip in hummus or Tessamae’s “Ranch” dressing.

Make Smoothies

Green smoothies being poured from a blender

Smoothies are a great way to hide fruits and veggies! The possibilities are endless. If you are new to making smoothies for your kids, one thing I have found to be helpful is serving them in small glasses. I reuse the glasses from organic grass-fed yogurt from Heinen’s. Bananas, pineapple or organic orange juice are staples in kid smoothies to give them a sweet taste. Here are my kid’s favorite green smoothie recipes:

HMP Kid Green Smoothie

  • 1-2 Cups Spinach
  • Banana
  • 1/2 Inch Sliced Pineapple
  • 3/4 Cup OJ
  • 3/4 Cup Ice and Water

Add all ingredients to a blender, blend and enjoy!

Note: I prefer to use organic ingredients to avoid GMOs, pesticides and herbicides. I also like to use the core of the pineapple. It contains bromelain which may reduce inflammation.

HMP Hulk Smoothie

  • 1-2 Cups Spinach
  • 1 Cup Green Grapes
  • 1/2 Inch Sliced Pineapple

Add all ingredients to a blender, blend and enjoy!

Involve Them

Kids pouring juice into a blender

Getting your kids involved with cooking and prepping food can be super helpful with getting them to eat foods you’d like them to eat. Two of our kids love to slice and spiralize vegetables. Naturally, they just start eating the vegetables they are preparing. Even if they don’t, we are winning just by showing our kids vegetables! One of our kids helps me daily with cooking dinner. He needs to be busy at all times so this is a great way to keep him engaged!

Start a vegetable garden in the spring. You don’t need a green thumb to do this. Try starting off small with a 4×4 garden or garden pots.  We have two 4×4 gardens and every year is a learning curve. Pinterest is loaded with simple garden ideas. Our kids love to plant the seeds and harvest. It also keeps them busy for those summer days you want to stay home.

Other Ideas:

  • Sneak veggies in lasagna and sloppy joes. Yes, sloppy joes! I shred carrots at the end of browning grass-fed meat and also add 1/2 can of organic lentils with an organic barbecue sauce (to avoid high fructose corn syrup and other additives).
  • Add smashed cooked sweet potatoes, squash, or bananas in their pancakes.
  • Make these mouth-watering sweet potato french fries. SO good!
  • Try our favorite muffin recipe made with sweet potatoes!
  • Make a sticker chart to check off how many fruits and veggies they have eaten or check out the Heinen’s 5 Star Dinner program.
  • Add different fruits, vegetables and dips to a muffin pan and let them graze.
  • Whip up your own fruit popsicles. This is fun to make with the kids during summer.

Our kids are watching us every. single. day. If we want them to be healthy, then we need to be eating healthy too. Lead by example and be who you want your kids to be.

Do you have any ideas on how to sneak fruits and veggies into kids? I’d love to hear! Share them in the comments.

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