How to encourage your children to eat vegetables


Vegetables, despite their health and taste values appreciated by adults, are something that most children do not like. That is why many parents are dumbfounded by the thought of encouraging their children to eat vegetables. What to do to convince the youngest eaters to consume vegetables?


Vegetables are a group of products that are characterized by high nutritional value and therefore should form the basis of our diet. Sometimes, however, it is difficult to convince children of this as they tend to refuse to eat veggies. In such cases, many parents try to  “smuggle” these valuable products into the menu. For instance, an effective method may be dishes in which the taste of vegetables will go well with other ingredients (e.g. sweeter fruit). Shopping together and cooking vegetable dishes for the family can also be a good solution.

Healing properties

Vegetables are products that enrich the menu with such valuable ingredients as dietary fiber, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals.

Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables enrich a child’s diet mainly with folates, iron, vitamins K and C.

  • Folates – participate in the production and maturation of red blood cells, as well as the process of growth and development of all cells.
  • Iron – is an essential component of hemoglobin, which enables the supply of oxygen to cells. Symptoms of its deficiency may be pale skin, decreased appetite, weight loss, as well as symptoms of the nervous system (e.g. weakened concentration).
  • Vitamin K – participates in the blood clotting process and is also essential for the proper bone structure.
  • Vitamin C – increases the absorption of non-haem iron, supports the functioning of the immune system, and is involved in the synthesis of collagen.

Vegetables rich in vitamin C

Vegetables play a very important role in a child’s diet, enriching it with vitamin C. Some of us associate it primarily with the treatment of colds because it is an anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating ingredient. It is worth knowing that its presence in a child’s diet is also important for other reasons. Vitamin C is also important since it increases the absorption of non-haem iron, stimulates the production of collagen, and is also essential for maintaining healthy gums. Vegetables rich in vitamin C include:

  • kohlrabi,
  • parsley (both root and leaves),
  • spinach,
  • paprika,
  • cauliflower.

Vitamin C is very sensitive to external factors, such as high temperature, light, and oxygen. Improper processing of products can lead to vitamin C losses of up to 40%. Therefore, if possible, vegetables rich in vitamin C should be served raw or only after short heat treatment.

Culinary properties

What are the culinary qualities of the selected vegetables and how to encourage children to eat these valuable foods? First of all, it’s a good idea to take kids shopping. This is a good opportunity for them to choose the products that suit them. In addition, buying vegetables for the family creates an opportunity to familiarize the child with the richness of their colors, shapes, and smells. This can arouse children’s curiosity and therefore encourage them to eat vegetables. The way the vegetables are served is also important. If a child gets them in the form of an unappetizing green paste, there is a good chance that they will refuse to eat. That is why it is worth making sure that vegetable meals attract the attention of our children. You can use, for example, a machine for making pasta from vegetables (e.g. zucchini) or forms with interesting shapes to make muffins with vegetables. If you involve your child in the preparation of a meal, you can only win. Learn and play method will encourage children to eat greens. Finally, remember that your child should not be forced to eat vegetables, as doing so will have the opposite effect. If it is very resistant, it is better to focus on a few products that they like, and only then gradually expand the menu.

Ideas for vegetable dishes that will arouse children’s curiosity

How to use vegetables to encourage children to eat them? Some ideas are given below.

  • Green pancakes – prepare the dough by mixing wholemeal flour with milk, a little olive oil, and spinach. Thanks to this, we can “smuggle” spinach into the diet. You can prepare, for example, green pasta in a similar way.
  • Vegetable pancakes – you can prepare them from zucchini and carrots, and then serve them with your favorite sauce (e.g. yogurt and fresh dill).
  • Frittata with vegetables – this is a dish typical of Italian cuisine. You could say that it resembles an omelet in a dry version.
  • Vegetable and fruit cocktails – allow you to combine your favorite, sweeter fruits (e.g. bananas) with less liked vegetables (e.g. spinach).


It is certainly not worth giving up when it comes to the process of including vegetables in your child’s menu. Although it may be difficult at first, the method of small steps should be successful in the end. Our patience is important, as well as arising the curiosity in the child and not discouraging them.

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