Hi there, Mama! I’m Jennifer Blossom, Doctor of Occupational Therapy, and I’m so happy to be with you today as we tackle all things kiddos and veggies. As the CEO/Founder of Blossoming Mommy and Baby, I’m passionate about giving moms like you the encouragement, tools, and education to create a meaningful motherhood. In my spare time, I love whipping up healthy and hearty dishes in my kitchen.
Whether you’ve got a little who’s refusing to eat the green-headed forest tree (AKA broccoli) or you’re skipping the vegetables altogether because you just can’t handle one more food battle, I hope the following tips and tricks will help you get your kids to eat more veggies.
I recommend starting with one or two of the tips below. Once you find your flow, incorporate more of the tips until all five become a part of your new normal. I promise you’ll be amazed at the difference simple, subtle, healthy changes can make in your life.
Grab your carrot sticks and hummus, and let’s dive in!
1. Don’t make it a big deal.
As an Occupational Therapist, I have worked with many families where the battle over vegetables has become a constant power struggle, which is no fun for the mom or the littles. Let your kids choose different vegetables while shopping at the store, let them help you in the kitchen, and let them choose which vegetables they would like for dinner. When your kiddo feels like the decision to choose carrots or celery is his or hers, it’s a win for the whole family.
2. Add fun dips.
Sometimes all a kiddo needs is a little dip to make vegetable munching a breeze. You can make your own sauces, or if you’re in a pinch for time, purchase premade dip. Check the nutritional label, and if you can, try to buy organic or locally made. The best dips for veggies are
- Hummus (great with crunchy veggies like carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, and cauliflower)
- Ranch or other salad dressing
- Tzatziki sauce (great with cucumbers)
3. Have one smoothie a day.
This may be my favorite tip because it’s so easy once you get the hang of it. Smoothies are an amazing way to boost the nutritional value of your kiddo’s diet. Plus, smoothies can easily become the highlight of your little’s day because they seem like ice cream. Start with one smoothie a day for you and your kids. As you get more confident, you can play with different vegetable combinations. Here’s my favorite recipe to start your blending adventures:
Blossoming Mommy and Baby Kid-Proof Smoothies
- 1 cup of frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, mangos, berries – whatever you love)
- 1 cup of fresh spinach (I promise you can’t taste it.)
- ¼ cup chopped cauliflower, carrot, or celery
- 1 banana
- 1 Tbsp nut butter
- 1 ¼ cup milk of choice
- 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
- Get a good blender (Vitamix, Blendtec, Oyster, and Ninja are my favorites).
- Add all ingredients.
- Pulse ten times, then blend on high for 45 seconds.
4. Try different preparations.
Who says eating vegetables has to be boring? Seasoning veggies and roasting or grilling them can make vegetables far more enjoyable for your kids.
Pick a couple of your favorite vegetables; chop them up into bite-size pieces; drizzle them with olive oil; and season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and some type of all-purpose seasoning (Trader Joe’s has an awesome blend called Salute Seasoning. Mrs. Dash also has great herb blends.). Next, bake your vegetables for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees or until soft. You can even add a layer of fresh parmesan or mozzarella and broil at the end of your roasting session for a total #MOMWIN.
Same goes for grilling. Just pick your favorite vegetables, soak them in a good balsamic dressing marinade, and grill for about 20 minutes. Your kids will love the flavor, warmth, and texture.
5. Add vegetables to your sauces, soups, marinades, and main dishes.
Get into the habit of putting vegetables into everything (literally). Not only are you boosting the nutritional value of your dishes, but you’re also adding more flavor, color, and texture to mealtime, which is a total win for you, Mama. Spaghetti sauces (first sauté your vegetables with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic until they’re tender), soups, marinades, and main dishes like enchiladas and casseroles are perfect foods for including extra vegetables. Carrots, onion, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms go great with a wide variety of meals.
If you’ve got a super picky eater at home, try incorporating his/her favorite vegetables into sauces and marinades. The smaller you can chop them up, the better. Better yet, let your child choose which vegetables to use.
Again, as you get more confident with adding vegetables to your recipes, try incorporating different types of vegetables, like cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, and more.
My signature Blossoming Mommy and Baby Healthy and Hearty Spaghetti Sauce is an awesome place for you to start experiencing the benefits and tastiness of incorporating more vegetables into your meals. (Find more of my recipes here!)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 bell pepper (orange, yellow, red, or green)
- ½ large onion
- 1 cup white mushrooms
- 1 medium zucchini (yellow or green)
- 2 large carrots
- 1 pound ground meat (turkey, lean beef, moose, elk)
- 1 x 15oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 x 25oz jar organic marinara sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 Tbsp granulated garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large sauce pot, heat olive oil on low while cutting vegetables.
- Dice bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, and carrots.
- Add vegetable mixture to oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent and vegetables are tender. Stir frequently.
- When vegetables are finished, transfer to serving plate and set aside.
- In same pot, add meat and garlic powder. Brown for 10 minutes or until done. Drain any excess grease. Add vegetable mixture back in with meat.
- Add diced tomatoes (do not drain), marinara sauce, bay leaves, Italian seasoning, maple syrup, and salt/pepper into meat and veggie mixture. Add ¼ cup water to thin out sauce.
- Mix with spatula then simmer sauce on low for 30 minutes.
- Serve with organic noodles or spaghetti squash, salad, and crusty bread.
Mama, may the veggie force be with you! Remember that baby steps each and every day result in real lifestyle changes for the entire family. You can do this, and I’m here for you, rooting you on every step of the way.
Thanks for allowing me to connect with you today. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below or reach out on Instagram @blossomingmommyandbaby.
Cheers to you! (*clinks glasses of fruit and vegetable smoothies)