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  • Thinking Outside the (Lunch) Box: Getting Creative with Vegetables
  • Jennifer Aline Graham
    Jennifer Aline Graham
  • Breakfast ideasFamily RecipesRecipes

Thinking Outside the (Lunch) Box: Getting Creative with Vegetables

Kids Eating Their Vegetables

Photo credit: Leah Gemmati

There comes a time in a every new mother’s life when their little one thinks every piece of broccoli, carrot, green bean, and pea looks better on the floor.

 That time has come for me.

 From the start, my girls were great eaters. They would attack canned carrots and welcome frozen broccoli. They looked forward to every colored jar food that came their way. Now, however, the tables have drastically turned. They will eat their fruit, meat, and breads right away and often throw their vegetables on the ground before even trying them. Sometimes they will bravely take a taste, but it usually comes drooling out and into the bib it goes.

I felt a little bit hopeless at first, but I also knew this was completely normal and would most likely only continue to get tougher. Since I want them to get appropriate nutrition, I knew I had to think creatively.

I was not going to throw in the towel. I learned a long time ago that Moms do not have towels to throw.

 Ways to Help Solve the Vegetable Dilemma

I recently reached out through social media to get some suggestions on creative ways to get my girls to eat their veggies. Even though many people despise social media, it can actually be a great way to find a supportive community of people with similar interests. When bringing up this topic, the responses were not only helpful, but also sparked new ideas on how to solve this dilemma.

 Since posting this question and following through with many of the suggestions, my girls have been eating their vegetables every day. Maybe the veggies aren’t in actual vegetable form or look to be a carrot or green bean, per se, but they are getting the nutrients they need – and that’s truly what matters.

“Everything Tastes Better in Tot Form.”

Veggie Tots

Photo credit: Walmart.com

 Rachel Footen, mom of one, suggested, “Green Giant has those broccoli tots, cauliflower tots, and broccoli & cheese tots. Everything tastes better in tot form.”

 The moment this item was suggested, it was immediately added to my Instacart – yes, I rely on Instacart. On top of this brand, I realized just how many other kinds of vegetable tots there are out there. So, of course, I splurged. Luckily, one of my daughters seemed to like them while the other was still a little skeptical. I added a teeny droplet of ketchup on their plates and, since then, they have seemed to take to the tots.

“Smoothies! They’re Always a Hit.”

Smoothie for Kids

Photo credit: Pexels.com

“Blend with yogurt, frozen fruit, and spinach! Yummy!” explains Katie Kosmider, mother of twins. Another mom of two, Michaela De Nijs, offered some suggestions when it comes to smoothies as well: “I make them with frozen berries, banana, probiotic yogurt, almond milk, a scoop of greens powder, and sometimes I’ll sneak some extra veggies like spinach, kale, or avocado - but they’re always a hit with both of my kids! And they’re SO picky.”

Though my girls haven’t been huge fans of smoothies, I know so many little ones who beg their parents to make them their “Green Drink.” Between all of the technology out there and all of the companies providing healthy supplements, smoothies are a great way to get your kiddo eating healthy.

Put the Pouch in Everything

Vegetable Pouches for kids

Photo credit: Momtastic.com

 I still give Lucas some of the veggie pouches to make sure he’s getting enough. I control the pouch. However the Gerber brand ones have a control flow spout. So easy to keep in the bag and you don't need a spoon,” explains mom of one, Michelle Eisele.

The vegetable pouches have saved us. My girls did not use these much before recently, but now we mix them into absolutely everything to make sure they are consuming their vegetables in some way or another. We will add the pouch to yogurt, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, and even put it inside of pita bread and grilled cheese sandwiches. Utilizing these veggie pouches have been a huge way to sneak vegetables into the girls’ diets.

“Try Frozen, Canned, and Fresh.”

Vegetables for Children

Photo credit: Healthyfoods.com

Breanna Yung, mom of one, suggested the following: “Try frozen, canned and fresh as well as different cooking methods. I’ve learned Norah only likes fresh roasted cauliflower, not frozen. Same goes for frozen peas but not canned. Lots of experimentation.”

Depending on the day, my girls will test out some of the vegetables I put on their plate. We have experimented with frozen, canned, sautéed, roasted, and raw and, once and a while, they will eat half of the portion on their plate. However, we are learning that they actually prefer sautéed, roasted or raw to canned or frozen – which I never would have known if I hadn’t tried all of the options. I guess I will be wearing my chef hat more often!

Veggie Pasta Victory

Vegetable Pasta

Photo credit: Target.com

“Barilla makes two pastas made with veggies - my kids love the penne. Also, pumpkin pancake mix from Trader Joe’s is actually made with pumpkin,” says mom of two, Erin Paris.

While one of my girls absolutely loves pasta, the other will often not even touch it – well, depending on her mood and the day. Cooking vegetable pasta and trying out the different shapes and flavors is a great idea. My pickier daughter will only try pasta that is small and round – so finding vegetable pasta that is in that shape helps get the vegetables in her in some form. My other daughter, on the other hand, is a monster and will pretty much absorb pasta through her skin.

*All of these quotes were from real moms who gave consent through the participation on the Facebook page Momhood Mayhem and/or the Instagram page the.write.mama  

 

Biography

 Jennifer Aline is a coffee addict, mama of twins, and a passionate freelance writer and author. She writes for Moms.com on a regular basis and has had articles in publications such as the NY Daily News, NY Post, and In Good Health Newspaper. Aline received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Studies from Keuka College and worked in the Human Services field before her two little girls entered her life. Aline now focuses primarily on writing, teaching aerial arts classes in the evenings, and caring for her twin daughters – all while continuously chugging coffee, of course.

Social Media:

Instagram: the.write.mom

Facebook: Momhood Mayhem 

Twitter: jenni_aline

  • Jennifer Aline Graham
    Jennifer Aline Graham
  • Breakfast ideasFamily RecipesRecipes

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