Nearly one in five U.S kids are obese because of a lack of exercise and a poor diet.
A simple way to prevent this is by whipping up nutrition-rich meals for your little one. Perhaps you’re struggling to find a veggie your child likes or aren’t sure which the healthiest ones are.
Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the five best veggies for kids.
1. Sweet Bell Peppers
One of the most kid-friendly vegetables is bell peppers because they’re sweet. So slice red, orange, and yellow peppers into strips so they can enjoy them in fajitas or a stir-fry.
You can also find mini bell peppers which work great as a healthy snack especially with a dip. Whichever the variant, bell peppers are packed with vitamin C and work with an array of dishes.
If you’re after healthy vegetables, then try broccoli. Although many kids are hesitant about it, the benefits of greens are large amounts of calcium and cancer-fighting phytonutrients.
Serve your child steamed broccoli that they can eat with their fingers or throw the florets into a food processor. You can sneak these into a tomato sauce or sprinkle them over their pizza.
Another undercover veggie is spinach. This is important as it strengthens bones, protects your little one from asthma, and promotes good eye health. Many children dislike its dark green appearance so blend it into smoothies or add raw spinach into sandwiches.
One of the tastiest vegetables is carrots, making it a hit with kids. These are a brilliant source of vitamin A as it supports cell growth, protects your vision, and kidney function. Carrots also contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that fights off disease.
Give your little one sliced carrots to dip into hummus or add it into a stew so they reap the health benefits.
When browsing recipes for kids, you’ll notice tomatoes make a regular appearance.
They are fantastic in a pasta sauce, chopped in a salad, or slathered over homemade pizza dough. Whether you’re serving cherry or Roma tomatoes, they are packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that prevents cancer and heart disease.
Not sure which are the best vegetables for kids?
Prepare meals with peas as they help with digestion, contain iron, and build immunity. A bonus is how sweet these veggies are so they’re easy to add to rice or sprinkled over mac and cheese.
You can also get sugar snap peas for the ultimate snack. But if they’re too fibrous then steam them to mellow the bite. The beauty of sugar snap peas is that they’re crunchy and pair well with hummus or sauteed with garlic.
How to Make Veggies Taste Delicious
Many parents struggle to convince their kids to eat veggies but there are ways around this.
For instance, sprinkle salt over vegetables as it will counteract their bitterness. You may be afraid of increasing your child’s sodium intake, but it’s only a problem in processed foods because there’s a huge amount. But a small amount of seasoning over fresh produce isn’t anything to worry about.
You could also squeeze fresh lemon or lime to enhance the vegetable’s flavor and reduce any bitterness. And the extra vitamin C in citrus fruit won’t hurt either!
Or try drizzling olive oil over the veggies or cooking them with butter to improve their taste. And don’t be afraid to top dishes with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for extra protein and calcium.
How to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
It’s easier to get kids to eat veggies when they’re comfortable with them. Parents can do this by regularly offering sliced fruit and vegetables as a snack or in a salad. Also, be adventurous with vegetarian recipes so kids learn to love their greens as much as meat.
If you’re struggling, aim to include at least one leafy green or yellow vegetable in a dish. This could be spinach, broccoli, or carrots. You could then offer a bowl of fresh fruit for dessert so your kid gets enough vitamin C.
You should also be mindful of what’s filling your pantry. Make sure it’s packed with fresh produce rather than high-calorie snacks like cookies or potato chips. And if your child loves fresh fruit juice, make sure it’s 100% rather than a “juice drink”.
Ways to Limit Sugar
It’s difficult to control your child’s sugar intake when it’s in beloved dishes like frozen pizza, pastries, and cereal. The problem is it causes your blood sugar levels to spike and fluctuates your energy levels, which isn’t ideal.
Although it’s impossible to ban sugar completely, only offer it as a treat or an incentive for wolfing down their veggies. Plus, you can get creative and recreate desserts like popsicles by freezing a green smoothie or making fruit skewers.
You can also find kid-friendly junk alternatives. For instance, instead of frying fries or chicken, try grilling or baking them. Further, switch chocolate chip cookies with crackers and try whipping up baked veggie chips rather than a bag of potato chips.
And when you’re eating out, choose from the kid’s menu and ask for veggies as the side dish rather than fries.
Those Are the Top Veggies for Kids
Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know the best veggies for kids.
Make sure your little one is eating plenty of greens, carrots, and peas. Get creative with your recipes by sneaking in these veggies and always include one vitamin C-rich item and leafy green. And make sure you’re controlling the amount of sugar they consume. Good luck!
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