Ask most parents and they’ll tell you that getting their kids to eat vegetables can be a real pain. For this reason, many have found covert ways to get them to eat their veggies, by sneaking them into smoothies or other types of food. But it turns out, hiding those veggies may not be the best idea.
Gillian Harris, an expert on picky eating in children, says sneaking veggies into a kids’ diet isn’t smart, and instead you need to be teaching them how to actually like vegetables, regardless of any weird textures they may associate with them. She explains, “You want the child to look at the vegetable, taste the vegetable, get used to the vegetable and eat that vegetable when they're seven or eight.”
Research suggests that kids who don’t eat a lot of veggies early in life grow up with poor diets, which can lead to diseases like weight problems, cardiovascular disease and cancer later in life. And there are lot of kids that are at risk, with studies showing 93% of kids between one and 18 aren't eating doctor recommendations for veggie intake.
So how do you get your kids to eat veggies without hiding them? Some say giving veggies superhero names, like “X-Ray Vision Carrots,” could work, or pairing them with something yummy like dip. Meanwhile, research suggests that the best way to get them to eat them is to just continuously give them veggies, with experts suggesting about eight to 15 times. Others say offering a kid something like a sticker when they eat their veggies will eventually get them to eat them without the reward, while others say letting kids play with their veggies, touching, tearing and smushing them, so they can try and figure out how they’ll feel in their mouth, may hopefully get them to taste it.