Tips to Make Your Kids Eat Vegetables


eater_cGetting kids to eat their vegetables isn't always an easy task. In fact, helping parents find a solution for this common dinner table dilemma is one of the reasons Chef Art Smith joined the Love Your Veggies campaign and the efforts to provide parents with tools to help their children develop a life-long love of vegetables.

Like the makers of Hidden Valley Salad Dressings, who created the Love Your Veggies campaign, Chef Smith believes that getting kids to eat vegetables goes hand in hand with involving them in the garden, in the kitchen and at the dinner table.

With cooking trends turning toward more meals prepared at home, parents can take advantage of the opportunity to get kids in the kitchen. "Cooking with kids is a great way to get them excited about eating the meal," says Smith. "When they are involved in the entire process, perhaps even starting by picking fresh vegetables from the garden or choosing produce from the store, kids develop a sense of pride in the end product."

Chef Smith's comprehensive toolkit for parents includes creative tips, kid-friendly recipes and games to engage children through activities at home, at school and in the community.

Here are a few of Chef Smith's favorite tips:

My Space: Set aside an area in the kitchen children can claim as their own culinary space. Fill a lower cupboard with a variety of cooking tools, such as plastic measuring cups and bowls, wooden spoons and rubber spatulas. Whenever you cook together, have your kids use items from their space.

Keep It Simple: Start off easy by creating fun dips for raw vegetables. Kids love ranch dressing, so use it alone or as a base to create a new dip, such as mixing in mashed chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice. For older children, create a dunk-able cheese fondue.

Beyond the Kitchen: As kids become more experienced cooks, involve them in other aspects of the meal preparation process. Go through their favorite cookbook and pick out recipes for the week, then have them help create the grocery list. If you have a garden, involve them in planting and harvesting their own vegetables to eat at the dinner table.

Celebrate Cultures: A common thread that connects us all is food - a great way to learn about other cultures. Once a week, take your kids on a culinary vacation by cooking a recipe from a different region of America or a different country. Kids will learn about a new culture, expand their palates, and have fun.

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