Vegetables. We need them, we want our kids to eat them, but why is it so hard to serve them? Think back on your meals over the last week. How many were mostly protein and carbs? Sure, there is the token tomato sauce and carrot sticks, but how often do we really put some time into planning the vegetables we’re going to serve for lunch or dinner to our family?

Each month I’ve provided you with one thing you can do to help make your family healthier and for the month of October we’re tackling vegetables! Can you commit to providing a serving of vegetables for every lunch and dinner in October? I can assure you, if you make the commitment, by November it will be one of the best habits you’ve ever developed.

How to get your kids (and husband) to eat vegetables:

  1. Be a good example – if your kids see you eating vegetables they will be much more likely to accept eating vegetables as a normal part of every meal.
  2. Get the kids involved in food preparation – ask each child to choose one vegetable to cook for dinner and use that time to create a joyful memory and teach them important skills.
  3. Enforce the “one bite” rule – New flavors and textures are naturally hard for kids to accept, make the child take one bite and continue to serve the vegetable routinely. Eventually the child’s taste buds will adapt and they will eat more. (It never hurts to flavor with parmesan cheese or provide cream cheese as a dip).

It’s important to introduce a variety of vegetables, so throw in a new vegetable every few days. You don’t need to go to a fancy grocery store, just browse through the produce section and pick up something you’ve never prepared, like kale, rainbow chard, or artichoke. If you need ideas, just do a quick search on the internet and you’ll find a wide variety of ways to prepare each vegetable.

In my book, The Step Up Diet, I talk about the importance of eating vegetables as “natural” as possible, as in “the way it comes from nature”. For example, canned pasta may say it contains a whole serving of vegetables, but it will also contain large amounts of salt, preservatives, and stabilizers to keep the food looking and smelling good. The positive effects of the serving of vegetables in the can are definitely overshadowed by the negative effects of all the other unnecessary additives. While eating canned goods during, say, a camping trip is not going to kill anyone, making them a staple at the family dinner table is not advisable.

Click here for more helpful tips to get your kids to eat vegetables and check out this list of kid-friendly vegetables to try with your family meals.

Need a healthy pasta sauce recipe to mix with pasta? Try out my family’s favorite homemade pasta sauce!

Click here to see all 12 family health challenges

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.