Everyone knows vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but why? Vegetables provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and can reduce the risk of various diseases including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and certain types of cancers. Do your children like to eat their veggies? If not, here are some suggestions:
- Offer new foods first and in small portions. Veggies may need to be reintroduced several times before being accepted.
- Cook veggies in different ways. For example: warm, cold, frozen, roasted, steamed, sautéed, dried, dehydrated, canned, whole, cut-up in different shapes, mashed, etc.
- Make vegetables more appealing by teaching children where food comes from and get children involved in grocery shopping and cooking.
- Children can have fun with veggies by using them as toppings. For example, place mushrooms, shredded carrots, lettuce, green peas, and/or chopped spinach in brightly colored bowls to use as toppings for pizza, tacos, or spaghetti.
- Make veggies interactive by serving them with a flavorful dip or sauce, such as hummus, ranch dip, guacamole, or nut butter.
- Cauliflower can be used to make pizza crust, rice, or mashed “potatoes.”
Written by Lydia Kay Newman, MS, RD, LDN
Lydia Kay Newman is a Registered Dietitian at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. She received her master’s degree in clinical nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017. She received her bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences with a minor in Spanish from the University at Buffalo in 2014. She has been a member of the Hematology/Oncology team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital main campus for one year. Lydia assesses the nutritional status of children and provides diet education to patients and families. She also aids the medical team in managing nutrition support in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.