Keeping color on my kids’ plate has been my way of encouraging them to eat their veggies since they were babies. We started them with colorful soft foods~ steamed veggies, avocado, and so forth. I just loved seeing them with a colorful plate. And for some reason, I just never give up on it, even when I know they are probably not going to go for it.
If I am serving salad, I always put a small salad on each of their plates. With my first-born, he started eating it right away. He loves it, and loves what it does for his body (we also talk a lot about why we eat certain things). My second was different. He didn’t touch it for close to a year (thank you dad for clean-up duty) Occasionally, with encouragement, he would try a bite. We never forced it and we always plated multiple veggie options. We kept it consistent – three or four leaves with a little dressing, just so he could see it. And now, all of the sudden, he gobbles it up! He claims, “I’m fwee (three) now, I can eat sawad (salad)!”
I try to add color, and nutrients, to “normal” dishes too – like the grilled cheese pictured above. I just dice up some kale and add it to the cheese. Our mac and cheese always has peas. And there’s even a great recipe from 100 Days of Real Food that has carrots in the Sloppy Joes. I try not to hide the vegetables because I want them to know what they are eating, and to understand the importance of eating in color. Most of these additions have no real taste change, add nutrients, and again, allow them to see that we need to eat color! I can’t promise it works, but I do know that tonight my kids asked me for seconds of brussell sprouts and that has to be good for something.