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My 5 year old won't eat fruits and hardly eats any veggies. How can I find palatable ways to get these foods into his belly? Help! - Marika
The problem you have is certainly not limited to vegan families. We would all like to see our kids eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. Here are some tips and tricks to get 5-a-day into your child.
I don't know any child who can resist a fruit smoothie. I use a Vitamix and throw in a banana, an apple, an orange, frozen strawberries, and a cup of apple juice, blend and serve. Both my children will guzzle one down like it was the greatest treat in the world. Right there, they've each gotten 2-3 servings of fruit.
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I buy a vegan ranch dressing from our health food store and use it to make veggies a little more agreeable. My daughter loves to dip broccoli or zucchini in the dressing. See if you can find dips or sauces that your child will love and let him dip to his hearts content.
Hide the goods
Blend veggies into your marinara sauce and serve with pasta. Roll zucchini in bread crumbs or wheat germ, bake, and call them crunchy veggie sticks (serve with dressing or marinara). Make a wrap with sauteed veggies, rice, and soy sauce (or other dressing) and wrap in a whole wheat tortilla or serve in pita bread. My daughter is so excited to get a wrap that she doesn't even notice what's in it.
Soup is good food
My daughter will never ask for soup, but if I make some and put it in front of her she will eat it. Her favorite is split pea, but she'll also eat tomato soup and sometimes lentil soups with veggies in it.
Keep them handy and ready to go
Cut up some vegetables early in the week like carrots and celery and keep them in a bag in the refrigerator. Tell your son he can snack on them any time he wants. I also keep fruit out on the dining room table so that if my daughter is really hungry she will just grab an apple, orange, or banana and eat it while she's asking me to make her dinner.
Get rid of the junk
If we have cake or cookies in the house my daughter gets too focused on them and is more resistant to eating healthy foods. So we only bring those items into the house on special occasions. She eats a lot better when those items are not even an option.
Get a juicer
We've had a juicer for about a year and my daughter will drink just about anything that comes out of it. Her favorite is carrot apple juice, but she's also had beet-celery-kale-ginger-apple juice and loves it too. When she gets to put the items into the juicer she gets even more excited about the outcome.
Be creative, look for new ways to present and prepare foods. As your child grows older, his palate will adjust to enjoy more of these delicious fruits and vegetables.