20 Fun Ways To Get Kids To Eat More Fruits & Vegetables

20 Fun Ways To Get Kids To Eat More Fruits & Vegetables
Image: iStock

fruit pizza

Kids aren't exactly known for willingly eating vegetables. And while fruits are sometimes an easier sell, it's not the case with all kids. And we get it! When it comes to vegetables, many of the most healthful ones are slightly bitter, and kids' palates develop slowly to accommodate an interest in and desire for that bitter flavor. And that's not just our opinion, it's science! Food preferences have been demonstrated to change with age (and there's some evidence to suggest that taste preferences this way are also genetically linked). And when it comes to fruits, they can often be perceived as unexciting -- especially compared to other sweet treats, like candy bars and sugary cereals. But there are ways ways to get kids to eat their fruits and veggies -- ways that kids will actually like, rather than just put up with because they have to. 

Of course, we aren't the first to tackle this subject, and hopefully we won't be the last, since we always need new ways to veg-ify (that's a word, right? Let's pretend it's a word!) our kids' food. We thought this story, I Tried Sneaking Vegetables in My Kids' Food for a Week & Here's What Happened, was both absolutely hilarious and pretty insightful -- totally worth a read for anyone who's trying to get the kids to eat more hidden veggies. One classic strategy is to use spiralized veggies, which is a great method because using the spiralizer takes about 45 seconds, and if we can get kids to eat veggies just because they've been cut into strings, then yes, please. More sneaky is to use veggie purees in favorite foods, which we can't wait to try. Then there's hidden vegetable recipes designed around kids and yummy recipes that appeal to the kids' sense of taste -- some of these methods are bound to work. 

Beyond being sneaky, we've rounded up some other ways to get more fruits and vegetables into the kids each day to (hopefully) get them the nutrition they need without endless tears and tantrums.

  • Make Watermelon Fruit Pizza

    Make Watermelon Fruit Pizza

    We love this recipe for watermelon fruit pizza, which kids can make for themselves (after the watermelon's been sliced). It's a smart way to get kids to eat fruit and get some Greek yogurt in. For those with a serious sweet tooth, drizzle a little honey over top!

  • Balsamic-Marinated Portobello Pizzas Are Always a Hit

    Balsamic-Marinated Portobello Pizzas Are Always A Hit

    What can we say, kids love a pizza. These use portobello mushroom caps as a base instead of using a crust, which is perfect for moms because they're easy as heck, and works for kids because they're super-tasty personal pizzas!

  • Make a Healthy Version of Ranch Dip

    Make A Healthy Version of Ranch Dip

    Choose a Greek yogurt -- 0%, 2%, or full-fat, whichever is the best fit for the family's needs -- and simply mix it with powdered ranch mix, and there's a high-protein, low-carb way to make chopped veggies like carrots, celery, bell peppers, and sliced zucchini absolutely delicious (and kid-friendly).

  • Throw Some Finely Chopped Spinach into the Pasta Sauce

    Throw Some Finely-Chopped Spinach Into Their Favorite Pasta Sauce

    When spinach is chopped finely enough, it basically melts into the sauce -- kids can't taste it, and they get to have their favorite spaghetti night. Boost the veggie content even further by subbing out pasta for zucchini noodles.

  • Frozen Grapes Are a Great Summertime Treat

    Frozen Grapes Are A Great Summertime Treat

    These are the easiest treat for summer, and kids and adults love them because the grapes get so incredibly sweet in the freezer! They're also incredibly soothing and cooling. Only give to kids who are old enough to chew a whole grape and not choke on it!

  • Make Pizza Crusts Out of Cauliflower

    And Make Pizza Crusts Out Of Cauliflower

    For DIY pizza night, make cauliflower pizza crusts or buy them at the store. It's a healthy choice that adds some veggies -- and the pizza can be topped with extra veggies, too! This is a smart way to use up leftover veggies in the fridge that are about to go off. 

  • Make Sweet Potato Fries

    Make Sweet Potato Fries

    Yes, normally we'd say that fries aren't exactly what we mean when we're trying to get kids to eat more veggies. That said, baking thin-sliced sweet potato with a few sprays of avocado oil and some seasoning are fairly healthy. Check out this recipe.

  • Guacamole Is Awesome With Veggie Sticks

    Use Guacamole With Veggie Sticks

    Double down on the veggies by making a rich, indulgent guac -- all that's needed is a few ripe avocados, a lime, and some chopped garlic, if the kids are OK with garlic. Then, slice up some veggies and serve! 

  • One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream Is Mind-Blowing

    Banana Ice Cream Is Mind-Blowing -- And Is Seriously One Ingredient!

    We know, it sounds impossible, like something a total health food person says and nobody really believes, but just trust us: banana ice cream is real. We love it plain -- just a frozen banana pureed in the food processor -- but we also love healthy mix-ins, like cocoa powder, cinnamon, peanut butter... name it! 

  • Oven-Fried Parmesan Broccoli & Cauliflower Are So Delicious

    Oven-Fried Parmesan Broccoli and Cauliflower Are So Delicious

    We love this recipe for oven-fried Parmesan broccoli and cauliflower, which tastes really indulgent, but is actually super healthy. It's a sneaky way to get kids to eat their veggies -- and come back asking for more! 

  • Make Homemade Fruit Popsicles

    Make Homemade Fruit Popsicles

    Make homemade fruit popsicles and know exactly what's going into them -- just the healthy, fresh stuff, none of the preservatives! Plus, they're a fun treat to make at home with the kids -- it's an afternoon project to do with them.

  • Make Carrot Flowers

    Make Carrot Flowers

    Yes, these are a little extra, but the truth is, those gigantic carrots at the grocery are so much cheaper than the little baby ones, and they can be made into even more fun shapes with these veggie cutter stamps.

    Kotobuki Set of 6 Small Stainless Vegetable Cutters ($12, Amazon)

  • Make a Veggie-Filled Taco Night Happen

    Make a Veggie-Filled Taco Night Happen

    Kids love a good taco night, and tacos can be one way for them to enjoy eating some more veggies. Make some fajita veggies in a cast iron skillet (just slice and sear on high heat -- that's all there is to it!), chop some romaine or iceberg lettuce, offer olive slices from the jar, sliced tomatoes, onions, sauteed mushrooms ... whatever!

  • Fold Veggies Into Mac & Cheese

    Fold Veggies Into Mac And Cheese

    We don't know any kids who turn down mac and cheese for dinner, but it's not the healthiest option. This absolutely delicious roasted vegetable macaroni & cheese is creamy, lighter, and packed with veggies for a healthier twist. 

  • Create Magic Shell for Fruit

    Create Magic Shell For Fruit

    Buy some fresh berries and then make a DIY "magic shell" topping for them. This is a great recipe, but really, just melt chocolate with a little coconut oil for magic shell to happen -- the chocolate hardens onto cold fruit just like on ice cream! 

  • Serve Random Vegetables With Savory Peanut Butter Sauce

    Random Vegetables with Savory Peanut Butter Sauce

    This recipe for random vegetables with savory peanut butter sauce is a way to get kids and grown-ups to eat more veggies. Adjust the chili for people who aren't into spicy food, but use this as a baseline recipe. 

  • Go for a Smoothie

    Go For A Smoothie

    Combine fruits and veggies in a smoothie, like this wonderful kale pineapple healthy breakfast smoothie. Pineapple especially helps cut through the bitter taste of kale, and makes for a tasty breakfast treat. 

  • Bring Kids into the Kitchen

    Bring Kids Into The Kitchen

    Kids are way more likely to eat food they helped prepare -- there's just so much pride in getting to taste food they helped make! Bring them in and ask for assistance on veggie-heavy nights, give them some agency over the situation (ask them how much oregano they want to use, for example) and watch them eat plenty of veggies.

  • Pickle Some String Beans

    Pickle Some String Beans

    We absolutely love pickles, and so do kids. Unfortunately, cucumber pickles deliver little else than salt, nutritionally. But check out these pickled green beans: dilly beans, which kids can help make (it's a fun project!). 

  • Make a Yogurt Dip

    Make A Yogurt Dip

    For veggies, make a simple yogurt dip by combining a packet of ranch dressing mix or French onion soup mix with 0% Greek yogurt, and for sliced fruit, make an easy fruit dip with vanilla extract, honey, and 0% Greek yogurt. 

  • Pin It!

    Fun ways to eat more fruits & vegetables pinterest image

    Add this graphic to your Pinterest boards as a guide to help your kids eat more fruits and vegetables.

More Slideshows