food

A simple guide to get your kids eating veggies.

Yoplait
Thanks to our brand partner, Yoplait

Since making my foray into parenthood I have learned many practical skills. And it pains me that I can’t add any of them to my CV.

Honestly, mastering the art of distraction to seamlessly clip a wriggly one-year old into a pram or car seat? Surely that deserves some recognition?

Being able to breastfeed an infant while cooking dinner, unpacking the dishwasher and also fielding a two-and-a-half year-old’s questions about the sky/the green sheep/dinner/their hair/their bedtime? That level of multitasking takes time to hone.

You can add cleaning this mess up to your multi-tasking. Image via iStock.

Learning to surreptitiously hide all manner of vegetables in all manner of meals for little people to devour? I can’t even fake modesty here. It’s a talent I’m proud to have developed. (Though I have to tip my hat to Chrissie Swan because after reading her “secret vegetable lasagne” recipe I have to admit she’s nailing this challenge).

The reason stacking loads of vegetables into savoury dishes works a treat is because it tastes delicious. Grating zucchini, sweet potato and eggplant or dicing carrots and capsicum superfine doesn’t just turbocharge the veggie ratio of a dish; it ups the natural sweetness so it tastes heavenly.

And it ever so gradually expands the kids’ taste buds. I got them hooked on the taste of vegetables without them even knowing. And now as they’re getting older, I leave the chunks a bit bigger, and they know they like the taste.

A meal that gets a tick in the, “MY KIDS ATE VEGETABLES!” column in the parenting ledger and tastes yummy and expands their palette? That’s as good as it gets. A total trifecta. (That totally makes up for any parenting misdemeanours like saying yes to a third episode of Peppa Pig or letting the kids accidentally paint the outdoor table during craft time.)

"There isn’t enough time in the world for dicing and hiding veges into everything they eat." Image via iStock.
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Obviously, though, not every meal or snack I make our girls gets this tick. There isn’t enough time in the world for dicing and hiding veges into everything they eat.

But my love of hidden veggies and my love of convenient and nutritious snacks is the reason Yoplait’s new Petit Miam yoghurt flavours jumped out at me. Sweet potato and pear? Pumpkin and apple? Beetroot and strawberry? Sweet potato and guava? Delicious. Seriously delicious. And they’re expanding the girls’ palettes without them even knowing.

It comes in a squeezie pouch, it’s stacked with extra calcium and Vitamin D, it’s free from artificial flavours, colours and preservatives and best of all, the girls love them.

Freezing it overnight before popping it into our 5 year old’s school lunchbox? A cool, delicious win on all fronts. She loves her ‘morning tea’ and we love knowing that she’s devouring a supercharged snack.

"Freezing it overnight before popping it into our 5 year old’s school lunchbox? A cool, delicious win on all fronts." Image via iStock.

My other tried and tested technique to expand the kids’ taste buds less surreptitiously is this. Our girls are far more likely to eat something they have served or picked themselves than if we’ve put it on their plate and put it in front of them.

They will hoe into a basic salad platter to go with wraps or tacos and eat it simply because they LOVE serving themselves and picking what they like. You can’t underestimate the novelty factor for little people who want to be involved.

If I put a few sticks of carrot, cucumber and capsicum in front of them while I finish getting their hot food ready, they will jump in and start nibbling.

How do you persuade your children to eat a little adventurously?