As one of the most important routines in the day, dinner can also be one of the most challenging for time-poor parents and fussy eaters. Accredited nutritionist and HelloFresh Head of Culinary, Hannah Gilbert, shares her top tips to get even the fussiest eaters to enjoy veggies at dinner time.
A Cinderella story.
If you have young children, try telling a story at dinner. Shiny red apples were suddenly more appealing when you considered their power in Snow White. Jack and the Beanstalk persuaded me to try beans as kid, even if it was only so I could weed out a magical one. Inject a bit of imagination into vegetables and you’d be surprised at the appeal they may start to hold for your children.
Now watch me dip.
Swap out crackers for carrot and cucumber sticks or snow peas for a nutritious snack with dip. There are plenty of delicious varieties of hummus, beetroot and spinach-based dips that can help you sneak in even more nutrition under their little noses.
Serve up salad on the table, on the reg.
The opposite of hiding in plain sight, always have a big bowl of yummy salad on the table. It gets kids used to the idea of veggies as being fundamental to every meal, and if you put it out 10 minutes before dinner is ready, they might even start picking at it!
The “try it” rule.
Make a new house rule. Everyone in the house – kids and adults – must have at least one significant bite of something, even if it’s not their favourite. Don’t get discouraged if your child doesn’t like it the first, second or even the ninth time; practice makes perfect! More competitive kids may even be spurred on to take a shine to eggplant before their siblings do.
Practice what you preach.
There’s just no getting around it: if you enjoy vegetables sincerely, it will rub off on your kids. Instead of making the meat the hero of every dish, try making veggies shine in a meal once a week – rather than just a side. Although hiding them may seem to be the answer, making them seem just as exciting as other food, can be just as effective.