How Do I Get My Child to Eat Veggies?

A San Francisco chef provides some good ideas to work with kids, and gives other good cooking advice.


(Editor's Note: What follows is information sent to Patch by Chef Phoebe Schilla, owner of a San Francisco cooking studio.) 

Thanks to new cafeteria regulations, our nation’s children will be eating healthier meals at school including more fruit, whole grains and vegetables. But how do we get our kids to eat more veggies and healthier options at home?

San Francisco Chef Phoebe Schilla – mother of two and owner of the Studio of Good Living – shares invaluable tips for getting kids to eat their veggies and preparing healthy, quick-fix meals and snacks while having fun with the family in the kitchen. She’s even available via Skype for more personalized dietary and nutrition counseling. Here come the tips:

How to get your kids to eat veggies: 

1. Lead by example – if you don't eat spinach, neither will the kids!

2. Talk to them about shapes/colors/flavors of different vegetables and how/where they grow.

3. Bring them to the farmer's market and let them choose a vegetable or two that they would like to try.

4. Invite them into the kitchen to help prepare the vegetables they picked out. Have fun cooking veggies by treating it like a science experiment: try roasting, mashing and steaming for different textures and discuss how changing the cooking method changes the flavor and texture of each veggie.

How to prepare healthy, quick-fix meals: 

1. Plan ahead! Wash, chop, and portion vegetables once or twice a week instead of as needed.

2. Keep the pantry well stocked with pasta, rice, beans, etc. 

3. Keep 'family favorites' and/or 'frequent use' recipes within easy reach to save time from scouring cookbooks.

4. Keep knives sharp. It takes a lot less effort to prep meals, especially veggies, with a sharp knife. A sharp knife is also safer than a dull one.

5. Start a love affair with your rice cooker. Simply plug it in, measure out the rice/liquid, press a button and presto! – enjoy perfectly cooked rice every time. While the rice is cooking, sauté a chicken breast or two and steam some pre-portioned and prepped veggies.

Healthy snacks on the go: Spring Rolls, Pre-cut Carrots/Celery with Almond Butter, Sweet Potato Slices, Hummus and Pita Roll Ups, Nori, Kale Chips, Yogurt, Cheese Sticks, etc.

About The Studio of Good Living

The Studio of Good Living was founded in San Francisco in 2005 by Schilla as a way to blend her passion for cooking and wellness with her natural affinity for teaching. An accomplished professional chef who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France and received her degree from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Schilla designed the Studio of Good Living for today’s lifestyle savvy people who are seeking ways to bring balance back into their hectic daily lives.

For more information or to sign up for Studio of Good Living classes, please visit www.StudioOfGoodLiving.com.

David H. Perez August 27, 2012 at 03:38 PM
This article makes some great suggestions for families. I think the reason I grew up to be a fruit and veggie lover is because that was the type of food my parents ate and that is what I was raised on - not convenience food or fast food. Healthy food was all that was available in our house, and was really all I knew. My parents both worked full time, managed several rental properties and raised two children, but despite how busy they were, we always had healthy food and healthy meals. We also sat down and ate dinner together as a family every night.
David H. Perez August 27, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Jennifer, I think we can forgive you for the pastry part - it sounds delicious!
Larry Arzie August 27, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I loved all vegetables as a child. My brother would slip me his and pay me a nickel to eat them rather than sit for hours before bedtime as punishment for not eating them. Seriously, vegetables can be grated finely and served as a slaw or mixed with tuna for a sandwich. Carrots should always be cooked so forget them unless you par boil first. My mother added raisons and pineapple with dressing to them. Mix rated celery or carrots etc into jello, ground them into the meatloaf etc. A pound of mushrooms added to ground turkey actually tastes like hamburger which can be turned into meatloaf or sloppy Joe. Get inventive. Mix sweet cabbage with mashed potatoes (very common). Mixed creamed corn with egg noodles. Add spinach or chard, etc, to the scrambled eggs.
Cathy P. August 27, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I always add grated carrots & zucchini to my turkey meatloaf or ground turkey stuffed peppers. You never even know they're there!!!
patricia August 27, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Provide mini zip lock bags of carrots and add a little cup of ranch dressing. Forget the Rice cooker.......18 mins in a tupperware bowl w/pop open lid top and let it set for another 10 or so. Perfect rice every time.


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