Getting the children to eat veg

by Veronica

Some say getting their children to eat vegetables is not luck; they say it is their own wonderful parenting. OK Well done you, for being so perfect ;but it isn't always that easy.

If your children eat lots of vegetables and ask for more then this is not for you. Sometimes even with the very best intentions and following the best advice to the letter, some children will just downright refuse the healthy option. Medical advisers who give various ridiculous ideas about encouraging them have obviously never gone through it. Yes your child WILL sit and stare at the plate with their lips shut tight for ages. And despite saying that you will never use the promise of a dessert if they eat their greens, some children will say they don't want a dessert if they have to eat sprouts to get one.

I have put grated carrots inside a spoonful of mashed potatoes and fed it to my eldest son as a baby. Somehow, the mashed potato went down and the carrot was spat out. I have disguised roasted parsnips as roast potatoes, the parsnips were left on the plate. I have put some pasta on a spoon in front of some braised spinach behind it so they would see the pasta first. The pasta went in the mouth but the spinach didn't make it even that far!

So, what do we do to keep our children healthy and on a balanced diet.

Apart from the above, which never worked for mine, here's just a few PRACTICAL and actually TRIED ideas that I have used with my sons, grandson and young pupils in my classes. Me someone who has used these in practice and found them effective, not an adviser who has never tried it.

Veronica's own /LIDL
Veronica's lunch

Eat Your Face

Of course grating veg to hide in stews is a good idea and often "fools " them into eating vegetables but really we want to encourage them to eat vegetables for their own sake. It also helps to put something on the plate that they do like. My oldest loved baby tomatoes so I always put them on his plate so he would make a start. If they eat Salad all the better.


This is an activity that I have done with my sons and several years as  teacher of 5 year old children.

 It is called ; " Eat your Face "

You need a circle of greaseproof paper and a large selection of colourful vegetables, with one or two that your child will   actually eat, if possible. Add some fruits too if it tempts them to start the plate.

Lay the circle of paper on the table and let your child choose what to use for their hair, eyes,  ears nose, mouth, teeth .

When they have finished making this, it is "eat your face"  time. What will you eat first? It is almost always their nose. I have used here as a demo, celery leaves , blackberries, tomatoes, courgette ( zucchini ) and sweetcorn. In school doing this activity, even the faddiest eater would have a try when faced with a face they themselves have chosen and made. Even better if they "eat your face " from your own example. Great fun!

Eat Your Face. Kids enjoy the activity !
Eat Your Face. Kids enjoy the activity !
Veronica's (not my own face though! )

My grandson eats this, blissfully unaware he is having cheese and courgettes. Protein, wholemeal and veg all together!


Courgette ( Zucchini ) and Cottage Cheese Loaf


2 ozs Courgettes grated and patted dry

4 ozs Cottage cheese drained

3 tbsp. bulgar/cracked wheat

2 fl ozs water

2tbsp butter

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp. sugar

4 ozs wholemeal flour

5 ozs bread flour

1 satchet of dried yeast



Drain the cottage cheese through a sieve , pat the courgettes dry with kitchen paper

mix the flours, rub in the butter then add all the ingredients

Knead until smooth and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Knock the risen dough back down.

Knead and leave to rise a second time for 30 minutes

knock back the risen dough  back down and shape into the shape of loaf you want

Cook on 180C for about 35 minutes depending on your oven



courgettes/zucchini Oaklands
courgettes/zucchini Oaklands
Veronica's photo at LIDL

Homemade Soup

A meal in itself.

Home made soups are ideal for getting vegetables, hidden or unhidden into your children and soups are so easy to make.


Homemade Soup ( 2 people , a goodly portion)


1 pint of stock vegetable or chicken

seasoning to your personal taste

1lb chopped vegetables of your choice. (Carrots and squash give a great colour and texture )


Boil the vegetables in the stock until soft and for a smooth soup blend it until smooth, For  chunky hearty soup leave the vegetables roughly chopped if your child will eat them .

If the soup is too thick add a splash of milk to thin it slightly.

carrots give colour
carrots give colour
Veronica's photo. LIDL
Aubergine / egg plant
Aubergine / egg plant
Veronica's own / LIDL
the peas fitted well into the pasta tubes
the peas fitted well into the pasta tubes

New Sept 2016

The British Bake off winner has published a book  "Bake me a story " by Nadiya . I bought it yesterday. It is a lovely book full of child friendly recipes some of which contain fruit and vegetables.

I am looking forward to trying things like French Apple tart, pea and mint risotto,pumpkin flapjacks, carrot and nutmeg cookies with the children.

Christmas dinner fruit and vegetables Dec 2016 addition

I came across this charming idea to get children to eat fruit at Christmas.

Strawberry Santas

Strawberries with the leaf cut off

Whipped Cream


Chop the top of the strawberry off and put a blob of  cream on to look like hair and a beard then replace the top to look like a hat.

That's it !


Peas with bacon

Chop some rashes into little pieces and fry over gently

Boil some peas and drain hen stir in the bacon bits.



2019 addition

Minestrone soup

I have started making this for the grandchildren and the 2 year old ate three small bowls of it last week. The 6 year old ate 2 average bowls full.  Cabbage, courgettes (zucchini), peas, carrots, tomatoes, celery … We were astonished!

My Minestrone Soup 

I jar of passata 

The same jar filled with water

2 vegetable stock pots 

shredded cabbage

diced courgettes

dried onions 


diced carrots

chopped celery 

dried basil and oregano 

two handfuls of cooked pasta 


Cook the pasta  and meanwhile …… 

Empty the jar of passata into the pan and then fill the bottle with water and add to the pan . Add seasoning and stock pots/ cubes.

Add all the carrots and celery and cook for about 15 minutes.

Add the cabbage, courgettes and dried onions. Cook for about 2 minutes ) 

Drain pasta and add to the soup.

Add peas just before serving. 

Do not pulse this soup. Serve chunky. 


May 2022

Someone gave me a good idea today and I tried it out tonight. To get children to eat broccoli, pulverise it in the blender with no water then add it to a spaghetti ragu.  It is unnoticeable. 

Updated: 05/23/2022, Veronica
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Veronica on 05/23/2022

May 2022
Today, I was given an idea for disguising broccoli so children will not know they have eaten it. Absolutely pulverise it in to smithereens in a blender and add it to spaghetti ragu just before the end of cooking.

Veronica on 03/15/2022

CHRISTMAS EVE is a very important day in our family calendar. There are a fair - few of us in our loving, supportive family of happy eaters. 😊

frankbeswick on 03/15/2022

Yes,you made a fine spread, and you looked after me very weĺl.

Veronica on 03/14/2022


I made a Christmas Yule log Dec 2021 for when my lot descended on Christmas Eve , only 22 + for lunch . It was a wonderful dessert and I shall make it again next Christmas.

DerdriuMarriner on 03/14/2022

I've finished re-reading all your Wizzleys. So now it's on to re-reading all your Big Brother's wizzleys.

But I just wanted to let you know that I used your strawberry Santa idea for the Christmas seasons 2017, 2018, 2019, to go as edible table decorations with the Christmas yule log that my brother, Charles, made. They were so happy-colored and happy-looking and such fun to eat!

Veronica on 03/30/2019

March 2019

Last week I made a chunky minestrone for soup and the children ate bowls of it ! I have added it above as another way of helping to get the children to eat vegetables.
I hope yours enjoy it.

Veronica on 08/02/2018

July 2018 update

I have a new little spiraliser which makes courgettes, carrots, …. vegetables look like spaghetti . I have tried courgetti this evening. I like it and I am going to try it on the grandchildren. Watch this space ! Spiralising vegetables may be a good way to get them to eat vegetables.

Veronica on 09/02/2017

Please please do use it. I have used this in a classroom of five year olds when teaching them about healthy eating and also with my own grandchildren.

Any fruits and vegetables can be used and I find that if the child chooses some fruits and salad items they will " eat their nose ... ears ...etc ..."

DerdriuMarriner on 09/02/2017

Veronica, Have you ever been in the middle of a picnic with kids, teens and college students shooting peas through pasta tubes?! May I use your "eat your face" blackberry, celery leaf, courgette, sweet corn and tomato arrangement to serve on vegetable plates this Thanksgiving? It ranks as super-adorable, and super-photogenic, for all ages.

Veronica on 12/16/2016

I have added "Strawberry Santas " to the page to encourage the children to eat fruit over Christmas.
I saw this in a picture and thought what a good idea it was.
There is an easy pea and bacon idea too that children usually like.

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