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.

Updated: 09/29/2016, Veronica
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Veronica 25 days ago

I have put a new entry above for getting the children to eat fruit and veg. Although this is not exclusively about fruit and vegetables this new book combines story telling and recipes that will make it appealing to children.

Veronica on 04/05/2016

This was an unexpected bonus. On a day out with our grandson today, his mum ordered him some cheesy pasta with peas which he refused until he noticed that the peas would go into the pasta tubes. He started to put peas into the tubes which was good fun. And then he started eating his lunch because the peas were in the tubes.

So here is ANOTHER way to get them to eat their vegetables if they are reluctant. Put the food into pasta tubes!

Picture above.

Veronica on 08/25/2015

NO probs. Glad you like it.

It does work, even if they don't eat all the plate, the chances are they will try some of it .

The Wizzley community seem to have taken the idea anyway !
xx take care V xx

CruiseReady on 08/25/2015

Sorry. That should read 'real smile'. I should be more careful of typos!

CruiseReady on 08/25/2015

Well, I got a ream smile out of that 'Eat Your Face' idea. How inventive you are!

Veronica on 08/24/2015

Wow TY Shraddha.

Kichdi sounds wonderful and I respectfully ask that you post the recipe please. I love vegetable samosas and always choose them when I am eating at an Asian curry house. I am making a curried cauliflower and beetroot recipe here for dinner tomorrow. Indian food and Greek food are my favourite foods.

Regarding the face, I used to teach my 5 year olds a topic on healthy eating but as I worked in a very very poor area the children did not have much access to fruit and vegetables other than their free school meals. So I found lots of ways including setting up a little " fruit and veg " shop as a play area where they "bought " items. At the end of the topic we used to " eat the face " Soon the whole school wanted to join in as pupils remembered it from former years being in my class.

WriterArtist on 08/24/2015

Indians love vegetarian food and since I am an Indian I find it difficult to understand why it is not a favourite food for so many people in the world. I love veggies and there are several methods to prepare them in curries and salads. Perhaps you can try making Indian vegetable curry. Another way of using the vegetables is in "Kichdi", it is a popular Bengali dish prepared with lentils and rice. It tastes great with pumpkin, raw banana and other veggies. It is served hot with Indian ghee.

I loved the way you inspire your kids and grand kids to eat the "Face". It is a delicious idea and I can see that in all probability; it will work, there are no chances of it failing.

Veronica on 08/22/2015

It is just another layer in the lasagne and the boys never noticed the spinach in it when it was layered with ragu and pasta and white sauce. Layered pasta dishes are definitely another way to get veg into the kids! Even though the boys have left home, we still use spinach in our pasta layer dishes. The boys were eating spinach in pasta dishes from being about 16 months old.

I have come up with so many ways over the years to get veg into kids.

If you get some puff/ flaky pastry about 8 inch square put a layer of part cooked spinach onto it and some salmon. fold the top half over to make a parcel rectangle. seal the edges and bake for about 20 mins according to your oven . can be eaten hot or cold.

frankbeswick on 08/22/2015

My parents told me that the one vegetable I would not eat as a child was spinach. Nowadays I cannot see why not, as I find it quite pleasant.

Mira on 08/22/2015

Yummm My mouth is watering. I'm eating spinach and salmon quiches in town but they only have them at this one place, and they're not good enough. I've had better elsewhere. Now you are tempting me to make my own. I've made similar pastries in the past with various veggies, and I like them. Unfortunately I'm not cooking much these days (lack of time not only to cook but to get all the various ingredients I need for the many dishes I'd like to cook). I miss it so much!! Lasagne with spinach is also a great idea.

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