9 Ways to Trick your Children into Eating Fruits and Vegetables

Yulia OnosovskayaBag O' Tricks

“I’m so hungry – can I have some chocolate?”

We all know that it’s important to provide a balanced diet for our children, but sometimes we run out of creative ways to convince them to try new things and especially things they don’t like. Healthy eating habits are formed in early childhood. Find a way to make them like those peas or lentils and they will not choose French Fries over other dishes as adults. In winter, particularly, we all need some extra-vitamins and minerals that are found in fruits and veggies.

Why do kids often not like fruits and vegetables?

People are born with their own tastes, and some kids can actually ask for chicory or salad (true story) provided they see the adults eating them. However, often little kids are skeptical about fruits and veggies. In fact, they are skeptical about everything they are not used to – which, can be almost everything. After eating milk and then purees or similar, the bright colors of some fruits and veggies can seem very unusual to them. This may be one of the reasons children are generally reluctant to try those products.

Here is a list of tricks to attract children to eat fruits and veggies - maybe one or two of them will be ones you haven’t already thought of – or maybe some can work just for your kid.


  1. Choose Beautiful Fruits

This may sound a little obvious, but if adults eat with their eyes, children do even more so. A shiny even classic shaped apple (like in Snow White) surely has more chance of attracting your little one than an unequally formed half red and half white strawberry which could actually be the tastiest. Of course, this is more difficult to apply to cooked vegetables, but they should definitely have no black points and all the slices should be as equal as possible.

2. Make Them Easy to Find

When hungry, we sometimes just grab whatever is the easiest to find and often this can be sweets or cookies. However, if there are apples or oranges on display and they are easy to reach, there is a greater possibility that children choose them. Peeling and pre-cutting veggies like cucumbers or carrots could increase their consumption in your house. They are crunchy and juicy and in addition, carrots are even a little sweet so there is some hope!

3. Let Them Choose their Veggies

Involvement may work. If you get your kids to go shopping with you and ask them to choose some fruits or veggies to eat later, participation in this process of choice/decision making can make it more interesting and attractive for them. Thus, they are much more likely to eat the products they bought “themselves”. They may for a while choose the same fruits or veggies, but it’s worth it if it makes them eat more of these.

4. Prepare Them Together!

The same principle can be applied at the cooking stage. Even smaller kids can be given simple tasks like “cutting” bananas with a spoon or washing tomatoes or spinach in a bowl of water. This approach helps them to get used to helping around the house and also gets them more interested in eating healthy food.

5. Gardening

As in the above example, it surely works best if they can dig, plant and then gather their own little carrots or tomatoes. This of course is time-consuming and needs resources that may not be available (like a garden or warm weather) but it can be a great experience for your little ones. It will surely boost their interest in nature and natural food.

6. Set an Example

Maybe this should be rule number 1. It’s true that children will follow your example, not your advice. One can say a lot about how healthy fruits and veggies are, but if the parents don’t really eat them it’s likely their children would refuse to do so as well.

7. Use Sauces

Sometimes kids just don’t like the taste of raw fruits and veggies. If you make a fruit salad with yoghurt and a little bit of honey, it will have a completely different taste and texture, which kids may just like. You can also use a moderate amount of peanut butter to encourage your kids to eat some fruits or veggies they usually avoid (only if you are sure that your child is not allergic to peanuts, of course).

8. Hide it

In particularly hard cases, you can make fruits and veggies look like something else. A fruit or vegetable puree is the most obvious choice. Vegetable puree can appear more attractive if presented as a sauce for spaghetti. Pizza can have some veggies masked amongst the cheese and salami. A smoothie is a great way to hide some fruits in a healthy and pleasant drink that seems almost like ice-cream. There is always a possibility of adding some fruits into a muffin or a pancake.

9. Make it Look Cool

If you have time and inspiration, you can make your kids plate look like a little picture. There are tons of ideas online and some moms get really creative (and even famous) there. There is no guarantee that your little one won’t add an explosive theme to your masterpiece but at least you can have a cool photo for your Instagram! 😀