Let your child choose one of two options–and get his input prior to prepping the meal. (How easy is that?!) A recent Dutch study found that kids appreciated getting the chance to pick a veggie before dinner. In fact, researchers found that “reactive” kids–those who tend to push back or get mad at parental restrictions–ate fewer veggies if they weren’t permitted a say in their food lineup; worse, these guys turned up their noses at vegetables they liked if they were just deposited on their plates.
Offer up vegetables as appetizers! “I’ll often put out carrots and low-fat dip while I’m making dinner or waiting for the pizza to arrive,” says Kerry Neville, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “You’d be amazed at how many vegetables kids will eat this way. The key is not to say anything about it–because that’s when they get resistant. But if the veggies are just there, kids will walk by, see food, and grab a bite–especially pre-dinner, when they’ve got the munchies and are more open to eating, well, anything.”