Kicking the Sugar habit Week #2 or how to get your kids to eat vegetables

Do you worry about the amount of vegetables your kids are eating or not eating ? I do…especially my toddler, Conor, who will quite happily eat the meat but leave everything else.  We all know we should include 2 fruit and 5 vegetables in our diet every day, but in practice this is really much harder to do and we are left wondering how to get the kids to eat vegetables.  Read on for some tips on getting the kids to eat vegetables.

We are at the end of Week 2 of our family’s withdrawal from fructose. Last week was all about selling the idea to the kids and so in a lot of my cooking I just replaced the fructose (cane sugar) with dextrose or plain glucose with good results, in that none of us felt too sugar deprived. Some things that worked were chocolate custard, sorbet (adapted from EDC Thermomix book) and jaffa cookies (from the Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie)

What was difficult was that we did some school holiday stuff and of course sugar was everywhere…ice cream at Hillarys Boat Harbour, chocolate at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory and nougat at Mondo Nougat.  We decided to go with a little rather than none and the interesting thing was the food tasted TOO sweet…already our bodies are changing and adapting.  This was really positive for us as it validates what we are doing.

So, this week we have had a closer look at the food we are putting on the table, with a view to increasing the quantity of vegetables we are all eating. The kids are great at eating fruit, but vegetables are not so popular. After some surfing on the net I have found there are several different ideas including:

  1. Rewarding your kids for eating their veges New research has shown that rewarding through either praise or a tangible reward like a sticker can help develop a lifetime habit of eating vegetables.
  2. Avoid forcing your children to eat vegetables – or any other food for that matter. Encourage children to try a spoonful, but don’t get upset if they refuse it. Eventually, they will try it, so keep reintroducing various foods from time to time. When I was growing up we never had to finish anything if we didn’t like it, but had to have mouthful or two and then we could leave it, provided we didn’t make comments about it like “Yukky carrots!”
  3. Involving your kids in food preparation.  When my son Kieran was little, he used to stand at the counter (on a stool) while I prepared dinner.  He would often eat carrots, cucumber and tomatoes while I prepared a salad, but not if they were on his plate! I figured at least he was eating them. As he grew older he continues to eat those foods.
  4. Over the years  I  have also become really great at hiding vegetables in food. Some ideas for this include :
  • Add grated carrot to mince and anything else you can sneak past the kids.  Zucchini is also a good one for this. I have even got my kids to eat Zucchini Brownies in the past (I will add recipe once I convert it.)
  • Add vegetables to mashed potato. Often the kids will eat vegetables mashed that they would not eat otherwise.  A food processor or Thermomix makes this really easy…just process cooked veges for about 30 seconds and mix through mashed potato.
  • The Raising Children network also recommend the following ideas fo kids who regularly reject veges…

If your child rejects a lot of vegetables, try slipping them into food by:

  • making muffins with your child and adding pumpkin, zucchini or shredded carrots to the muffin mix
  • tucking in a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice or carrot curls into sandwiches
  • adding chopped spinach or a handful of frozen vegetables to soups, ramen noodles, spaghetti sauce or lasagna
  • adding chopped tomato or grated carrots to tuna, chicken or pasta salads
  • cooking frozen mixed vegetables according to the directions and then adding them to store-bought potato salad
  • making pizza with your child and adding chopped broccoli or spinach to frozen pizza or frozen bread dough topped with tomato sauce
  • adding chopped broccoli or extra carrots to canned or dried chicken soup.

Our favourite idea for this week (and one which has always been popular with my kids) is making

Vege Pikelets

vege pancakes


2 cups S.R. flour (I often use wholemeal or Spelt flour)

4-5 cups cooked mashed vegetables…frozen veges work fine but cook first

1 egg

Salt, pepper, herbs to season

1/4 cup milk


  1. Cook vegetables and mash (either by hand or using a food processor).
  2. Stir in flour and seasoning
  3. Whisk milk and egg together, then add to vegetable mixture, whisking until smooth.
  4. Heat a non-stick frypan over medium heat and brush with a little melted butter. Drop level tablespoonfuls of the mixture into the pan and cook for half a minute or until bubbles appear on the surface.
  5. Turn over and cook other side for 1 minute until golden.

Serve with tomato salsa (if store-bought check sugar content as can be quite high), sour cream, natural yoghurt or even plain. These make a great lunch box snack, but also freeze well and easily reheat to be added to a little ones meal as a serve of vegetables…..shhh they’ll never know!

Please share your great vegetable rich recipes in the comment section below or email to me – and I will include in Recipe section of this blog.




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