Veggie Victories: Making Healthy Eating Fun

Creative ways to encourage your kids to eat healthy


6/5/20234 min read

My kids are pretty good eaters. I consider myself lucky, some kids are pickier than others. BUT we also did everything we could to encourage them to eat everything. Raising adventurous eaters was important to us. My partner really really enjoys his food. He would be very disappointed if our kids did not enjoy with him. It's important to me that my kids eat healthy: fuel their body, minds, healthy poops, all the good stuff. I didn't want to chase them around my home begging them to eat an asparagus (I still do sometimes, not going to lie).

I've worked with kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder with food sensitivity; it's not easy. It was a struggle to get one client to eat a fried French fry, swimming in ketchup. I also have adult friends who are incredibly picky and I don't understand - eating a variety of foods is just more exciting. I really wanted my kids to enjoy their veggies. They do. They love broccoli, carrots, bok choy, asparagus, peas and are (usually) willing to try new foods. I'm pretty happy.

How did we get there?

Make it Fun

Feed the toys. Play with your Food. Make food art. Make scenes out of food and get excited about it when you show your kids (it doesn't have to look like the masterpieces you see on Instagram, I promise). Let them help set it up.

Let them feed you the healthy food first and share how much you enjoy it. Let them fly it like an airplane into your mouth. "That is delicious! salty and crunchy! Thank you for feeding me!"

Get silly. Make it a game. Try to throw it in their mouth. Be creative and have fun with your kids.
Make healthy eating a positive experience.

several pineapples at a party
several pineapples at a party

Make it Social

Eat together. Show them how much you enjoy your veggies (even if you don't). Talk about it. I say how much I love my veggies and I feel healthy and strong after I eat them.

Eating anything is better with a good friend. Eat with friends who eat healthy.
My daughter's friend has a brilliant mother who steamed asparagus and wrapped the bottom with a little tissue like an ice cream cone. They LOVED it. We called asparagus "Cal's favourite" for the next year and she would eat asparagus every meal.

woman in white tank top holding white ceramic bowl
woman in white tank top holding white ceramic bowl

Let them Help

My kids love helping to choose, buy, wash, prep, sort, cut food. They are more likely to eat it as well. They help with cutting mushrooms, sorting beans, cracking eggs.

We have an egg drop on the ground every now and then but it's worth it because they're more willing to eat something they helped to make.

Favourites: throwing fruit and veggies into the blender for smoothies or popsicles, creating cucumber characters or carrot and pea boats with toothpicks, and feeding younger brother healthy foods playfully.

girl holding two eggs while putting it on her eyes
girl holding two eggs while putting it on her eyes


My daughter cries every time she passes a hard poop; she HATED it. I took advantage of this moment. After comforting her from her horror, she collected herself. We found some food and I shared how fibrous foods (like leafy green veggies, oatmeal, whole grains) will help make soft poop. We celebrated foods for their ability to create soft poops for awhile after that. It worked.
"YAY soft poops!"

We read books about the body, which have pictures and education about the benefits of healthy eating, how it gives energy, promotes thinking, helps digestion, gives us energy to play and do the things we love.

We were a Peppa Pig house for awhile. Watching the vegetables on Peppa Pig sing the *Fruits and Vegetables* song was a winner. My favourite song. We still sing it today.
"Fruits and Vegetables keep you alive, always remember to eat your five"

green vegetables on clear glass pitcher
green vegetables on clear glass pitcher

Offer Rewards

Try using the "first-then" strategy to encourage your child to try something non-preferred or new. "First have one bite of asparagus and then you can have one bite of ice cream". Make sure the reward is worth it for them to try the non-preferred healthy food, especially if you know they really really don't like it.

Use fun motivational tools such as check-marks or star charts to encourage healthy eating and a reward at the end if they are able to eat the pre-determined amount. My kids would earn check-marks (one for every bite of healthy non-preferred food) and after earning 5, they could choose their reward (i.e. watching a favourite video on the phone). This helps the child see that the expectation is achievable and they see their progress as they work towards their reward. This can be less intimidating than seeing an entire plate of Brussel sprouts and being asked to eat it all.

Providing choices can be helpful, "do you want to eat the broccoli or carrot?" They get to choose which healthy food to eat. Remember to reinforce them with praise and rewards, celebrate success!!!

Favourite: my daughter likes doing a star chart for Daddy to encourage him to eat his salad !

sundae in clear plastic cup
sundae in clear plastic cup

What works for you?

There are a million ways to encourage healthy eating.
There is not one right way to do it.

Sometimes a strategy will work, sometimes it won't. I pick my battles. Some days, I simply can't do it, "not today". I turn on the TV and feed them their veggies as they watch mindless videos. I try to let go of that guilt and keep trekking along in a temporary survival-mode.
Try, fail, try again tomorrow.

There's no use in beating yourself up if a strategy doesn't work, don't give up, keep trying,
take a breath,

You're doing a great job!

orange and white plastic egg toy
orange and white plastic egg toy