Creative Ways to Get Them To Eat Their Peas and Carrots

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Creative Ways to Get Them To Eat Their Peas and Carrots
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Children are not born with a natural disposition to loath vegetables, according to Yvonne Syto, registered dietitian and author of "Nutrition Map: Your Guide to Eating Healthy in the Real World." In reality, toddlers generally like vegetables until they're introduced to fruits and sweets. It may not be easy, but it is possible to reignite your kids' enthusiasm for veggies at any age.

Grow Your Own Garden
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Grow Your Own Garden

Get your kids excited about the food they eat by enlisting their help in the garden. "We planted a huge garden, and they each had their own colander," says Antoinette Kuritz, a public relations specialist and avid family gardener. "For each meal, they went outside and picked the veggie they wanted, picked how much they were prepared to eat, washed and drained it, and put it on their plates." If you don't have space for a garden, head to a farmers' market.

Related: Hidden Vegetables for Picky Eaters

Get Hip With Dip
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Get Hip With Dip

"Kids love dipping things," says Claire Criscuolo, owner of Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven, Connecticut. The key is choosing a healthy dip. "You are not helping your children by getting them to eat vegetables covered in full-fat ranch dressing," says Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, author of "Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right." Instead, try a small amount of low-fat ranch dressing or -- even better -- heart-healthy guacamole or hummus.

Start at the Store
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Start at the Store

Take your child to the grocery store and buy vegetables together. "Let your child participate in selecting the foods for the meal. Given the choice, they will try things you won't ever expect them to. And when they choose it, they'll usually eat it," says Criscuolo.

Change Up Your Chips
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Change Up Your Chips

Pass up the salty potato chips in favor of baked kale chips. "They are shockingly delicious and provide the same satisfaction of potato chips without all the excess calories," says Lisa Suriano, nutritionist and founder of The Veggiecation Program. "It's a great way to replace junk food with a hearty vegetable."

Be Sneaky With Spinach
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Be Sneaky With Spinach

Pump up your child's smoothie with secret vegetable power. "A handful of kale or spinach will blend in fine and without any taste inside of a yogurt smoothie with banana," Suriano said. "Or add some beets to your blueberry smoothie -- it's a very nutritious and delicious on-the-go drink."

Have (Healthy) Breakfast for Dinner
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Have (Healthy) Breakfast for Dinner

"When I was a kid, I would love to have breakfast for dinner," says celebrity chef Wade Williams, owner of Picnic Inc., a Los Angeles catering company. "The smell of country sausage, eggs and pancakes still makes me giddy like a child, but nowadays I like to make it with a twist and keep it healthy, because you have to watch that figure." Williams suggests incorporating spinach, mushrooms and other veggies into their favorite omelet and substituting low-fat turkey bacon for regular bacon.

Related: What's for Dinner? Breakfast

Choose Your Own (Food) Adventure
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Choose Your Own (Food) Adventure

Let them be their own boss. "As a parent you can say, 'You need to eat a green vegetable or an orange vegetable or a colorful fruit.' Then let them pick which one," says Criscuolo. The special mission can get children excited about eating their veggies.

Have Fun with Finger Foods
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Have Fun with Finger Foods

Foods like pizza and tacos that rely heavily on toppings are perfect for tiny fingers and wannabe chefs. Buy pre-made dough or taco shells, set up a prep station, and let the kids build their own entrees. You choose the healthy vegetable toppings, and they make edible artwork. It's a win-win.

Make a "Palette Passport"
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Make a "Palette Passport"

You don't need a passport or an airplane for edible adventures. Make it a game -- complete with handmade "Passports" to different countries and cuisines -- and you could get your child excited about geography as well as healthy food. Have your child fill up a "passport" with veggies from all over the world.

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