How to get a kid to eat her carrots

My younger daughter is almost 4, but getting her to eat her carrots is still sometimes a battle. She’ll eat most other vegetables–sweet peppers, broccoli, even olives–with gusto. But carrots are a little, well, challenging. Maybe it’s because her teeth came in very late, and she never really liked to chew as a baby?

For whatever reason, we sometimes have to come up with clever ways to get her to eat her raw carrots. Today, I tried the ‘crunch contest’. Each contestant sits at the table, and chooses a piece of carrot. The winner: whoever has the carrot that makes the loudest crunching sound. Thankfully, most carrots sound the same when crunched. So there is often disagreement about who won. This requires the game to be played repeatedly in order to determine who the winner is. Thus distracted, my daughter munched her way through 4 carrot slices today. Eureka!

How do you get your reluctant children to eat their vegetables?

5 thoughts on “How to get a kid to eat her carrots

  1. No substitutes! It’s also a strategy we use at home…

    And having lots of kids also helps. Healthy peer pressure can work for us as parents (which is why it’s so great that everyone eats the same thing at lunch in the French school cafeterias…kids try lots of new things they’d never try on their own).

    Yes, and eensy weensy ‘carottes juliennes’ are also a great hit at our place, although I have to admit not always being patient enough to prepare them!

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  2. At the risk of sounding like a mean SOB, I’ve always gone on the theory that children will never starve themselves to death. As a result tend to take a blase approach to “I don’t like” and simply repeat the mantra “leave what’s on the plate and don’t complain about it”. But I don’t cook alternatives and not eating something doesn’t get extras of something else.

    Having everything on the plate is important, imho, as it gives them a sense that it is lost when someone else gets, and inevitably it makes them try little bits. Refried beans (one of my favourites with any Mexican dish) took almost a year to get them to like it, but then finally cracked!

    Having a four kids help, because what is left of the plate is gobbled up by everyone else, leaving the fussy eater with a sense of missing out.

    This strategy has worked really well so far, and all the kids are good eaters (although the teenagers are becoming fussy easers now, but that is their problem not mine) …

    As for carrots, have you tried chopping them ‘jullien’ (match sticks) style? Few can resist match stick vegetables of any sort ….

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  3. When my kids were first introduced to mussels in their shells they weren’t exactly racing to the table to try them. To make them more kid friendly I promised them a secret little trick to eating them but they had to have at least one for the trick to work. Luckily their curiosity grabbed them. After they grudgingly ate it, I showed them how they could now use the attached shells of the one they just ate as mini prongs to pinch out the other ones. The novelty of the act (and the fact I was letting them ‘play’ with their food) hooked them and now mussels are a real treat for them.

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