Any parent knows one of the biggest food challenges they have to face is convincing their kids to eat their vegetables.
Unfortunately for the vegetable haters out there, eating veggies is a necessary part of life! Kids need plenty of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to grow up healthy, which means eating healthy veggies has to happen one way or another.
To avoid ending up with a picky eater, it’s always a good idea to get your kids to eat veggies early in life, introducing them to a wide range of flavors and textures. This can help to encourage them to eat vegetables throughout their entire life, so they can grow up with a healthy diet.
On this list, we’re going to explore the best vegetables for kids. These are veggies that have the vitamins and nutrients growing kids need and are staples that will make a good addition to their diet well into adulthood.
Reasons Why Vegetables Are Good for Kids
Why should you encourage your kids to start eating vegetables? Let’s take a look at the benefits!
Vitamins and Minerals
The biggest reason why you need to make kids eat vegetables is because of all of the health benefits. Vegetables are loaded with essential vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that are needed in a child’s diet as they grow. These can-do tons of good, promoting healthy vision, lower blood pressure, good heart health, and creating a reduced risk of developing chronic disease.
Improve Brain Function
Vegetables won’t only help your kid’s bodies, they’ll also help their brains! Vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, are high in antioxidants and vitamin k. Vitamin k is amazing for brain cells, promoting better brain health and assisting kids with memory.
Kids’ tummies can be sensitive as they grow and get introduced to new foods, but veggies can help to promote good gut health along the way. Vegetables have tons of amazing gut health benefits, due mostly to their high amounts of fiber, which can help kids have better and more regular bowel movements.
Support Good Vision
Vegetables can also do a lot to encourage healthy vision, especially orange vegetables rich in beta carotene. Beta carotene is a nutrient that the body converts into vitamin a, which is strongly linked to strong eye health. By incorporating veggies into your child’s diet while they’re young, you can ensure they grow up with healthy eyes and a lower risk of developing eye problems in the future.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Vegetables make a great low calorie snack, which can be useful for kids as they grow. Rather than piling on junk foods, your kids can eat a high volume of healthy fruits and vegetables without any weight or blood sugar concerns.
Combat Mood Issues
A poor diet can impact mental health as well as physical, and can even worsen mood disorders like depression or anxiety. Vitamin and nutrient dense vegetables can help to combat issues like this, by providing what’s needed to promote a happy and healthy brain.
Vegetables are great for brain health, improving energy levels, and can combat issues like anemia thanks to high amounts of iron. Vegetables aren’t a cure for serious mental issues of course, but a healthy diet can do wonders to help.
Avoid Dietary Supplements
For some picky eaters, the only way to ensure they get the vitamins and minerals they need is by getting them to take supplements. To avoid having to deal with getting vitamins in this way, you can instead introduce vitamins to your kid’s diet the natural way, through fruits and vegetables.
Encourage a Life Long Healthy Diet
Finally, one of the biggest benefits of getting kids to eat vegetables is the positive life long relationship you are building between them and veggies. If kids get introduced to vegetables and their health benefits young, it can help them to make healthy food choices in the future. Growing a life long familiarity with different textures and flavors will expand their palette, and promote an overall healthier relationship with food.
Our List of Vegetables for Kids
Ready to start snacking? Here is our list of best vegetables for kids to include as a part of a healthy diet, and tips for how to introduce them into their diet.
Cherry tomatoes are a great vegetable to introduce to kids at a young age! Cherry tomatoes are small and easy to manage, made safe to eat when cut into small chunks to avoid it being a choking hazard. They’re great to eat with different dips or on their own to introduce your child to acidic foods with a different texture.
Cherry tomatoes are also a great stepping stone to larger tomatoes later on. Try introducing your child to cherry tomatoes first, then experiment with adding raw tomatoes to sandwiches in other meals.
What do kids get out of it? Cherry tomatoes have a ton of health benefits, as they’re high in vitamin c, vitamin a, vitamin e, and potassium. Great for promoting better bone health, a strong immune system, and cancer prevention.
Lots of kids enjoy bell peppers because of their slight natural sweetness, making them an easy addition to your child’s diet. You can try introducing both raw and cooked bell peppers to your child, in whatever color you choose!
Consider pairing peppers with dips for snacktime to start, then move on to cooked peppers in dishes like stir fries. As an essential source of vitamin c, potassium, and vitamin a, this is a great healthy vegetable to get kids used to.
We know brussels sprouts tend to be the first vegetable people think of when it comes to hated foods. But that’s what makes it so important to introduce to kids early!
Brussels sprouts are one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you can feed to kids. Cruciferous vegetables like brussels sprouts have a ton of vitamin k and fiber to benefit your child’s health.
To introduce them, you can feed them to toddlers as young as 6 months. Try shredding it in thin strips at first, then cook and feed small chunks. Eventually, you can incorporate it as a regular vegetable for meal time.
Green beans are great vegetables, especially for growing children. They are full of the vitamins and nutrients needed to support bone health and bone growth in kids, thanks to the high amounts of vitamin k and calcium.
These are also fairly well-liked by kids. Kids can try these raw or cooked, depending on their texture preferences.
If you have a child that needs a high fiber diet, broccoli is definitely one of the best veggies to encourage them to eat. Broccoli is full of beneficial fiber, which can do a lot to improve gut health for kids.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli also have the vitamins needed to boost your child’s immune system and heart health, and are full of vitamin a which can support good eye health. Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked, giving kids plenty of opportunities to try this amazing veggie.
While a lot of kids out there may not enjoy leafy vegetables like spinach, the great thing about this leafy green is that it’s super easy to sneak into a child’s diet. Dark leafy greens like spinach are an essential part of a healthy diet, thanks to high amounts of antioxidants and vitamin k. It’s one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you can give to kids as they’re growing up.
It’s a good idea to try introducing spinach to kids young, to get them used to the texture and taste. If you have a picky eater, spinach is easy enough to hide in soups, sauces, smoothies, stir fries, and other foods. You can blend it or chop it up fine to hide it, so your kids can reap the health benefits without a struggle.
Carrots are one of the easier vegetables to introduce to kids, as they make such a quick and easy snack food. Carrots with dips like hummus or ranch are a perfect way to introduce raw carrots to kids. Then, you can move on to cooked carrots in larger meals.
There are huge benefits to kids eating carrots, the biggest being getting plenty of beta carotene. The body converts beta carotene in carrots into vitamin a, which is amazing for improving eyesight and eye health.
Cauliflower is a pretty versatile vegetable, and another one of the healthiest vegetables to include in your daily diet. It’s especially beneficial to babies, thanks to high levels of vitamin c and collagen. Vitamin c is great for supporting bone health, and collagen is good for growing joints.
Like broccoli, you can introduce cauliflower to children raw or cooked, giving you plenty of ways to introduce it to their diet.
Zucchini is a pretty neutral tasting vegetable, and a good one to introduce into a diet early. You can start small by hiding it in sauce on pasta, then try feeding actual small pieces cooked to your preference.
Zucchini is rich in essential nutrients and vitamins and packed with fiber. It’s a great vegetable to support good gut health, and easier digestion.
Green peas are a good source of fiber, a good source of protein, and are full of a ton of other vitamins and minerals. They’re a great vegetable to add to a diet if you want to support good eye health and support a better digestive system.
Since peas are so small, they’re a great vegetable to introduce to kids, and super easy to sneak into meals. You can try them mashed for super young kids, on their own for toddlers, and mix them into dishes like pasta as kids grow.
Celery is a low calorie snack with super high water content, making it a great vegetable for hydration. Though most people write it off as a food that’s mostly water, celery does indeed have health benefits, as it’s full of antioxidants, beta carotene (that the body converts to vitamin a), and vitamins like vitamin c.
There are plenty of fun things you can do to celery to get your kids ready to try it. A classic celery snack kids love are ants on a log. All you need to do is fill a piece of celery with peanut butter, and put some raisins on top. Alternatively, you can add it to soups and stews, or serve it plain with dips like hummus and ranch.
Cucumbers are another high water content vegetable that does have some health benefits that people aren’t aware of. A lot of the good stuff to be found in cucumbers is in their skin, which is where you’ll get vitamins a, c, b vitamins, and plenty of vitamin e. It’s a great snack to help kids’ brain health, promote healthy skin, and promote healthy blood.
Cucumbers are also easy to add to a child’s diet. You can cut them up with dips just like celery, and they’re a great salad staple as well.
Mushrooms can be a tricky vegetable for picky eaters due to their unique texture and flavor, which is why it’s a good idea to introduce them to kids early. It’s more than worth it thanks to their high amounts of beneficial vitamins and minerals, especially as a source of potassium.
To introduce kids to mushrooms, try to incorporate them into their favorite foods, such as putting small pieces in things like pasta or even pizzas. With time, your young children should grow to love them!
Of all the vegetables on our list, corn is probably one of the easiest vegetables to introduce to kids. This sweet plain vegetable is well-loved, and there are plenty of ways to introduce it to kids’ plates. You can try canned corn or frozen corn on its own, or grilled corn on the cob. You can add it to salads, or serve it plain. There’s tons of stuff to try!
While corn might not be super-rich in vitamins and minerals, its high amount of fiber is great for digestion, and it has plenty of vitamin b.
Asparagus is probably one of the healthiest vegetables you can give to your kids, as it’s full of vitamins and minerals that make it an amazing addition to a healthy, steady diet. Its health benefits include a ton of vitamin c and vitamin a, which is great for the immune system, vitamin k for blood and bone health, and a ton of folate, great for cell growth and cell function.
These health benefits are everything a quickly growing child needs. One of the best ways to cook asparagus is to try oven roasting it or grilling it and serving it as is, or making it a salad staple. You can also try hiding it in foods, and blending it into dips and sauces.
Potatoes are a vegetable you probably won’t struggle to feed your kids. It might just be the most versatile vegetable on our list too, with tons of ways to prepare it. You can try french fries, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes… Those are just some of the many preparations.
Potatoes also have a few health benefits, many of them existing in potato skins. Some studies have linked potatoes to lower blood pressure, because of how high in potassium they are. Potatoes also have a fair amount of fiber, and vitamin b6.
Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas are from the same family as legumes like chickpeas and green peas, and share similar health benefits to them. They are full of vitamin c and vitamin k, have a ton of fiber, and best of all, kids love them!
These peas are a hit with kids because of their crunchy texture and slightly sweet taste, making them more favorable than some other green veggies out there. Sugar snap peas taste great steamed or oven roasted, and also make a fine addition to stir fries.
Both summer squash and winter squash are great vegetables to introduce to a child’s diet. Most squash is pretty mild and sweet in flavor, and like other starchy vegetables, can be prepared in many ways. You can have it cut up and roasted, grilled, or even mashed and smashed for younger toddlers.
The health benefits of squash can vary depending on the specific type, but in general, squash is a great source of vitamins a and c, and a good source of fiber and potassium.
Beets are a vegetable that can be tough for picky eaters, making them another good choice to introduce to children when they’re young. As a more starchy root vegetable, beets can be prepared in a number of ways. They’re popular pickled or roasted, are good on salads, and are great mashed to introduce to young toddlers.
Beets have some amazing nutrition density, super rich in vitamins and minerals. Beets have vitamins a, c, e, k, b vitamins, potassium, calcium, and more. They’re also a great vegetable for kids struggling with anemia thanks to their high iron content, and their high fiber content is great for digestion.
Dark leafy greens like kale are amazing for children, thanks to their nutrient density. This leafy green is full of beneficial fiber and antioxidants linked to lowering blood sugar. Leafy greens like kale also have tons of beneficial chlorophyll, which has been linked to having cancer fighting properties.
To introduce leafy vegetables like kale to kids you can start when they’re super young, shredding or chopping it finely and adding it to sauces. Eventually, you can work up to adding it in larger pieces to other dishes, raw or cooked!
Edamame is a soybean super popular in Asian cuisine, and makes a great snack for kids! You can either buy edamame as whole beans or already shelled, both cooked and frozen. It’s a great green bean to add to all kinds of foods.
Edamame is rich in vitamins and minerals and fiber, but its biggest benefit is that it’s high in protein. Just one cup has over 18 grams, making it a great protein source in a kid’s diet.