Chances are you’ve resorted to heavy bribery, hiding vegetables in favorite dishes like mac n’ cheese, and other tactics to get your little one to eat these good-for-them foods. But resorting to sneaky measures to get your kids to eat veggies doesn’t actually work, and in the long run, we should be helping them open their palates to new flavors instead of slipping beans into their brownies.

While you might think a nutritionist would have kids who grow up choosing green beans over French fries, Jess Ferrari-Wells shared a reel lamenting how her toddler and big kid turn their noses up at all things veggie. So, taking a note from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, the nutritionist instituted a brilliant new way to offer produce to her kids that seems to be working (this week, at least).

Instead of trying to trick her kiddos into eating them, Ferrari-Wells simply places a plate of carrot sticks, red bell pepper slices, and cucumber sticks on the table. She doesn’t mention them, and she doesn’t encourage her kids to eat them. They are just there when she’s serving the meal. The first day, neither of her kids touched the veggies. On the second day, one of her kids nibbled a carrot. But by the fifth day, both kids were eating them all.

“So I really think it shows that when you keep offering something and it becomes more and more familiar and there’s no pressure, well it seems to be working,” Ferrari-Wells explains of her experiment. “I know everything’s a phase with kids and I’m sure next week it will be back to ignoring, but I just wanted to share because I think it’s been really positive and it might be something you could try, too.”

This supports the idea that removing the pressure around food gets kids to try new foods on their own. It is also helpful to continue offering non-preferred foods even after kids reject them. Studies have shown that repeated exposure to unfamiliar foods increases their acceptability among toddlers, and this can take 10 or more tries.

Parents in the comments offered other ideas for getting kids to eat their greens. One said that the quickest way to get her toddlers to try something new is by putting it on her own plate rather than theirs—and any toddler parent knows that our meals are always more enticing to our tots and their grabby little hands. Another mom said that she grew up with this idea of having veggie sticks available while dinner was being cooked, and as an adult, she’s still conditioned to munch on a few pieces of veg before mealtime.

Toddlers can go from loving a food one day to despising it the next, so it’s a bit of a crapshoot whether this method will work with your little one. But it’s fairly low effort and definitely worth a shot. Besides, if no one touches their veggie sticks tonight, you can easily pack them up for tomorrow and try again!

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