Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Young Academics share top tips to get kids to eat their veggies  

To coincide with Health Eating Week (10 June), early learning education provider Young Academics has shared its top tips to help parents encourage their little ones to eat more fruit and veggies – happily

“At Young Academics, parents often ask us why their children eat more fruit and vegetables whilst attending our centres than they do at home,” said Jenni Gaffney, Director of Operations with Young Academics Early Learning Centre. “We know that the combination of a strong routine, introducing a wide range of nourishing foods, and getting children to eat in a social setting all help model good eating behaviour and inspire children to try things they may not at home.”

This is important since more than 90% of children aged between the ages of two and 17 aren’t eating enough vegetables, with 37% not eating enough fruit. Statistics show our consumption typically worsens with age. For example, 73% of two and three-year-olds don’t eat enough vegetables, rising to 90% of four to eight-year-olds, and 94% of those between 14 and 17[1].

Young Academics realise the importance of establishing a positive relationship with food and healthy eating habits from an early age, especially since nutrition plays a significant role in early brain development.

Below are Young Academics’ top tips to encourage children under the age of five to eat more fruit and veggies:

  • Make mealtimes structured and at roughly the same time every day to establish a routine
  • Keep screens away during mealtimes – including for the adults – put phones and ipads away and don’t have the TV on as a distraction
  • Serve age-appropriate portion sizes – and try cutting food into fun shapes or arranging fruit and veggies into colourful patterns to pique children’s interest
  • Eat as many meals as possible as a family. This makes mealtimes more fun, boosts social connection and creates an opportunity to role model healthy eating behaviour – just make sure you eat your fruit and vegetables too! 
  • Have a fruit bowl handy and tubs of blueberries or cut-up veggies in the fridge (ie cucumbers and carrots) for easily accessible snacks
  • Avoid having high-sugar and processed snacks readily available for children to access. Hide them away for occasional treats rather than as everyday snack options

Role model healthy snacking by showing children you enjoy eating an apple or snacking on cherry tomatoes – if they don’t see it, they won’t believe it

Swap vegetables for other items in your cooking, such as zucchini spaghetti,  cauliflower mac’n’cheese instead of macaroni, or burger patties wrapped in lettuce

Add interest to mealtimes by creating finger food options for children, such as popping cherry tomatoes onto toothpicks (be sure to supervise), or cutting capsicum into colourful sticks 

Let your child see you trying new foods for the first time to overcome fear and anxiety and talk about the fun of trying new flavours and textures

Try poached apples or berries in yoghurt as a healthy sweet snacking or dessert option

Incorporate ‘superfoods’ into your child’s diet wherever possible: berries, spinach, eggs, legumes, Greek yoghurt, rolled oats and wholegrain bread.

Below are some simple, delicious recipe ideas beloved by little ones: 

Green Veggie Frittata  


12 eggs, 1 cup grated cheese, one large shallot, clove of garlic, 3 cups broccoli florets (or baby spinach/mixed green veggies), one avocado


Preheat oven to 180°C. Add 12 eggs to a large bowl, add salt and pepper, and whisk until liquid (this will take a while). Add grated or crumbled cheese to the egg mixture and set aside. Finely slice shallots and garlic. Dice vegetables and set them aside. Preheat a frying pan over low-medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil to the hot pan, then add sliced shallots and garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds. Add veggies and sauté for 4-5 minutes (if using baby spinach it will only be about 1 minute). Add the egg & cheese mixture to the pan, remove it from the stove and place in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.

Remove from the oven and place on a heatproof surface for at least 10 minutes to rest. Use a knife to run along the edges to remove from the pan, then use two spatulas to lift the frittata out of the pan to serve.

Top with diced avocado to serve.

Watermelon Pizza 


½ cup fruit-free, nut-free muesli, watermelon, cut into triangle slices, 500g yoghurt, chopped seasonal fruit of your choice (ie berries)

Spread approximately 100g of yoghurt on each slice of watermelon to cover the surface Sprinkle approximately 1 tablespoon of muesli. Top with a small handful of chopped fruit. Yum!

Established as a family-owned business in 2009, Young Academics Early Learning Centre emphasises education, learning and individuality. Our vision is to provide Australian families with a service that approaches these attributes dynamically and holistically.

Our name, Young Academics, is no coincidence. It reflects our belief that early learning is integral to children’s early years and sets the foundation for positive lifelong social, physical, and academic benefits. Our expert team has developed a curriculum and a set of programs that focus on individual understandings of identity, concepts, and ideas. Our goal is to ensure that learning and development remain synonymous and that the quality of our education is of the highest calibre.