Food & Nutrition Print Getting Kids to Eat More Vegetables By Vincent Iannelli, MD Updated June 19, 2019 Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician Peter Dazeley / Getty Images More in Healthy Kids Food & Nutrition Everyday Wellness Safety & First Aid Immunizations Fitness Most parents understand that vegetables should be an important part of their child's diet because vegetables are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Unfortunately, many parents have a very hard time getting their kids to eat a few if any vegetables on a regular basis. The Amount of Vegetables Kids Should Eat We all know that kids should eat their vegetables. But just how many vegetables should kids eat every day? You may be familiar with the general rule of aiming for 3–5 servings of vegetables each day, but the Choose My Plate guidelines offer much more specific recommendations based on how old your child is. USDA MyPlate Recommendations Age Recommended Daily Servings 2 to 3 years 1 to 1 1/2 cups 4 to 8 years 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups 9 to 13 years (girls) 2 to 4 cups 9 to 13 years (boys) 2 1/2 to 4 cups 14 to 18 years (girls) 2 1/2 to 4 cups 14 to 18 years (boys) 3 to 4 cups Why such a big range at each age? Like most other foods, how many vegetables your kids should eat has a lot to do with your child's activity level. An active child who is burning more calories needs more vegetables and other foods than an inactive child. The Choose MyPlate Daily Checklist can help you come up with a daily food plan, including how many vegetables your kids should eat, based on their calorie level. Eating a Serving of Vegetables But what counts as a cup of vegetables? According to the United States Department of Agriculture, "1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 serving from the vegetable group." What's a Serving? One serving is equal to:1/2 cup of raw or cooked vegetables1 cup raw, leafy vegetables1/2 cup cooked or canned peas or beansAnd servings for younger children are even smaller, with a toddler serving being equal to about 1/2 of a regular adult serving size. In addition to eating vegetables each day, your kids should try to eat a variety of dark green vegetables (broccoli, greens, spinach, romaine lettuce), orange vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, winter squash), dry beans and peas, starchy vegetables (corn, green peas, white potatoes), and other vegetables (cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini) each week. How to Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study once found that "by 15 months, French fries and other fried potatoes are the most commonly consumed vegetables." So how do you get your kids to eat more vegetables and avoid falling into the French fry habit? Most experts recommend starting early by offering your older infant and toddler a large variety of fruits and vegetables. It can also help to: Set a good example by eating vegetables yourself.Offer low-fat salad dressing and other dips as a side for vegetables.Mix in vegetables with foods that your child already likes, such as a topping on pizza, extra in spaghetti sauce, or mix in a casserole or soup.Let your kids grow their own vegetables or visit a farmer's market to buy fresh vegetables.Provide raw vegetables, such as baby carrots, as a snack.Offer a lot of choices, provide small servings at first, and keep in mind that some picky eaters won't try a new vegetable until they see it on their plate 10 or more times. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Get diet and wellness tips to help your kids stay healthy and happy. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Fabulous fruits... Versatile vegetables. Pediatric Basics. Food for Thought. What are Infants and Toddlers Really Eating? Fall 2004. Number 108. USDA. Choose My Plate. All about the Vegetable Group. Continue Reading How Much Fruit Should Your Child Be Eating? Get Your Kids Started on a Healthy Eating Plan Healthy Child Nutrition Basics Every Parent Should Know Healthy Meals for Picky Eaters How to Help Your Tween Embrace Healthier Eating How Much Calcium Do Kids Need? The Not-So-Surprising Way to Get Kids Eating their Vegetables Review the Latest Recommendations from the AAP Should You Let Your Kids Eat Eggs on a Daily Basis? Be Ready for After-School or On-The-Road With Munchies The Evolution of the Food Pyramid Protein-Rich Foods Your Children Should Be Eating for Nutrition Satisfying Healthy Snacks Your Kids Will Love Top 10 Healthy Foods That Kids Could Actually Like to Eat How to Help Your Child If They're Overweight Are You Raising a Vegetarian Child?