Kid Friendly Veggies

When my six-year-old was younger he would eat just about every fruit and veggie I gave him. Tart treats like Kumquats made him pucker and giggle; cucumbers, clementines, you name it he loved it, especially raw vegetables. I have pictures of him diving face first into half of a watermelon and attempting to bite florets off a cauliflower head bigger than his. These days he would never eat cauliflower, oranges, grapefruit, sweet potato, the list goes on and on. I have to be fair, at least 6-8 produce superstars are still on his OK list – broccoli (cooked only), carrots, celery, peppers, strawberries, watermelon, apples. Not bad at all. Behavior experts estimate it can take up to 15-20 introductions of a new food to a child before he or she will accept it or know if they like it!

I’ve found that patience is important and so is flexibility and giving them a choice. Do you want broccoli or peppers tonight? Variety helps too. We all eat more quantity when there are more choices (think buffet or dessert bar). Some other tips to consider:

  • Try putting a few options on their plates- just a couple of carrot, celery and cucumber sticks.
  • Add dips like hummus or guacamole and dressings for extra flavor. Try cooked and raw versions of veggies to see which they prefer – texture can be a big thing.
  • They may prefer foods be separate on the plate (no more fruit salad).
  • Have your kids help pick out produce at the store or even better a You-Pick farm or farmer’s market– this can help them feel more involved and it’s fun.
  • Make blended soups. The texture is great and they get all the flavor without negotiating the individual ingredients.