Getting kids to eat their veggies can be a daunting task. I know. I’m a Mom. One week my daughter loves broccoli and my son can’t get enough apples. Next week, he just wants to eat just grapes and my daughter will only eat watermelon. It becomes a constant battle to get them to eat. So what to feed them? Try some of these top 15 kid friendly vegetables as voted on by readers of Parents Magazine. I’ve also come up with some different ways to prepare them.
Asparagus:A good cooked asparagus is fun to eat! A little crunchy but definitely taste worthy. Bread them with a dip and the kids will love dunking them. Or hide the taste of the asparagus a bit with the tang of balsamic.
Broccoli:Broccoli is great when raw and dipped, or enjoy it steamed with cheese or topped with great dips that include ingredients you wouldn’t think of. Like orange.
Brussel Sprouts:Really? Brussel sprouts making the top 15 list? Yes, that is true! Kids really can love brussel sprouts. Pair them with bacon, pair them with cranberries, or even top them with Parmesan cheese.
Carrots:Always a favorite with ranch dressing, cut into carrot coins, or made into carrot sticks–it’s the almighty and famous carrot. This vegetable is often the most popular amongst kids. But I love them cooked and honeyed with a little bit of agave or honey on top. It makes for one great side dish.
Cauliflower:Jessica Seinfeld cleverly disguises cauliflower puree throughout her book, “Deceptively Delicious.” But you won’t need to anymore. As a child, cauliflower and melted cheese was a normal way to enjoy cauliflower at our house. But many enjoy them as a mashed potato alternative.
Corn:We don’t have to do much to get our kids to eat their corn. I can grill it, cook it, boil it, corn on the cob it, or just serve kernels. But of course, there are some great recipes like corn chowder or fiesta corn that many families enjoy during those fall months that can get picky eaters to enjoy.
Cucumbers:Cucumbers are great when dilled and pickled. Or cut them down the side with a pairing grater to make long strips or “ribbons.” Sometimes dressing them up a different way other than the typical coins can re energize a vegetable and get a child to try a particular vegetable again.
Edamame: Edamame is a soybean, which is harvested before it starts to harden. It is then parboiled and frozen to help them stay fresh. Edamame can be eaten plain or in dishes. Try edamame as an alternative to hummus. Cook 1 12 oz package of edamame according to package directions. Transfer the cooked edamame and 1/4 cup of the edamame liquid to a blender. Mix in 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons of minced basil in a blender until smooth. Spoon a small amount of the mixture into a dipping cup or small fruit bowl and serve with tortilla or pita chips.
Green Beans:During the summertime the kids love to hate snapping off the ends of the green beans. But they love eating them raw too. Green beans are also great when boiled with bacon bits.
Peas:Love them or hate them, peas and one of the most kid friendly veggies. And kids either literally love them or hate them. I love mine plain, but you can dress them up easily with mint, or use them to flavor pasta dishes.
Pumpkin:I have to admit that one of my favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin is in pumpkin chocolate chip bread. Not the healthiest, but definitely delicious. You can enjoy a pumpkin pie crust less with a little bit of whipped cream on top, or even try it as a soup!
Red Bell Pepper:Red bell peppers are delicious when dipped in ranch dressing, or enjoyed cleverly hidden in pizzas. Red bell peppers are always a great snack because they are so sweet and delicious!
Salad (AKA Lettuce):My daughter will eat salad of any kind. My son seems to be able to detect it no matter how small the amount and promptly spits it out onto his plate. But salad can be one of your greatest allies in getting kids to try new fruits. My daughter loves her salad with grapes and apples in it. Add a little bit of feta cheese, walnuts, and grilled chicken and you’ve got a great, well rounded lunch or dinner for the whole family.
Spaghetti Squash:Growing up, spaghetti squash was one of my favorites! My mom always buttered it lightly and I loved it that way. Now, you can disguise it and use it in place of spaghetti noodles. Kids onto you? Try mixing just a tiny bit in until they get used to the taste. Than begin to use more each time you make spaghetti until you are completely using this healthier, vitamin infused version.
Sweet Potatoes:I’ve become quite the fan of sweet potatoes. Our children love the sweetness of sweet potatoes over regular russet or red potatoes. Enjoy sweet potatoes as baked sweet potato fries, or sweet potatoes baked with a delicious cinnamon butter topping.
References:“Deceptively Delicious” by Jessica Seinfeld. www.deceptivelydelicious.com“Creamy Mashed Cauliflower” by Eating Wellhttp://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/creamy_mashed_cauliflower.html“Honey Glazed Carrots” by Parents Magazinehttp://www.parents.com/recipes/cooking/family-favorites/vegetables/?page=14“Apple Salad” by Burnt Apple http://burntapple.com/2010/04/07/apple-balsamic-salad/“Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic” by Two Peas and Their Podhttp://twopeasandtheirpod.com/roasted-asparagus-with-balsamic-vinegar-recipe/“Breaded Asparagus with Honey Mustard Dip” by Parents Magazinehttp://www.parents.com/recipes/cooking/family-favorites/vegetables/?page=11“Crust less Pumpkin Pie” by Gluten Free Easily http://glutenfreeeasily.com/crustless-gluten-free-pumpkin-pie/“Pumpkin Soup” http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-specials/pumpkin-soup-recipe/index.html“vegetarian Corn Chowder” http://ecochildsplay.com/2008/05/09/kid-friendly-recipes-vegetarian-corn-chowder/”Baked Sweet Potato Fries” by Sarah Cucina Bellahttp://sarahscucinabella.com/2008/01/22/oven-baked-sweet-potato-fries/comment-page-3/#comment-5139“Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Butter” by Wondertimehttp://wondertime.go.com/life-at-home/article/sweet-potato-recipes_2.html“Red Bell Pepper Pizza” by CD Kitchenshttp://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/132/Finger_Pizzas40625.shtml“Broccoli with Orange Cream Sauce” by Super Healthy Kidshttp://blog.superhealthykids.com/2010/02/snowy-citrus-trees-broccoli-with-orange-cream-sauce/