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How to prep veggies so your kids might actually eat them

I am blessed with having kids who eat most of their veggies, most of the time. But even so, I’m always looking for new ways to serve vegetables that might inspire my kids to try the veggies they don’t think they like. Here are a few things I’ve tried over the years with some success.

Frozen

Strange, yes, but my kids love eating frozen corn. I pour the corn into a bowl straight from the freezer, given them a spoon and off they go. Other veggies aren’t too bad when cold either — I’m partial to a good frozen green bean myself, and carrots and peas are pretty tasty too. Especially great in hot summer months, the novelty of eating it frozen can be enough to get your kid to taste something new.

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Can it

I am not a fan of canned vegetables and rarely venture beyond canned tomatoes, but my husband convinced me to purchase a can of whole green beans. He drained the water, rinsed the beans, and threw them on a plate, and sure enough, my kids devoured them. Canned veggies are soft and generally on the salty side, which some kids might prefer, especially if texture is an issue.

 

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Chop it up

Simply altering how you cut a fresh vegetable can mean the difference between a kid eating it and rejecting it. My kids inhale cucumbers if I partially peel them and slice them with a crinkle cutter. If I slice the cucumber into sticks, they’ll eat less. Often I’ll cut the same veggie three different ways just to see what they prefer. My daughter loves ranch dressing, so offering up some dip with the veggies also increases her vegetable intake.

 

With cheese

I steam a lot of veggies, both fresh and frozen. One way to dress these up is with a simple sprinkling of shredded cheese, or with a quick cheese sauce. Melt 2 T. of buttter in a saucepan, whisk in some flour to make a roux, add a bit of milk, and then a handful of shredded cheese. Ta-da! Cheese sauce on broccoli, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on steamed zuchinni or asparagus, and you’re good to go.

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Roasted

I love roasted veggies. Broccoli and cauliflower are some of our favorites, but the kids also enjoy roasted asparagus, potatoes, and carrots (I occasionally buy a rainbow assortment or add some parsnips to change things up). Toss in some olive oil, add a sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper, and stick in a hot oven. Just make sure you’re roasting them long enough to get them soft in the middle and crunchy on the outside.

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While we’re talking about roasting, have you tried kale chips? My kids can eat a batch of kale chips all by themselves… as long as I don’t tell them it’s kale. The process is pretty easy — cut out the kale stems so you’re left with just the leaves. Toss the leaves with the oil of your choice and a healthy sprinkling of kosher salt. The salt is key, don’t skimp! Roast in a 425 degree oven until the leaves curl up and look crunchy. Cool and enjoy.

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Change it up

Take your kids to the grocery store or, better yet, a farmer’s market, and have them pick out a veggie. Maybe it’s something you buy all the time, or it might be something you’ve never purchased before, like an artichoke. Work with your kids (depending on their ages) to figure out how to prepare the veggie when you get home. When kids take an active role in selecting their food, they often are more willing to eat it.

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