Three Easy Ways To Introduce New Veggies To Your Family

Have you ever wanted to get your kids to try new vegetables? Does your husband stick with his old favorites like corn and green beans for all meals? Introducing new vegetables into your family meals can be a challenge, especially if you have picky eaters. But it can be done!

Here are three easy ways to serve your family new vegetables that they will eat and love!

Roast Vegetables to bring out their sweetness:

Let’s face it – some vegetables are downright bitter.  Our usual methods of steaming or boiling vegetables only increases the bitterness.  But roasting veggies is a great way to caramelize the natural sugars found in many vegetables.  With Fall just around the corner, try picking up root and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips,or kale.

Each of these items can be roasted at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes with a little salt and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).  In the Spring, you can roast asparagus with a sprinkle of olive oil and lemon pepper for a savory side dish.

I tried this recently with a batch of Brussels Sprouts I had picked up at my produce co-op.  I had never eaten Brussels Sprouts before, but I started by roasting them in the oven with some olive oil, lemon pepper, and salt.  Let me tell you – I almost didn’t share them with my family, they were that good!  As the sugars developed, they grew sweeter and softer to eat with no unpleasant odors.  Yum-O!

Pour on the sauce:

A little ranch dressing can go a long way in helping your kids (or spouses!) try new vegetables.  Pick your kids favorite salad dressing or condiment and let them dip away.  My daughter dipped her broccoli in the marinara sauce last night -not conventional, but she ate every bite!  My oldest son is currently on a mustard kick, but if it gets him to eat asparagus, why not?

When you can, try low-fat options, but the main goal here is to let them dress up the veggies to help them go down easier.  Adding a familiar condiment can help kids feel brave enough to try new foods.

Hide Them:

OK – now I’ll admit this is a sneaky way to get your family to try new vegetables.  But if they are truly resistant, try hiding it in a favorite dish!  If your family love casseroles, simply add a small amount of a new vegetable in the casserole and serve away.  If they notice, ask them if they like it.  You don’t even have to tell them what “it” is.  If they enjoyed it, you might casually mention “oh, did you know there was cauliflower in that?”

Jessica Seinfeld, author of the children’s cookbook “Deceptively Delicious” hides all sorts of fruits and veggies in her food by adding pureed vegetables of the same color to traditional kid friendly items.  For example – she adds pureed cauliflower to macaroni and cheese.

The family gets all of the vitamins and nutrients of the extra vegetables, and they don’t usually know the difference.  Check out the cookbook for ideas on using the pureed food technique to introduce  painlessly introduce more vegetables into your family’s meals.

If subterfuge is not in your nature, tell the family that you are trying a new recipe and you really want their opinion on it.  Be sure the recipe includes favorite and familiar flavors – like crumb topping, or lots of cheese if that’s what your family likes.  Familiar flavors and textures can make it easier to try new foods.  You might even have the kids help you find new recipes and help you prepare them, since kids are more likely to eat something they helped make.

Don’t get discouraged!

There is no time like the present to start introducing new vegetables to your family.  But remember – it takes most kids (and many adults) a minimum of ten tries before they develop a taste for something.  The French culture explains it this way “your taste buds haven’t learned to like this food yet”.  Keep trying the foods, and try different preparations, until you find a recipe your family loves.  Then try it again and again with different foods.  Pretty soon you’ll say “Green beans?  We haven’t had those in forever!”

About Rachel Pilgrim

I'm a working mother of three who is passionate about food storage, cooking, travel, blogging, and all things Disney.

Comments

  1. I know how hard it is to get my two older kids (18 and 15) to eat veggies. My youngest (3) though likes most fruits and veggies but I think its because I regularly serve them now. I didn’t so much when my oldest two were little. A healthy diet for my family is high on my priority list now so serving fruits and veggies is important. I love the creative ideas you provided.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this! Having two toddler girls, I am constantly looking for ways to add vegetables into their diets. I am definitely going to be using these tips!

  3. Great tips!

  4. Thanks so much for this post. My son has picked up my picky eating ways. I have refused to eat vegetables for years. Now that I’m older, I’m just now starting to try different things. It was pretty neat you said it takes a minimum of 10 times for you to develop a taste for it. I have tried some things 2 or 3 and decided I would never end up liking it. Your post has me wanting to try again =)

  5. Great ideas! This sounds like something I need to do to spice up my own veggies.

  6. My kids are notoriously picky eaters, so I love this and no, I am not above subterfuge-whatever works! lol Great ideas!

  7. Sometimes raw veggies may be easier than cooked or vice versa. My daughter will NOT eat cooked broccoli or cauliflower but will eat both readily, with no sauce, if raw. Maybe it’s a texture thing!

  8. Raw is a great way to go if the kids like the crunch of the veggies. A lot of this is trial and error – I found out by accident that my oldest son loves mushrooms when I added some to a stir fry one day and he ate them all – then starting picking them off my plate as well! Raw veggies and dip are a great combination and a good way to start kids on veggies.

Be an Encouraging Mom!

Grab our FREE 20 page report written by parenting expert Adina Soclof and learn how to encourage your kids every day!

Come Get To Know Us :)

We're Very Social!