You want your child to eat his broccoli. He’d rather feed it to the dog. How do you reach a middle ground (you know, one where he eats ALL of his broccoli)? I’ve got an answer, one that involves getting kids to eat more vegetables consistently without an objection ever crossing their mind.
When I was younger, my mother used to make Lima beans. I HATED them. I remember sitting at that table with a mouthful of half-chewed cardboard tasting mush, unable to swallow and stuck in my chair for over an hour until I could sneak it into a napkin or choke it down to finally be excused. During that time, I may have been little, but I knew one thing for sure: my kids would never have to sit at the table, made to eat something that they didn’t want to.
When it comes to getting kids to eat vegetables, some of us are luckier than others. Personally, I firmly believe that our bodies innately know what we need and what doesn’t work for us, so if little Johhny insists he doesn’t like asparagus right now, he may be onto something that he can’t actually put into words.
If you’ve never checked out Dr. Peter D’Adamo’s Genotype and Bloodtype books, I highly suggest that you do. The basis is that we are all genetically different and foods that provide awesome benefits for some of us, may actually be creating inflammation for others.
Of course, if we let kids in on this they may play it to their favor and insist that ice cream is what their body needs 24/7, so maybe you should hold off on that, but I digress.
Vegetables provide a great source of nutrients, so though I don’t think you should push any one food item your child may be adverse to, I think it is important to get them in as a whole whenever you can. This being the case, I have a secret to let you in on…
Two Keys to Getting Vegetables Into Your Kids
- Make a list of their favorite meals
- Take your mini food processor out of the cabinet and keep it out on your counter
These two keys are the basis for what comes next: Plan out your weekly meals using the ones your kids love to eat. When prepping each meal, include vegetables that you can throw in the mini food processor to incorporate into each dish.
If you don’t already own a mini food processor, get one! I use this appliance more than any other in my kitchen as it allows me to add all sorts of vegetables and nuts into so many dishes where my kids would otherwise pick them out or eat around them. I have had mine for 14 years now. If you’d like one with a glass bowl, take a look at this.
For those who want a third key that guarantees greens in a child’s diet each day, read this! Starting the day with Greens
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Below I share my recipe for a gluten-free mac and cheese that my kids devour. In it are four different vegetables. You can do this with just about any dish, adding finely chopped vegetables to chilis, oatmeal, pancakes, etc. Just make sure the vegetable chosen goes with the flavors of the dish.
Gluten Free Mac and Cheese with a Veggie Twist
I shared a photo of some finely chopped broccoli and cauliflower on our Facebook Group, sharing that some of it would be used in my homemade mac and cheese. Right away people started asking for the recipe that, of course, I had never written down. Being that my kids and husband devour it, I thought I would put it here permanently so you can get in on a dish that your kids will beg you to make, while you happily watch them inhale their vegetables.
Full disclaimer: I am not a professional food photographer, so please excuse my amateur food photos.
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups raw, shredded cheese (I like a mix of cheddar and gruyere)
3 cups of organic, grass-fed milk
3 tablespoons rice, quinoa or oat flour
1/8 cup grated onion
3 cups of finely chopped broccoli and cauliflower (food processor works best)
2 tablespoons carrot juice plus (optional)
Spices: Himalayan salt, nutmeg, pepper, mustard, paprika (all to taste, but I go heavy on the Paprika)
*Carrot Juice Plus is a Purium product that I use because it is super high in vitamin A. You would need to eat a lot of carrots to equal what you are getting in this concentrated form, which is why I use it to supplement every now and then to make sure we get enough A in our diet. It’s high in nutrients when taken as is or in something cold, so I also use it in smoothies, blended in yogurt, in with a greens drink, etc. You can use gift card code raisingnaturalkids for $50 off $75 or more if you’d like to try it and other Purium products.
- Start boiling water for the pasta. Cook pasta according to the package directions, keeping it on the al dente side.
- While pasta is cooking, in a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to thicken. Stir frequently for 5 minutes. Add onion. Add milk to the butter and flour, stirring constantly. Add spices. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. Add the carrot juice plus to the sauce.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and mix in the broccoli and cauliflower.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and veggies, mixing until well blended.
- Put pasta in a large casserole dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.
If you want more recipe ideas that incorporate healthy meals for your family, sign up to get our posts as we publish them. You can also check out other recipes and posts with more kids favorites incorporating veggies: Green Pasta (my children’s favorite), Getting Vegetables Into Kids, and Getting Kids Into Veggies Two.