My kids eat brussel sprouts and pretty much any other vegetable. Part of this fact, I realize is just plain good fortune. Plenty of moms try every trick in the book, and their kids won’t touch a lot of vegetables.
Besides luck, I have a few tricks of my own, and I do think that is another part of why my kids eat vegetables.
1. Bribery. Taste the meal and you get extra (albeit small) dessert. Even if you’ve tasted it before and didn’t like it then.
2. Blind taste tests. We tried this game with a batch of white and green string beans. My son closed his eyes and tried to guess which green bean he managed to spear with his fork. He got it right the first time (through squinty eyes). And then he tried it again, and again, and again.
3. Chef’s helpers. When you’re a kid, anything you make on your own tastes better. Especially if you get to turn on the stove and use a frying pan. I of course stand by and do all the chopping, but my 10-year-old can do the rest. Even my 2-year-old sits on the counter and helps most days.
4. Forget about kid food. There’s no such thing as kid food for dinner in this house. One meal for the whole family. Even when it’s spicy. Even when it’s weird (and it usually is). Everyone has to try the meal, and those kids who absolutely hate it get their own cereal. This rarely happens, though.
But, the biggest reason my kids eat vegetables is that they taste good. Overcook vegetables or douse them in oil, and they’re terrible. Instead, I buy them fresh, cook them until they’re soft enough to eat but still bright in color, add a bit of fat (like butter or olive oil), salt, lemon and pepper–and they’re awesome.
This recipe works for pretty much any vegetable. For those that take longer to cook, like broccoli, add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and cover for a few minutes so that it steams.
BRUSSEL SPROUTS FOR KIDS
1 lb. of fresh brussel sprouts
Freshly chopped garlic cloves (as much as you like)
1/2t freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the brussel sprouts, cut off the tough stems and cut in half. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the brussel sprouts and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so. They should brown at the edges. Add the chopped garlic and sauté another minute (or more if you don’t like strong garlic). Squeeze a fresh lemon over the brussel sprouts and add salt and pepper.