Food and Kids

Outside of historical cooking, I have several interests but they all pertain to food.  On another blog the question came up “how do you get fussy kids to eat their vegetables?”  I’ve been blessed as my son likes many vegetables, so it is not a fight.  But for several of my friends’ kids, it is a challenge.  I thought I would post these suggestions for prosperity and hope that my readers may learn a few things.  

Kids are motivated by their parents and peers.  If they have friends or parents who eat vegetables, they are more likely to do so as well.  Some foods are tastier to kids than others.  I still have a strong dislike to brussel sprouts since my mom forced me to eat them as a young child.  

What does your child like to eat?  Do they like sweet flavors such as ginger, cinnamon, cilantro, etc. or do they like savory flavors such as cumin, curry, mustard, etc. or spicy such as chilis, vindaloo, etc.  Use there taste center to your advantage. 

Vegetables that are kid friendly:

  • Sweet Potatoes – baked, oven fried, chips, or mashed.   Not bad for you if you leave off the brown sugar and the marshmallows.    I add a dash of cinnamon to my son’s and I prefer a cumin and cinnamon blend on mine.
  • Beets – very red and very sweet.  Can be found as chips to start with.
  • Veggie Booty – a snack food made from real veggies.  It’s a good start and a better choice than cheese puffs.
  • Baby Carrots
  • Zucchini and yellow squash – can be cut up like french fries and grilled or oven fried
  • Summer Squash
  • Edame (soybeans) – Oddly enough, kids like the mild sweet flavor and its an opportunity to “play with your food” as the beans need to be removed from their shell.
  • Black and garbanzo beans – just fun to eat as you can pop them into your mouth like candy.  

If the earlier suggestions fail, there are other suggestions that may work:

  • If your child likes spaghetti and pizza, make your own sauce by adding pureed zucchini or other vegetables while cooking the sauces
  • Adding a vegetarian soup to ground meat and adding breadcrumbs or oatmeal before cooking meatloaf or making meatballs.
  • Making lettuce wrap meals.  Meals like tacos and other foods can be made into a sandwich using lettuce leaves instead of bread.  This can be fun for the whole family. 
  • When eating out at a buffet, empower your child to select their own veggies.  You might be surprised with their selections.
  • When barbecuing, grill veggies along side the meat so your child will have a tasty selection.  
  • When all else fails, cover the veggies with a sauce the child may like.  Ketchup is very popular in our house.  When I was a young woman, I did not care for the taste of broccoli, but when I covered it in garlic cheese sauce, I couldn’t get enough of it.  Nowadays, I eat the broccoli without any sauce.  

I hope these suggestions help.  Feel free to add to the comment section your suggestions.

About anj68

Alice uses cast iron pots and wooden utensils and keeps the recipes as close to the traditional recipe as possible. She even utilizes a fire pit located outside her home to test authentic recipes. For more information about Alice the Cook, visit her website at In future blogs, I will offer recipes, kitchen hints, and historical cooking lessons.
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