Hi, peeps!

I’d like to introduce a new Friday column I’m working on that I’m calling “Five on Friday.”  I know, isn’t that unique and clever?

Anyhoo, every Friday I will give you a list of five things.  They may be anything from tips to cool products to fun links.  But hopefully they will be of use or interest to y’all.

I’m kicking it off with my list of five ways to get your kids to eat broccoli.  I’ve chosen broccoli because it’s one of the healthiest vegetables and because my kids have been successfully eating it for years.  We probably eat broccoli about three or four times a week.

If your kids won’t eat broccoli, and you are interested in changing that, here are my five tips!

(Image: Flickr member JACoulter licensed for use under Creative Commons)

1.  Put soy sauce on it.  This is how my five year old prefers to eat his broccoli.  I only put a little on, but that’s enough to enhance the flavor, and he eats it willingly and happily.

2.  Call them trees.  This is an oldie but a goodie.  Sometimes just changing the name of something makes it more intriguing.  Obviously, this won’t work with the most intractable vegetable naysayers, but perhaps combined with some other tricks, it might send them over the edge.  I like to present it with no irony or explanation: “Ok, boys, tonight we’re having pasta, apples, and trees.”  Then they starting thinking, “Is Mom crazy?  Did she just say trees?”  Crazy like a fox, suckas.

3.  Put cheese on it.  Isn’t everything better with cheese?  I think this is how I got my kids to eat broccoli in the first place.  For the first six months to a year of their broccoli consumption, I would put a little melted cheese on it.  Eventually, I got tired of that extra step, and by the time I did they were willing to eat it without the cheese.  My technique?  I would steam the broccoli and immediately upon taking it out of the pot, I’d sprinkle some grated cheese on top.  Then, I’d cover it with the upside down pot, and within a minute or two the heat from the cooked broccoli would melt the cheese.  Voilà!

4.  Make it a game or competition.  I know, I probably shouldn’t be promoting competitive vibes with food.  But sibling peer pressure can be a force for good when it comes to healthy eating.  My one caveat is that I never make the competition a race, since I’m terrified of choking and I don’t want them scarfing their food.  Instead, it can be something like “Who can eat that piece of broccoli most politely?”  or “Who can eat more pieces of broccoli using only his left hand?”  I’m sure you all have better ideas for challenging your kids to eat what’s good for them.

5.  Make them apple trees with ketchup.  Someone just mentioned this idea to me, and I think it’s kind of brilliant.  It’s kind of a combination of calling them trees and putting something they like on it.  Ketchup can be a good motivator, too, and if you put a few tiny drops on a piece of broccoli, suddenly you’ve got apple trees.  I haven’t tried it, but I thought it sounded like a great strategy.

Do your kids eat broccoli?  Have you done anything brilliant to encourage them?  Don’t keep it to yourself… let us know in the comments!



Leave a Comment

  • November 11, 2011, 3:06 pm Erika W

    This is great. Dev is inconsistent with the broccoli. I need to make a more concerted effort. He is loving cucumbers right now. He’s also a fan of zucchini and carrots. Not the most nutritionally dense foods, but better than, say, the lollipop he had after breakfast. Someday I’d love a post about persimmons and good winter fruits.

    • November 11, 2011, 3:27 pm Beth

      Ooooh, we love persimmons. I’ll have to think about that one!

  • November 12, 2011, 3:16 am Amy in Australia

    Oh, man. This is a huge issue with us. I’ll give these a try. The ketchup idea is cute! Ava will force one tiny piece down, but she gags. Gags! Ugh. Can you tell this is a point of frustration for me? ;)