While there are few things I am proud of as a parent, I am happy that my kids eat vegetables every day. I’ve spent a good deal of my parental meal planning time coming up with ideas for vegetables that my kids will not only eat, but will enjoy.

In general, if your kids will absolutely not eat vegetables, you are probably going to have some work ahead of you. Research shows that it takes many introductions of a particular food before a child will eat it; a nutrionist at Tufts suggests a “rule of 15″—introduce a food 15 times before your child might accept it.

Hopefully, though, these vegetable sides might be a little easier for kids to try.

1.  Cheesy broccoli

(Image: Share My Kitchen)

When my kids were little, I used to put cheese on their broccoli all the time. Not cheese sauce, which in my opinion tastes rather bleh. Real cheese. After steaming it, I’d simply put a small piece of cheese (usually I’d tear off a small piece of a sliced cheese, like muenster or havarti) on top, and then I’d cover the whole batch with the pot I’d just used to steam it. That trapped the heat from the cooked broccoli and melted the cheese. And my kids loved it.

2.  Maple Carrots

It doesn’t get much sweeter and delicious than maple-glazed carrots. You can cook them to whatever texture your kids like and adjust the sweetness, too. For my recipe, see here. You can even add a little brown sugar while cooking to sweeten even further.

3.  Roasted asparagus

(Image: Simply Recipes)

I’ve tried steamed asparagus before, but roasted is so much more delicious, and my kids like it better, too. I simply coat the spears in olive oil, toss a little salt over them, and stick them in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes at 400º (how long you put them in depends on the thickness and how tender your kids will like them). It’s one of my kids’ favorite vegetable dishes.

4.  Zucchini Coins

Pretty much anything breaded tastes good, right? My Zucchini Coins are simply thin slices of zucchini that you bread with healthy stuff and bake. Calling them coins only adds to the mystique and can help get a kid to try something they might be wary of. For my recipe, see here.

5.  Pumpkin Nuggets

Probably the most unusual of the vegetable dishes, Pumpkin Nuggets might seem odd at first. But bear with me. Pumpkin is a super food, and since it’s not an easy vegetable to serve, I came up with this recipe. It’s really quite delicious. Kind of like moist pumpkin cookies. And since it doesn’t resemble a dreaded green vegetable, sometimes kids are willing to try it. My recipe is here.

What’s your go-to vegetable for your kids?


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  • January 13, 2012, 1:58 pm Becky

    Great post. I need to try these pumpkin nuggets. Yum! My kids will eat broccoli and even asparagus, but they turn their nose up at yellow vegetables. I’m talking, like, mashed sweet potato. Who doesn’t like that?!? It is perverse. I too have the Deceptively Delicious book and one time I put squash puree in their mac and cheese and it was like, spit take. And I feel the same as you, I don’t want to have to stand on my eyebrow to trick them into eating a veggie.