If serving cruciferous veggies to kids seems like setting yourself up for failure, this post is for you. How to get kids to eat broccoli, cauliflower, and all the other cruciferous treasures.
When you think about the memes and articles you read about kids and vegetables, it almost always has a photo of a green vegetable front and center.
And often says something about how much kids hate broccoli or how to hide it in their food. (See more about our thoughts on hiding veggies in this post.)
For some reason, broccoli and other cruciferous and green veggies have gotten a reputation for being some of the most disliked veggies on the planet – especially for kids.
But we’re here to say that this stereotype doesn’t have to be true for your family!
It’s true that kids are less likely to fall in love with veggies like broccoli compared to something naturally sweet and juicy like berries.
However, one of our jobs as parents and caregivers is to continue exposing our kids to a wide variety of foods to help build their healthy palates as they grow up. This includes those veggies that may be on the no-so-favorite list right now.
Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables
As dietitians, we’re big fans of cruciferous veggies because of how nutritious they are. As moms, we’ve struggled hardcore to get our littles to stop freaking out about the greens on their plate. So trust us when we say, we get it!
Cruciferous veggies are some of the healthiest foods on the planet.
They include foods like:
- Brussels sprouts
- collard greens
- bok choy
- mustard greens
- broccoli rabe
Serving Cruciferous Veggies to Kids
Okay, so cruciferous veggies are good for us. But how should you go about offering them to your kids? Here are some ideas.
1. Food Play
When a certain food isn’t getting as much love as others from your kid, consider offering it to them in a food play setting. This means creating space for them to intentionally play with their food, using all of theri senses to explore it.
The less pressure a child feels associated with trying a new food (or even trying it for the 6th time), the more likely they are to actually see if they like it.
Find a long list of food play examples in this post.
2. Food Prep Involvement
Kids need jobs to do! This includes in the kitchen.
If you’re wanting to encourage your kiddo to try something new, like a cruciferous veggie, then getting them in front of said food and allowing them some hands-on experience with it can help.
Tasks like rinsing or drying, mixing and stirring, seasoning and measuring, or even chopping (practice those knife skills!) can be perfect for kids.
3. With Dip
Cruciferous veggies make a great vehicle for dips and sauces. We say, if it helps your kiddo get the veggie in their mouth, there’s nothing wrong with some tasty dip.
Some of our go-to’s are hummus, cashew queso or a veggie ranch. Find moree ideas in our post 6 Plant Based Dips and Sauces for Kids.
4. In Smoothies
Brussels sprouts probably won’t make the cut for smoothies, but kale, collard greens, and other leafy greens blend well. Just add them to the blender with frozen fruit, whether you’re going for a green smoothie or perhaps a darker berry blend.
Try it in some of our plant-based smoothies for kids.
5. Growing Your Own
If you’ve never grown your own veggies at home, this is a great opportunity to involve kids in a real farm-to-table experience. This could look like a raised bed in the back yard or a container garden in your kitchen.
Kale is one of the easiest veggies to grow and comes in so many types. Have your child pick out a seed packet, plant them, and help care for them as they start to grow. Broccoli and cauliflower are also great backyard crops.
Then, have them harvest and help prepare it for a meal!
Don’t get discouraged if your kiddo needs lots of exposure to cruciferous veggies before trying them and truly deciding whether they like them. This is normal. Patience and consistency are key.
Chime In: What are some ways you serve cruciferous veggies to your kids? Share them in the comments!
If you found this post helpful, we think you should read these too: