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Making green beans more appealing to kids

My kids HATE green beans. Do you do anything with them that makes them more appealing, besides grean bean casserole?

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  1. try roasting them with sesame oil, S & P..450 for about 15 minutes...tossing once in a while... even better, in warm weather I do them this way on the grill..., although there are casualties through the grates...

    1. What don't they like about them specifically? Taste, texture? The flavor is awfully assertive in its quiet way, I can't think of a way to really hide it....

      I always did like them myself, but even though they were out of a package and the spaetzle was obviously inferior (I'd had it in Germany and German restaurants in NYC before I had this), I always really like the Bird's Eye green beans & spaetzle combo - I think they still make it, though I haven't bought it in probably 15 years. Making a homemade version with less LCD spicing and better spaetzle might interest them, or at least distract them a little. ;) I can't give you a recipe, but you can deconstruct your own package. :) The general idea was very good, they were just too salty and sort of generically seasoned, and the spaetzle too dense/chewy. All faults easily corrected if you make it from scratch.

      I was always very fond of them steamed or sauteed with slivered/sliced almonds browned in a little butter. If they like tomatoes, onions, and olive oil, you can stew them Greek-style which I also really liked as a kid and love as an adult. And that keeps well for several days and freezes fairly well in the bargain.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MikeG

        They do still make the bird's eye combo and I always stock up on it in the grocery store. I know it's a salty mess, but it's great for a quick meal. It would probably be very appealing to kids.

        I love green beans and I generally avoid veggies--you may want to try sauteeing them with balsamic vinegar and garlic or roasting them with a honey soy or teriyaki sauce.

      2. Butter, bacon and slivered almonds. Of course, this defeats the healthy aspect of the beans, but it makes them damn tasty!

        Alternatively, have you tried stir frying them? Peanut oil, quickly stir fry some garlic, toss in beans, stir fry a couple of minutes, then pour in a bit of chicken stock, cover and steam for 3 minutes.

        1. I also liked the green beans and spaetzle from Birds Eye as a kid. My fave was when mom did them in a bechamel sauce with fresh dill. My kid on the other hand has to have them hidden- frenched in a pasta sauce etc. I did get him to enjoy them for a few bites when picked from the garden young and raw with a dip. I just think they have to find their own veggie path. Offer options, grow your own if you can and see what happens.

          1 Reply
          1. re: torty

            "I just think they have to find their own veggie path."
            Sweet! Good advice :)

          2. "grow your own if you can and see what happens."

            If that's an option and you get the kids to help, I've never met a kid who didn't like (or at least wouldn't eat) vegs they'd actually helped to grow. Including me. Well, except eggplant. :) And if you can get them eating them in the first place, they'll probably move over to storebought once they're used to the idea, even if they don't like them as much.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MikeG

              Very true. They eat the tomatos that they help grow with more vigar.

            2. The question about what it is they don't like about them is good. Another question is what type of green beans ... canned, frozen, fresh?

              I've been trying to cut calories, so instead of pasta, I've used green beans as my base for spaghetti sauce. Tastes good with a sprinkle of grated cheese ... and healthy.

              One local restaurant has a popular version everyone loves ... tempura green beans.

              1. I agree with the growing idea.
                But if that is not an option, try buying fresh ones and just blanching them. Then serve them with a dip. Kids usually like to dip things. Ranch dressing is an option. There is that national chain restaurant that actually deep fries green beans and serves them with ranch.

                1. I think this will work, but it starts out a little weird.

                  First, a funky old guy with weird hair, named Al Einstein, came up with the notion that "a given reality exists within a given frame of reference."

                  That means that telling your child to eat green beans, for whatever reason, does not ring true, unless it is true in their immediate world.

                  Next, my fifty-four year old spouse, who can bake her behind off, hates green beans, and also broccoli. So, after many tries, I stumbled into a solution.

                  First, Wal-Mart sells a generic frozen okra. They also sell a generic frozen, as well as fresh. broccoli. There are many other types of green vegetables.

                  It is impossible for any person to detest the consumption of "anything that is green" vegetables. They have to like something. Or, better yet, as in my case, detest something else, even more.

                  So, I get some of the frozen okra, which, much to my surprise, does not have any of the normal sticky-guey consistency of fresh okra. Then, I mix it with some cooked rice, or orzo.

                  Next, I add a small quantity of roughly chopped canned or fresh peeled tomatoes, some Old Bay Seasoning for taste, and lo and behold, she scarfs it down.

                  It is simple. Vegetables, in their original or slightly enhanced state, not only taste good, they also furnish ten times the Vitamin B of a pill capsule, along with the high vegetable fiber we cholesterol conscious folks or yearning for.

                  So, for awhile, try not mixing a can of anything that says "Cream of ?" with any of your vegetable side dishes, and I promise you, your worries will eventually be over.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: puddin

                    Okay your notion ,makes sense. Also caused me to get all Freudian on myself and ask why I am so intent on making them eat green beans in the first place.

                  2. Even my kids like the spaghetti sauce idea. I stir fry them and leave them just a little crunchy.

                    1. I like to mix some bread crumbs, black pepper, and butter or olive oil to make crumbs, and then toss with grated parmesan and the cooked beans.

                      In a totally different vein, mix some crushed/ground sesame seeds with a pinch of sugar and a drizzle of sesame oil, and toss to coat in some of the slightly sweet sesame "crumbs"

                      If the kids are adventuresome, try mixing with just a little bit of a curry simmer sauce to coat (some pretty good jarred ones are available from Trader Joes or regular grocery stores nowadays)
                      Or, a peanut butter-based sauce (spicy peanut sauce, or gado gado sauce)! So many great ways to enjoy grean beans... :)

                      1. when I was a kid, I couldn't stand cooked green beans (and they're not a favorite vegetable now, unless they are roasted with some salt and garlic)--but loved to eat them fresh. Same story with peas and carrots. Perhaps a mix of fresh veggies with a dip they like would be more enticing than the cooked varieties.

                        1. I would have them dip them in cheese. My kids loved the cheese wiz. It's not that healthy but it does make it more appealing.

                          1. Just wondering why it is so important to have them eat green beans. Do they eat other vegetables? I eat almost all vegetables but I HATE green beans. The only way I like them is in sauteed chicken and string beans from the chinese restaurant. (And with all of the oil in that, there's nothing too healthy about it.)

                            1. I have 2 nephews one likes them no matter what and the other doesn't like them, no matter what. We just offer a variety of veg so everyone gets the ones they'll eat a few times during the week.

                              1. I would lightly bread them with panko or regular bread crumbs mixed with parmesan cheese and then lightly pan fry them so they are crispy. Serve with ranch dressing, tomato sauce or melted cheese.

                                1. I mix them with spaghetti sauce, pasta and ground beef.

                                  1. I used to babysit for the pickiest eaters ever -- I stumbled into the craziest but most delicious thing for the kids to eat their string beans.

                                    Sautee the beans in orange juice -- when it reduces it leaves a sweet coating on the beans. I guess if you use the calcium one you get some calcium on the beans too...

                                    After I did this, I started to experiment with adult friendly foods - cook with garlic and then throw in any type of Jam that you have laying around. This is great with Ginger jam, or mixed berry, but anything you have is good.
                                    Caution: Do not use too much Jam - it's gross....

                                    1. I like them stirfried; when nearly done add quite a bit of chopped garlic, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a good amount of unsweetened coconut. The garlic and coconut get nice and golden and crunchy, and it's really good (and both my kids like this one).

                                      1. "Just wondering why it is so important to have them eat green beans. Do they eat other vegetables? I eat almost all vegetables but I HATE green beans."

                                        I decided not to get into that in my initial post, but I completely agree. If it's not an issue of getting them to eat "anything that's not Gummi green," leave 'em alone - why do they have to like green beans in particular? I'm not all into what seems to be current fad of letting kids eat, or not eat, basically anything they want, but on the other hand, I always thought it was ridiculous when my mother insisted that I eat at least "some" of things I didn't like. (I don't mean tasting them, I mean eating the same thing for the thousandth time when I told her every single time that I just didn't like it, and I was never a "picky" eater.) If you have to make them super-sweet or drown them in things like fats, what's the point? It'd be healthier to just let them eat other vegs that they do like or at least tolerate.

                                        1. My partner's mother would serve vegetables with honey on the side for dipping. They ate their vegetables, and honey is good for you too!

                                          1. As a kid, I always liked the cut green beans served out of the can with italian dressing. Kind of like a salad.

                                            1. One word - bacon. Bacon and green beans are made for each other.

                                              I also make a "dressing" sometimes - sesame oil, soy, and oyster sauce. Toss the beans in that and add sesame seeds or almonds - yum!

                                              1. "and honey is good for you too!"

                                                Not every night, unless you're working it into your cooking as a major source of simple carbs.... And given that we're bombarded by overly sweet food to begin with in this country, it seems to me that teaching them that even vegetables should taste like candy is not a very good idea.