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May 21, 2007 11:07 AM

When White and Offwhite are the favorite food choice

Looking for some ideas from you experienced parent hounds - Do you have any tricks, disguises or magic spells to get your children to eat vegetables - especially those green things!

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  1. Cheese sauce and ranch dressing!

    1. I make mac-n-cheese sauce by cooking cauliflower in a bit of milk until tender, pureeing the lot, and adding cheese. Part cauliflower and part carrot also works.

      My daughter also loves fruit smoothies. So I cook sliced carrot in the microwave until tender, then puree with banana, milk, and berries.

      Spinach and cheese seems to be a combo that goes down pretty easy - like in spanakopita. I also puree spinach into pizza sauce.

      1. There is a new cookbook called the Sneaky Chef that I just bought through Amazon. It has alot of great ideas for disguising veggies in food for kids. The cauliflower in mac and cheese is one.

        1. My daughter (5) LOVES LOVES LOVES the frozen organic broccoli florets from Costco, we just reheat them and add a pat of butter and she will eat literally a pound of it.

          I prefer fresh broccoli. She complained. I investigated. The big difference is that in the freezing processing the broccoli is blanched. I think they mainly do this for food safety issues and to preserve color, but it has an additional effect -- it de-activates some of the enzymes that give broccoli its somewhat "bitter greens" undertone and enhances the sweetness.

          I guess it is pretty well known that kids palates tend to be overwhelmed more easily than that of older folks so that anything that we can do to keep things squarely in the "sweet" zone is appreciated.

          I now blanch and mostly she is happy. Same thing works with other cruciferous veggies, and even some legumes. I have googled and found that there are studies that find extended boiling to really whack the anti-oxidant content of veggies, but I try to keep the blanch as short as possible and the alternative is 'no veggies' or worse...

          1 Reply
          1. re: renov8r

            Vegetables are blanched before freezing to immediately kill the enzymes in them that cause them to deteriorate. Your fresh broccoli continues to deteriorate since it isn't blanched. Blanching does brighten the color and also makes most vegetables sweeter, not just cruciferous vegetables. Try it with carrot sticks. Wow - like candy!
            It's great for a plate of crudités - keeps them bright, sweet and crisp for much longer on a buffet table. You can cut them a day ahead and they stay beautiful.
            Blanching should take only a few seconds before the veggies are plunged into an ice water bath. Longer than that and you're cooking them.

          2. Not a parent, but in my experience feeding kids vegetables, giving them something to dip them in tends to do the trick. Kids like dipping things, and so if they get fun dipping sauces (even an assortment) they'll eat anything they can dip.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JasmineG

              I agree- kids love dipping! I have a neice and nephew over a lot. They are 3 and 5- and will eat almost anything, so getting them to eat vegatables is not difficult. I do, however, ginve each of them their own "dipping bowl". Whether it is ketchup, gravy, dip , salad dressing or any other condiment, they love it. I use the kind of small dipping bowls used in most Thai restaurants for peanut sauce, etc.. They love it.