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Aug 29, 2007 11:56 AM

New green food ideas for toddlers

Hi... I've been trying to give my 2 1/2 year old twin boys a rounded diet and so I attempt to have one green and one organge or red veggie at each meal. We've been doing green beans, asparagus, snap peas, endamame, and broccoli - all just steamed and then chopped. I've also included spinach and kale in prepared dishes (spinach pesto, spinach pie, kale salad). Anyway, I'm looking for some new ideas (recipes or just chopped/steamed) for green veggies. The boys don't care for the summer squashes so zucchini is out. I'm not a veggie person myself and so I need some help please... thanks.

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  1. lima beans, regular peas, snow peas, and broccoli rabe come to mind.

    you might want to check out this blog for ideas: http://www.greatbigvegchallenge.blogs...

    it's really wonderful!

    2 Replies
    1. re: nc213

      Wow, what a great blog/site. Thanks so much.

      1. re: nc213

        love lima beans with a little butter and parmesan cheese.

        also, try shredding/grating brussel sprouts, then stirfrying in a little olive oil and adding a little cheese of choice. or, roasted sprouts are great too.

        i make a great broccoli or spinach souffle... cooked veggies blended with lipton's onion soup mix, ricotta cheese, sour cream, and egg (whites).. i use skim dairy.

        also, have you tried making zucchini noodles using a spirulina slicer? they're fun and yummy.

        artichokes are fun to eat but a bit dangerous at that age, so what of the hearts... yum.

        celery roasted is really the best, as it gets so sweet IMO.

        stewed cabbage was a favorite of mine growing up... sweet'n'sour too.

        does cucumber count as a green veggie? make a salad with tomatoes and onions (if they like them) and some italian or balsamic salad dressing... or a yogurt dressing.

        one other dish i like to make is greens (collards, kale, mustard, bok choy, asparagus) with chopped garlic stewed/cooked in miso broth [i also add in a variety of wild mushrooms, but that's more adult obviously, and i do add a protein, either egg whites or tofu]

        perhaps some fruit too? kiwi is another good green food... i made great kiwi white choc chip muffins the other day, as a side note... but they're a great unique food. honeydew too.

        i know you want green foods, and broccoliflour is one, but i also love the idea of orange cauliflower and purple cauliflower (new colors/foods to add to the repetoire)

      2. Mine (same age) will eat lima beans and english peas. He eat's zucchini if it's grated - in a gratin or, favorite of all, in fritters or pancakes (sweet or savory). Cucumbers, without seeds - but that's not very green! Darn it - he just woke up...

        4 Replies
        1. re: lupaglupa

          We haven't had much luck with English/green peas but maybe it's time to try again now that they are eating the snap peas.

          1. re: burbankfoodie

            We let him shell them fresh from the garden and now he's very into them.

          2. re: lupaglupa

            I second the zucchini pancake idea. they're really good!

            I also like to add zucchini and kale to turkey meatballs (blitz the kale in the food processor, then add toasted bread and process into crumbs, then add a small shredded zucchini, and other ingredients). My 3 year old loves them, and they're fairly green--I use at least half a bunch of lacinato kale per 1 lb of turkey.

            I'll also make a big pot of slow cooked chard and spoon it into her quesadilla. So, none of these really make a nice green side dish, but they are a good way to get greens into your kid.


            1. re: Budino

              We do turkey meatballs - I add pesto to them since my son will eat anything with pesto. I will have to try adding greens, that's a good idea.

          3. if you aren't averse to fat or sodium in small doses, I find that homemade teriyaki sauce or bechamel with garlic go a long way towards helping those veggies go down. A nutritionist friend said that adding fat or sauce does actually physiologically help the fibrous stuff to slide down the throat, which helps the little ones.
            edamame hummus is pretty popular here

            1 Reply
            1. re: alex8alot

              We actually dip the veggies (mostly just the broccoli as they will eat the others plain typically without a lot of prodding) into applesauce. But, good to know about the whole fat/sauce helping it go down their throat more smoothly. Thanks.

            2. For my toddler. who us 20 month now, is definitely developing a palate. He eats what we eat pretty much.
              Instead of using the broccoli tops, I cook him the stems of the broccoli, peel the outer skin, and cut them into small sticks and saute until softer so he can pick it up. The top part of veggie feels bad to him and puts him off and he sure enough he will scrape his tongue with his hand. So to get him to eat it I went for the stem, that's my trick to get him to eat broccoli.
              I also saute cabbage make it soft, and small, is another good one, as long as he can pick it up he will. I use the same flavorings as I would for us, garlic which he loves, seasonings, nothing too hot. I think that steamed veggies might not be interesting enough and bland, green beans out of a can (which he loves) have salt on them from the canning process, probably why kids will go for that. Buy the wax ones too if thats the only green ones they'll eat.

              But when I hear "mmmmmm dats goooood!" I know that he likes the flavor! Oh yes sure, I've worked on getting him to say that line quite a while now but he now knows when to use it.
              He is big on smelling things right now too. I find that if he likes the smell he will eat it.
              Yesterday, he bit into a corner of a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie getting one of the chips (semi dark) Patooey, out on the floor... go figure.

              3 Replies
              1. re: chef chicklet

                I think you have an amazing variety already! Don't despair when in about another 6 months they refuse what they have happily eaten from the beginning. I used to make a 5 minute polenta, and add finely chopped bits of chard. Also, fresh or frozen pea soup was a hit (just saute a little onion and garlic really well, add the peas, a little fresh basil if he likes basil, and then puree. Roast a sheet pan of cut potatoes tossed with sea salt and olive oil, and another one of fresh string beans, tossed with the same stuff, and roast at 400 degrees until the potatoes are soft (they will take a bit longer) and the green beans are going bright green. Toss it all together with some toasted pine nuts (or no nuts). Raw peppers are great dipped in a little peanut butter that has some soy sauce, a little peach preserves and lime juice stirred in. Roasted butternut squash makes a great soup or puree or even just in the chunks right from the oven.

                1. re: fayehess

                  Hi Fayefood... thanks. When you made the polenta and added the chard (I've not made/eaten chard myself before), is it just raw and you add it at the end finely chopped (or maybe even whirled in the food processor?)? Thanks everyone for the suggestions. My own vegetable limitations are really showing themselves.

                  1. re: burbankfoodie

                    I'm a little obsessive, so I would wilt the chard with a little garlic and olive oil (get a whole piece of garlic cut in half just going a golden in the pan; add chard) for a moment and then cut it pretty finely before adding it to the polenta. You so don't have to be obsessive, and can just wash and chop the chard and then add it right to the polenta with no problem. The heat of the polenta will cook it. Add a little cold milk or homemade chicken stock to cool the polenta down before serving. And don't forget that parmesan cheese (the good stuff) is the highest in calcium of all the cheeses. And if you buy really good olive oil, the make up of the fats are closer to the fats in mother's milk than anything else. If you make potato leek soup (throw peeled potatoes and cut and cleaned leeks into the pan with some olive oil, stir around for a minute, then cover with water just to the top; add salt to taste, cover with a lid and about a minute before it's done, add either broccoli or spinach or carrots, or a combination and then puree in the food processor. This freezes really well and you can even puree cooked cannellini in there.
                    My son's favorite drink was whole milk yogurt thinned with orange juice.
                    Sorry for going on and on; it's all coming back to me now.

              2. I was confusing in my answer; ditch the garlic after you have infused the oil (or use it for yourself) and chop the chard fine enough so that there wouldn't have to be a whole lot of chewing involved.