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Hiding vegetables from a 5yo

My boy likes peas, corn and nori seaweed (go figure?). That's it. Nothing else. Not even keen on mashed potatoes (again, go figure?).

I have a ceramic Japanese wasabi board which turns carrots etc into a fine pulp in seconds. I try to hide that pulp inside meatballs and marinara sauce but when he eyes even a spec of vegetable (green is the worst!) his appetite vanishes. I used to convince him that dot of spinach was actually seaweed but he no longer falls for it.

So today I had a revelation. What better way to hide green veg than within green veg? I'm going to make him fall in love with English-style mushy peas (he loves peas) and then start sneakily blending spinach into that. Hm, maybe I can even switch edamame for peas.

Pondered other ideas (he loves all fish): mashed carrot hidden in salmon cakes, mashed cauliflower hidden in tuna cakes.

Any other ideas out there? I REALLY want him to eat broccoli but he views it as the most evil thing on Earth. And it seems the most impossible to hide. I'm an advanced cook so don't mind complicated.

(Pls no parenting tips. I'm a long-distance father so only have limited and sporadic control over this. He NEVER gets dessert if he doesn't eat dinner but, in the desire to have little bad feeling when I do have time with him, I try to swing his dinner to his palate so he can have dessert with me. There is another time in the future when I'm living with him and can give it some tough love, but for now I'm interested in the creative cooking aspect of getting veggies into him.)

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  1. green eggs and ham ?
    ( you puree spinach until its smooth and mix it with the eggs for the green eggs)
    curry, you can blend the vegetables until smooth and hide the colour with spices?
    piece pudding and teach him the poem/song?
    foreign vegetables that would be new to him. help him pick a recipe and let him help you cook.
    food week when you guys are together, where you learn about food, try new things and draw/read about them
    tempura with dipping sauces
    battered, fried, naru/abergine/eggplant

    5 Replies
    1. re: merrua

      Green eggs and ham is a great idea -- tackle that green food problem from out of left field. He loves absurd things.

      I also think the tempura idea might work. I have had limited success with vegetable spring rolls (as long as the lights are very dim). Tempura is a bit more flash-fried so healthier, I think.


      1. re: merrua

        You're right. I've been asked point blank if the food I'm giving him (with hidden veggies) has anything he "doesn't like" in it. Talk about putting me on the spot. He doesn't like being made a fool of so trust issues are important. Will need to ponder that one a little longer.

        I have always said the most important thing is he just tries something, even if he doesn't like it. That's easy with a spoon of my food or a piece of something, but when it's a meal I've just spent time cooking him it's frustrating if it's immediately rejected.

        Re overcooked veggies, I totally agree. As a kid I thought brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli were disgusting however wasn't until later I discovered they'd been overcooked my whole childhood.

        1. re: merrua

          That made me laugh. I do remember dry retching as a kid, being forced to eat cold, overcooked cauliflower and such things. Ugh.

          I am a prolific home cook and guess I'm too impatient - his palate will expand eventually. I just see other kids the same age munching on broccoli and carrot but when I ask my boy to try too he insists "I only eat peas and corn". I say why not try something new and he says "but I only eat peas and corn", like it's an unchangeable fact.

          That's why I was trying to find ways to sneak it in.

          1. re: p0lst3r

            As an x- child day care cook and a current public school educator who has worked with some pretty difficult kids...and also a (still) picky eater -- here's my 2 cents.

            If he says he only eats peas and corn say That's right, you only eat peas and corn, then something like, so now that we know that, would you just taste this? then get back to your peas and corn. You are not eating it, just tasting it. You could serve it - just a taste - at a peas and corn meal. the main thing for him is that he is HEARD. Once kids feel they are heard they start to relax and can become more willing to accomodate you. HUMOR is a great strategy. But I would be careful not to make these conversations the focus of the meal. Another way is the reverse psychology thing - drop it. Serve him what he likes and serve yourself what you like and don't slave over meals and get disappointed. Life is too short.. no comment when you serve the 2 different eating options. Just serve and eat. with the stress off, he may come round (eventually)

            I was a picky eater. There were 10 thousand things I did not eat including pizza and potatoes. One day, a baked potato smelled so good, I decided to try it, and now potatoes are one of my fave foods - and i eat them with broccoli, spinach, etc., and many more things now also.

            Another idea is to have a kid friend over and serve you and him green veg or what ever and your kid...peas and corn...in a very matter of fact way. the more you try to entice, the more he will resist.

            The one thing my mother did require of me, though was to deal with food issues politely when at other people's homes. this meant i had to speak up nicely and ask for a pb and j if i saw there were going to be things i did not like, or just eat what I could and not complain, etc. Luckily, I drank milk, and that would always save me.

            On a food strategy note - don't ask me why, but the kids I cooked for LOVED my chinese hot and sour soup that had tofu and spinach in it (was it the sesame oli i added?) and my tiny flounder florentines. I still also learned how to cook a lot of things i will not eat. peanut butter sauces - gado gado or dan dan type sauces were popular too.

            Good luck with all that, but as some earlier people commented -- it gets better. Another involve -in-the food strategy is to start educating aloud (musing/conversational style) on the nutrients provided by different foods and what they do for the body. your starting point, of course...peas and CORN!!! Peas and corn and the PILGRIMS. hmmmmm

            I had several events where adults tried to force me to eat foods i hated. None of these went well, and i still remember them.

            if as a good cook, you just NEED to cook and try things, you might try Chinese artifice cooking - cook broccoli so that it looks like peas for example. Don't try to trick him, but more, put it on the track of something he can tolerate - visually and palate -wise. If he eats potatoes 9sort of), could you make a broccoli/potato (carrot) mash that could be made into pea shapes( or peas, potato brocc mash) and - serves it say as something like..broccoli in the style of peas, or imitation peas, or ....have him help you name it...and yes, use something to get the strong or bitter taste of the broccoli out.. maybe cook it in milk (that sweetens it). then mash up with potato or peas or brocc mashed into corn flour and egg - sort of like a dumpling?, then roll into pea balls...or use a less aversive veg - spinach? parsley/potato peas - fried, perhaps?

            from a fellow (gourmet) picky eater and excellent cook.

            let us know how it goes!

          2. re: merrua

            Bento box is a good idea, for sure. He loves when some effort goes into presentation.

            I make a "baked beans surprise" by doing a very thin one-egg omelet in a large skillet, put baked beans and some cheese in the middle, fold four sides over into a parcel then turn out onto a plate. Loves to take that perfectly sealed parcel and tear it apart to find the beans inside.

            So yes, I can see the bento box would add a bit of play and variety/interest into meal time. Will do some research.


          3. In my experience hiding is counter-productive. Hiding can promote trust issues as they get older, and trust issues can spill into not trying other food. I prefer to wait them out and supplement with a multivitamin if necessary.

            I've found that picking out an 'adventure fruit' or 'adventure vegetable' together once a week can be helpful. That means going to the farmer's market or store together and picking up something foreign and trying it a few different ways. Sometimes you'll like it and sometimes you won't...but you'll keep trying things. Its good modeling. Show him that its okay not to like things, but we keep our minds and palates open.

            Once you get them in that frame of mind (I don't have to eat it, but I will try it and be polite) you keep getting tastes of various vegetables in there until his palate gets used to the idea. Hate will gradually fall away and either enjoyment or neutrality will be his feeling toward most vegetables.

            I have 4 boys and each of them has started out picky in one way or another. This policy has broken down most of their issues, increased their food adventurousness, and the few prejudices that have not changed they are extremely polite about.

            (And make sure you're not overcooking the vegetables. That's killer! If you're unsure try uncooked vegetables or lightly steam or roast them...no sogginess! Grilling them can be fun too.)

            4 Replies
            1. re: Tam38

              What great ideas!

              I would also add that I wouldn't make dessert a reward for eating dinner.

              What my folks did with me and my brother (granted, not picky eaters) was present us with a wide variety of foods. We had to take some of everything, and eat it politely, but it could be a tiny amount (even 1 bite). Nobody gets malnutrition if they are eating the things your child apparently likes!

              Food tastes different to children, and their tastes should be respected but not coddled, if that makes sense. And some food issues are just control issues, I say give them as much control as possible within healthy constraints.

              1. re: Tam38

                cruciferous veggies like broccoli and brussel sprouts may just be strong-tasting for some kids. their palates are far more sensitive to sulphurous or bitter flavors. it's a survival mechanism from when we were knuckle-draggers.

                i also agree that it's a bad idea to sneak/lie/hide or in any way dissemble about food. it turns meals into not just a power struggle but a mind-f**k.

                for some kids it's a textural issue too, so you may want to try veggies prepped different ways -- pureed with butter, roasted with olive and salt, raw with dips, etc.

                for many it may take trying the food several times before they will accept it. make it, plate it, serve it. no discussion.

                either he eats it or he doesn't. he's not gonna die from not eating broccoli.

                your lack of cajoling or reacting may disappoint him and cause surrender, lol.

                would he like helping in the kitchen? helping pick out produce in the store? or helping in the garden if you have one? being more involved in the front end may pique his curiosity.

                1. re: Tam38

                  Hiding is totally counterproductive

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    Regardless of what people think, the OP requested:

                    "Pls no parenting tips...in the desire to have little bad feeling when I do have time with him...There is another time in the future when I'm living with him and can give it some tough love"

                    I assume he took the time to write that for a reason. We might agree or not but it's his request.

                2. Mashed cauliflower works great in mac and cheese. If you can juice, I make blueberry smoothies w/ spinach. It has to be a dark berry so it hides the green. Cherries also work. Cucumbers are great w/ watermelon, though not a nutritious powehouse. Quick breads are great. The problem w/ hiding most greens is the color in anything lighter.

                  Oh, shredded cabbage or mushrooms make meatloaf really moist and you can't see/taste it. I even put it in taco meat and chili.

                  1. Spaghetti sauce is a great way to hide pureed carrots or sweet potato. I've also included roasted red peppers but that does alter the taste, the other two just make it sweeter. Start slow with small amounts so the taste becomes normal and then increase the amounts. Going big at first usually backfires.

                    Have you tried raw veggies instead of cooked? I had to lower my standards and let the kiddo eat raw veggies with ranch dressing and be happy that she was eating plant foods (not my child, complicated situation so I had to be very careful with the "tough love" approach.)

                    1. You can make "rice" by putting cauliflower in food processor and pulsing a few times, works for my kids. You could try using broccoli stalks for this too i bet.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: sbs401

                        "cauliflower rice" ... that's a crazy idea that might just work

                        You mean raw cauliflower? Or slightly cooked?

                        1. re: sbs401

                          Cool, I can see there are also "Eating the Alphabet" companion lesson plans online too. Will get hold of this book, for sure.

                          1. re: sbs401

                            Not living together at the moment but we soon will. And growing veggies (and sprouts) would be a perfect thing for us to do together :-)

                            1. re: sbs401

                              Oh wow -- kale chips!! Never thought of that.

                              So much like nori in look and texture.

                              That is brilliant!!!!

                              1. re: sbs401

                                Thanks for that :-) Actually on balance there has been lots of great food advice and it's much appreciated. Don't mind some of the gentle nudges with parenting when it's explained from personal experience and interwoven with food discussion, but it's funny how blunt some people can be ("don't lie to your child!!"). And all I could do was laugh when someone started quoting the ten commandments!

                                BTW, here is pic of the vegetable rebel himself.

                                  1. re: p0lst3r

                                    <<<faints from adorableness overload.

                                    let him eat circus peanuts all day!

                                    1. re: p0lst3r

                                      Ah. I see your problem. Looks like One Tough Hombre. :-)

                                  2. Both The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious cookbooks feature recipes that include hidden fruit and vegetables.

                                    1. Hiding Vegetables From Kids, The Sneaky Chef

                                      Hiding Vegetables in Food

                                      10 Recipes For Kids With Hidden Veggies Inside

                                      Kids Don't Mind If You Put Veggies In The Cake - NPR

                                      1. I have a lot of luck with adding shredded zucchini to a variety of things...tacos, lamb burgers, etc. Once the kids know they like the dish, I tell them what was in there and then they know they don't "hate zucchini." Also, favorite gateway ingredients go a long way...around here that's pesto, smoked paprika, cinnamon/Moroccan flavors, bacon/prosciutto, etc.

                                        Nice that you are trying with your limited time with your son...so many wouldn't! And I agree with not making dinner a battle. Enjoy the time together. But there are some great ideas here that I am considering as well.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mebby

                                          Also, have you read the book "Eating the Alphabet" by Lois Ehlert with him? Doesn't mean that he'll fall in love with vegetables, but it is a fun, beautiful book that both my kids really enjoyed and when the time has come, they have readily recognized many fruits and vegetables from there with excitement.

                                        2. I put pureed butternut in my chowpup's mac and cheese. Carrot, butternut or sweet potato puree in pancakes or muffins.
                                          Is he one of the ones who tastes the bitter in broccoli? You might never win that one.
                                          Hang in there!

                                          1. Have faith.

                                            I am the mother of a trained professional chef with a family of his own.

                                            When he was around 5 or 6 I told him he had to eat one green bean just to try it. He put the green bean in his mouth, bit down on it and promptly threw up all over the table.

                                            It does get better.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chicgail

                                              I second this comment. Similar was for myself. The pallet broadens when they are ready.

                                            2. Have you tried growing vegetables with him, if possible? I used to teach children nutrition and gardening skills in schools. Picky, veggie-hating eaters abounded. However, there was something magical to many of those kids about planting a seed, watching it grow, harvesting and then eating the results. Kids who had sworn off greens ate swiss chard, garlic scapes, lettuce-other-than-iceberg, etc. Even if you only have a windowsill, perhaps you could plant a couple pea seeds to start, since he does like peas, and move on from there. Would probably be a neat project for him to check progress on every time he's with you.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. I too am not a believer in sneaking veggies. First of all the amount you can truly "sneak" makes no major nutrutional impact. Secondly how will the kids know they "like" them unless you eventually confess?

                                                The best thing you can do is model good eating behavior and consistently offer veggies in all shapes and colors. But just offer-no bribing, begging, cajoling one-more-biting. Don't give more power to dessert by making veggies be the "bad guy". Also start thinking of dessert as fresh berries with whip cream, carrot muffins, chocolate zucchini bread. Show him that veggies can be yummy.

                                                Make veggies fun too. My son loved broccoli "trees", radish flowers, ants-on-a-log (celery with peanut butter and raisins) or go on line and check of the myriad of videos and how to turn any veggie into a work of art.

                                                Lastly- get involved in a co-op, farm share, CSA or grow some of your own It has been proven time and time again that kids buy into healthy food when they are involved in the cooking and growing process.

                                                1. Presentation? Maybe your son would have fun with a bento box. They seem to be rice heavy but the little compartments may make it more fun.

                                                  Although you'll have to practice sculpting octopi out of carrots.

                                                  1. When my son was a young child and didn't care for certain vegetables two things made a big difference. Starting a garden in the yard and going to the green markets with me. Letting him select, bag and prepare the vegetables at home got him more interested. So, involving him in the food decisions even at 5 years old made a difference in the power struggle.

                                                    His brother had texture issues with certain foods and that made many foods beyond vegetables a struggle for a while but eventually he found enough foods that he enjoyed that I worried less about his dietary choices. Today he's still the fussier of my children but he's also the best baker in our family.

                                                    My daughters never gave me a bit of trouble over food...but don't get me started on the non food issues we've had, HA!

                                                    So my advice, get him involved in every aspect of meal planning. Let him fill the pot, stir the wok, pick the green beans from the market and even break up the broccoli head into small pieces. Any involvement.

                                                    But don't hide foods and don't reward with food. In the short and long term you create new issues in the process. Food is a celebration-and we all celebrate differently!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      Agreed. Involving your child in buying and cooking the vegetables can help. He can gain pride in all he's done and will be more likely to eat it.

                                                    2. My toddler loves anything she can dip so raw or lightly steamed vegetables work great for this.

                                                      Also, she loves frozen vegetables straight from the freezer. No cooking done at all. Frozen peas are her favourite.

                                                      Kale chips are another hit. She helps with the prep.

                                                      Seaweed salad (dried wakame that's been soaked) is a favourite too.

                                                      Good luck :)

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Frizzle

                                                        My daughter loves everything you mentioned.
                                                        She'll also eat anything that can be dipped in hummus

                                                      2. I REALLY don't recommend "sneaking" food into children so I love this true story: a visiting grandfather, determined to sneak liver into his five grandchildren, ground it up and put it in spaghetti sauce. The well-behaved Catholic children knew better than to say what they thought of it, except for the two year-old who was barely starting to speak in sentences. Her "What in hell is this?" broke the silent tension and the older children erupted in shrieks, fell off chairs, etc.

                                                        1. My daughter ate everything so even though I only had her part-time food wasn't an issue in her upbringing.

                                                          That said, honesty trumps some notion of nutrition in parenting. Relax about this and enjoy your time together.

                                                          My ninety-one year old father who's a retired obstetrician says he's yet to see the child who starved to death in the midst of plenty.

                                                          1. Some kids enjoy blanched/slightly steamed veg much more than either raw or fully cooked.
                                                            If he doesn't enjoy the flowers of broccoli, he might still tolerate the stems, if peeled, cut into matchsticks and lightly cooked.
                                                            How about an edamame hummus with something to dip?
                                                            Good for you, in wanting to accommodate your son's palate so that mealtime isn't a battle. Keep trying.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: KarenDW

                                                              I'm going to second the hummus idea. I've heard a lot of kids will eat all sorts of vegetables in this way. It can even be used as a sandwich spread.

                                                            2. plant a garden? or patio containers...if they grow it they're more likely to eat it....lettuces and spinach, radishes, onions, beans tomatoes are all easy first time garden choices. --maybe too late for this season but a nice project for next spring?

                                                              1. Geez, folks!

                                                                The OP did not ask for parenting advice nor how to become a farmer while his kid lives some distance away.

                                                                The only answers requested are for ways to disguise veggies in foods the child will enjoy.

                                                                Frankly, with children growing up to lead productive lives even after witnessing wars, murder, mayhem and abuse, I think this OP's child will survive the buried green veggie or two in all probability.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                  Exactly! Especially since the OP specifically requested that. I personally don't think hiding vegetables in food is going to mess up a child for life, especially with a father who is concerned enough about the child, as the OP seems. My kids have never asked for a list of ingredients in what I make. If I added powdered milk to thicken lasagna sauce and increase their calcium, I don't think it's really deceitful.

                                                                2. When previious neighbor's daughter was moving to REAL food, they used this grinder thingie. They always had a great garden and Dad loved to fish. Remember the combo of SUPER FRESH bluefish and zukes cooked on the grill. It made a DISGUSTING looking gray/green mess, but she gobbled it up

                                                                  I'd just encourage "one bite" of anything new. Growing up it was totally unacceptable to say you didn't like something if you'd never even tried it before?? My sweet, 60-something SIL does this with several foods she;s NEVER put in her mouth... just WRONG IMNSHO!!

                                                                  I didn't like shrimp at all, but Dad did. If that was dinner... that was dinner. Now I love them.

                                                                  Knew someone who told her kid that brussel sprouts were "Martian heads"... guess idea of eating heads of little green men was intriguing to a 6-7 yo.

                                                                  1. Color it blue and tell him its fuel for Thomas the Tank Engine!

                                                                    1. Do you think he would venture a bite of broccoli cheese soup? If you make it from scratch, and puree the broccoli as the thickener, and just add a little cream and cheese, it can be pretty healthy. The broccoli does leave green flecks in the yellowish soup, however.

                                                                      I saw a recipe the other day for a dark chocolate cherry smoothie that incorporated a little spinach as well (the green color was disguised by the dark cherry color. It was basically frozen cherries, milk (cows milk or almond or whatever you use), cocoa powder, sweetener, and spinach. Using darker berries like blueberries would disguise the spinach as well.

                                                                      If part of the issue is getting thing blended enough, a vitamix blender might be a worthwhile investment, if that's not too far out of budget... you can get older models on Ebay or craigslist for cheaper than brand new.

                                                                      1. Pretty easy to put zuchinni, beets, or squash into baked goods like tea breads, cakes, or brownies. The veggies add a lot of moisture and sort of dissolve into the batter.

                                                                        1. Here's a couple thoughts. Also, my kid will want to drink anything an adult has, so maybe give carrot juice a shot? lol. And maybe try buying baby food, it is extremely pureed and may be easier to hide.

                                                                          Pumpkin muffins
                                                                          sweet potato chips/kale chips
                                                                          zucchini pizza boats
                                                                          pumpkin ravioli
                                                                          zucchini pasta
                                                                          cucumber sandwiches (cucumber slice, cheese, meat, cucumber slice)
                                                                          cauliflower rice

                                                                          1. Don't want to clog this list with all of the thank you replies, but I'm overwhelmed with all of the thoughtful responses.

                                                                            I will see my boy this coming Saturday for 2.5wks -- you've given me soooooo many ideas to run with :-)

                                                                            THANKS !!!!!!

                                                                            1. I recently entered into a relationship with pre-teens who had never eaten any vegetables other than frozen peas and frozen corn.

                                                                              They were equally as dubious about trying FRESH vegetables of any kind and I stumbled on a brilliant compromise...

                                                                              I would make a particular vegetable (Brussels sprouts, for example) and sprinkle it with sugar, giving it a sweet taste. All they had to do was agree to one bite and because it was relatively sweet, they enjoyed eating it.

                                                                              I then did this with spinach, broccoli, zucchini, etc... Each time, I would sprinkle it with sugar and they would enjoy it eating it.

                                                                              Then, little by little, as I prepared the same vegetables for them again -- and reminded them that they had enjoyed them before! -- I would slowly decrease the amount of sugar I added.

                                                                              Now, a full year later, these kids have developed a palate of vegetables they enjoy eating that contain NO sugar whatsoever. I sort of tricked them into eating it in the first place because they were so used to sugary foods, and now they enjoy all sorts of vegetables they would have never eaten before!

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                  another method is to lightly boil the veggies in water that has both salt and sugar added. made my grown b/f learn to love asparagus and it worked on his veggie-hating kids too.

                                                                                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                    You didn't trick them... you made it edible for their palate. One of the reasons that peas and corn are so yummy is their natural sugar content, and people eat honeyed or caramelised things like carrot all the time. I wonder if it would help the OP to offer his son some nice sweet vegetable preparations to try? They don't have to be drowned in sugar, and over time the sweetness can be lowered if they're accepted.

                                                                                    1. re: CarrieWas218

                                                                                      Similarly, my daughter loved sweet potatoes/butternut with maple syrup. I decreased the amount, and now I prepare them plain.

                                                                                    2. I hide them in my kid's lunch bag. He never finds them.

                                                                                      1. V8 juice has a lot of veggies in it.

                                                                                        1. So I have been thinking about this one a little since I first replied. And I came up with a couple of ideas.

                                                                                          Firstly you said he hates green specifically, so how about this. For one meal a week or how ever often, make everything green. Kind of desensitize him to the color. Imagine his surprise coming to the table and everything is washed a deep green. So green drink, green protein, carb, and dessert. Can do this with things like food coloring or other options like matcha for a healthier option. So a sample would be, green pancakes, and green eggs, with green milk and maybe green butter and green powdered sugar topping. All easy with food coloring or matcha. Perhaps it can become a fun thing then maybe the color will be less of a issue for trying.

                                                                                          The second idea would be smoothies. I am not sure if you have ever seen a beet or red cabbage smoothie (one looks blood red and the other neon purple). But those are examples of things being very healthy and yet extremely colorful and quite kid friendly.

                                                                                          Anyways hope it all works out for you and try to have fun with it.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: NekoNekoFancyPants

                                                                                            That's a pretty cool idea, indeed.

                                                                                            We'll have a red day first - lots of things he likes plus some beets in a strawberry smoothy or something. Then a green day.

                                                                                            Will give it a try. Would love him to give up on the resistance to green and this really tackles it head on, but in a fun way.

                                                                                          2. Hi p0lst3r, I hear your pain. The problem with cooking vegetables so much is you lose the enzymes. I loved vegetables when I was little not because they tasted good to me at the time, but because my grandmother made it fun. Have you tried a chinese hot pot? You have boil pot of broth and various meats and fresh vegetables surrounding the hot pot. You cook it as you go. Your son may not eat vegetables at first but he will learn to participate. I think kids do thing nowaday because they learn and they want to be like someone, like you in this case. Don't force him to eat while you dipping your vegetables in the hot pot - after a few times, I think that he may join in. Good luck!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: nagill590

                                                                                              cheese fondue is another option.

                                                                                              he's also a growing little boy so don't fear adding some fats to his veggies -- like butter, cream, cheese or even bacon make everything taste better.

                                                                                            2. Try this; I think he'll like it. Many Japanese vegetable dishes are on the sweet side, so kids generally like them. (It's fun to serve them on udon noodles for slurping.)

                                                                                              1. One trick learned from watching Costco Vitamix demonstrations is that you can carve a mini block of cabbage and blend it in with fruit, agave (or honey), even a stick of carrot. Or turn that stuff into sorbet/ice cream after adding more ice cubes.

                                                                                                Japanese gyoza (usually grilled or pan fried), or regional Chinese boiled dumplings...pork and cabbage for example, are a lot easier to stomach than just eating plain veggies. Plus it's fun for the kids to dip it in ponzu sauce if they like that flavor.

                                                                                                How about minestrone with a lot of cheese?

                                                                                                Some kids like dipping blanched broccoli into ranch dressing, or soften it up in chicken noodle soup.

                                                                                                As a kid I hated brussel sprouts, but only because it tasted bitter quite a lot of the time.

                                                                                                Kale chips are a great idea...you can marinate with miso or even add cocoa powder to make a sweet version, then stick them in a dehydrator (Sedona, Excalibur make some good dehydrators but they take time). Lots of youtube receipes out there.

                                                                                                1. My little boy is in his 30's but when he was in day care I was amazed at how 15 three year olds happily ate their trees (broccoli spears). I have heard raves from modern day parents of toddlers over the joys of Trader Joe's frozen shelled edamame. One mother was so upset that they were out I helped her troll the freezer at Trader Joe's looking for a stray bag. They were her child's favorite snack! Can't wait to try them on my year old grandson.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                    Mine loved edamame, too. -- I used to actually bring them for snacks during football....he shared during one practice, and a bunch of 7-year-old boys snarfed down an entire bag of edamame and begged me to bring more next week.

                                                                                                    The other moms asked me what spell I used to enchant them all...but those boys soon started eating edamame as snacks every night!

                                                                                                    We (the team moms)also started bringing iced-down (super cold) fruit (orange sections and chunks of watermelon) as snacks on game day. Hydration, nice and cool, some sugar and carbs....and none of it came out of a foil wrapper.

                                                                                                    1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                      My kiddo loves edamame, and defrosted trader joes peas

                                                                                                    2. I've got a 9yo and a 7yo who luckily are great eaters but could use some prompting in the veggie department. They love broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, etc but don't care for others. What I do is hide the veggies somewhat (ie I don't leave it in its original form), but then after they've tried it, I tell them what it was. We have a "you must try it" rule in our house.

                                                                                                      For example, zucchini in zucchini chocolate chip muffins (peel it to hide the shreds even more -- I peeled it the first time but don't peel it anymore). Meatloaf is a great way to hide things like carrots, celery, onions, etc. You can puree carrots and zucchini and mix it into spaghetti sauce. My son claims to hate mushrooms but loves cream of mushroom soup. He knows its mushrooms, but eats it anyway. Same with onion rings -- he supposedly hates onions, but loves onion rings.

                                                                                                      I saw someone else mentioned the bento meals. I pack bento style lunches for my kids and incorporate fruits and veggies that way -- not much, but more as garnishes. My daughter eats them all, my son picks and chooses.

                                                                                                      One place my kids love to go is Souplantation, of all places. We don't care for it much, but it's a great place for kids. My kids will eat more salad and veggies there for 1 meal than they have for the last 3 meals. We suck it up and go there sometimes, but you could always try letting him put together his own salad creation at home to make it more fun. He may be more inclined to eat it if he makes it himself.

                                                                                                      Kids are fickle, but make it fun for him and he'll be more open. I do recommend telling him after the fact that he ate it, so he doesn't think he's getting away with not eating the stuff. You can say "see? you did like the carrots that way!"

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                                                                                                      1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                        and veggies in the meatloaf also means it stays moist and flavorful, too.

                                                                                                      2. Best Book Ever on feeding kids is called "How to get your kid to eat--but not too much" by Ellyn Satter. Her advice is spot on: your job is to shop and prepare a wide variety of foods ( mostly healthy) and their job is to eat it. Put it on the table and enjoy mealtime, no particular attention given to what ANYONE is eating.

                                                                                                        That said I also had great success getting my kids to eat straight from the garden or farm....if they get to pick it they usually love to eat it!

                                                                                                        Ps my kids are 16 and eat just about anything, so I can vouch for the method in the book.

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                                                                                                        1. re: applgrl

                                                                                                          Satter is definitely the way to go. We never make an issue of eating veggies. Last night my daughter was, to my surprise, eating baingan bharta, a dish I HATED as a child (slimy Indian eggplant dish). Give them enough opportunities to try something and eventually they'll come around. This approach is especially good since you don't want to waste time fighting about food!

                                                                                                        2. I wouldn't assume that a kid who dislikes a vegetable cooked one way, dislikes that vegetable. The way something is cooked makes a big difference!

                                                                                                          I would suggest that you expand the range of nutritious fruits you offer. I've read that kiwi is healthy in the same way green vegetables are, for example, and I try to regularly give my kids red and purple fruits, especially the various dark berries, like cranberries and blueberries. I think dried fruits are a nice treat, including raisins, dates, apricots, and prunes. Having more new fruits he likes may eventually open him up to more vegetables, but it will also provide more vitamins and fiber in the interim.

                                                                                                          I have a book called Miracle Foods for Kids by Juliette Kellow and Sunil Vijayakar that highlights 25 healthy foods (not all fruits/vegetables) and gives various appealing preparations for each. I think it's now out of print, but if you find a copy, it may give you some ideas.

                                                                                                          1. Have you tried a spiralizer?
                                                                                                            It's a gizmo that makes hard vegetables into long strands, like spaghetti.
                                                                                                            Works great with zucchini, yellow squash. A friend of mine used it when her daughter went through a very picky stage at 6ish

                                                                                                            1. Mashed potatoes mixed with sweet potato are a hit in my house.