Can’t Get Them To Eat Their Veggies? Try It 3 Ways!
No more yuck face!
I recently had a conversation with another real foodie on how to get reluctant family members to at least try their veggies. That sparked an idea. Real foodies tend to spend A LOT of time in the kitchen. When you prepare each meal from scratch, you kinda want people to eat it and eat it. Giving those uninterested parties options may make all the difference. Give them a say in what they eat and learn why they do or don’t like certain dishes. You’d be surprised by what a difference that will make in both of your lives. Maybe broccoli is a hit roasted instead of the usual limp and boiled or spinach is crying out for cream cheese. Roasted veggies are always well-received in my house. Much to his bewilderment, my husband now craves my roasted Brussels sprouts. Make it any other way and none of us will eat it.
Veggies tend to be the first to get chucked out the window when it comes to craveable foods. They’re chock full of nutrients but aren’t necessarily the first to tempt your taste buds. They also are full of fiber that can be hard to digest. If digestion is a problem, look into gut healing. There are a few ways to do it, but we chose to follow the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet protocol with great success. It also seems to be a cure-all for picky eaters (often a result and common symptom of gut disorders). If that’s not your issue, read on folks!
Taste buds that are deadened with processed food take some time to adapt to real food so be patient. If your children live on Stouffer’s lasagna, takeout pizza, Doritos, and soda, you may be fighting an uphill battle. “But that’s all they’ll eat!” Baby steps. Start making some REAL FOOD versions of their favorites. Stuck for ideas? Google “real food” and the food or recipe you’re looking for. You’ll get a whole host of different options than you’re used to getting.
On to the method…
Let’s start with the obvious. Pick a vegetable. Don’t start with the pariah of the house. Pick either a new or indifferent one. Look up recipes and cooking methods and choose three that look relatively simple, tasty, and can be incorporated into a regular meal plan in your house. Roasted, sauteed, and raw or lacto-fermented are often my go to methods. Make them as your side dishes for a relaxed meal and have a conversation about them. If you are not a kitchen table family, spread out a blanket and have a picnic on the floor instead of camping in front of the TV. Does someone love browned and crunchy? Hate soft and mushy? Love to dip and dunk? Find out, take notes, and incorporate those preference into future meal choices. Once you get some ideas on what they prefer, get them in the kitchen and show them how to prepare those foods that get a thumbs up. They may just learn a new appreciation for some old foods.
Get creative. Make score cards every member of your family who is eating (don’t forget the cook!). Use the cards to rate each preparation and make comments. Maybe draw or stamp pics – thumbs up, yuck face, “meh” for take it or leave it, etc. – next to each food name so they can be circled if you have little ones or reluctant teens. Use a number system. If you are stumped for ideas, have a family meeting and brainstorm together. Do whatever gets your family involved.
I’m including options for a few of our favorite veggies to get your brain juices flowing.
- tater tots
- raw or lightly steamed with dip
- “mac” & cheese
- stuffed (mmm galumpkis)
- stir fry
- raw with dip
Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.
When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.