A friend of mine asked me to do a Blog post on how to get your kids to like Broccoli. After laughing out loud at the request I thought, “ hey thats a great idea!” Now do I believe that I can teach you how to make every kid in the world like broccoli? Ummmm No! I do know that I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help your kids learn to appreciate their “broccoli” or whatever their food vice is. I will use Broccoli in this post but please understand that you are to substitute whatever devil vegetable is beating you.
Know you will Succeed!
One of the mistakes we make when introducing foods to our little one is that we enter the challenge with a great deal of self doubt. We figure they will not like it, we figure it will be a challenge, and we figure we are going to fail. I believe this is our biggest mistake because as with anything else our children feel us and are constantly reading us. When we are scared they know. When we are uncomfortable they know. When we are happy and excited they know. Think back to all those times when your kids were babies and they woke up three times the night before you have to get up early for a big trip. They were not waking because God wanted to start off your wonderful family vacation with anger, resentment, and sleep deprivation. They were waking because they were feeling your anxiety or excitement. Our children “feel” us. The challenge of molding our little clean eaters is no different. The first thing you need to do is KNOW that your going to succeed! Will you succeed every time? Will you succeed the first time? Probably not but, you WILL succeed.
If all else fails, try, try again!
Thats right it may take several attempts to get that little one to realize they like “broccoli”. As we mature our taste buds mature as well. We come into this world with highly sensitive taste buds. Sweet can be VERY sweet and Salty can be VERY Salty. That is why watching your kiddo taste a lemon for the first time is so hysterical. That lemon is really sour for them. A trick I always suggest to try first before you even try a strong vegetable is see what they think of a Lemon. Lemon’s are a strong flavor and little ones either love it or hate it. If you have a little one that loves it then there is a good chance they can handle the shock of the stronger vegetables. If your little one is a lemon no go then figure you will be easing in the stronger veggies. Start by adding these vegetables to sauces and soups. As your child’s taste buds mature so will the amount of veggies you introduce “straight up”. Also remember what they hate today they will love tomorrow so remember every day is a brand new day.
This Family Eats Broccoli!
Thats right, we eat broccoli. Those will be the words uttered over and over again when your ankle biters give you the lip. Remind them that as a family we try to eat lots of different foods and broccoli is going to be one of them. They will learn that every member of the family “tries” different foods. Now we all know not everyone likes everything. I can not do cream corn, ugh! I tell you what, when someone has a true dislike you will know. Picture an exorcist, green goo moment. That is when you know as a parent that “peas” may not work out for JR.
They need to OWN the Broccoli!
I am know for the phrase, owning your food but this is for real. When a child has a resistance to a certain vegetable I recommend they get personally involved with the vegetable. They help you pick it out at the store, they help decide how you are going to cook it, and then they help you cook it. Now I know you may be having a dinner of broccoli with grape jelly and catsup but trust me it is worth it. Just as with adults when you have ownership in something you value it more. This little exercise also reminds your children that you are fun and you are flexible. I am pretty sure these two ideas are lost when you are shoving broccoli down their throat.
If you have aligned your thinking, tried multiple times, and gotten them involved and they are still a no go, you can always rely on the passive aggressive approach to feeding your children… Sneak it in!