A Few Tips to Help a Picky-eater Kid Fall in Love With Vegetables

Even the fussiest children will be drawn to vegetables if you allow the experience to be fun, beautiful, tasty. No need to hide or camouflage - just keep it fresh and include as much DIY as possible, so junior can feel a sense of autonomy and ownership. Also, peer pressure helps, so invite another kid. (Thanks for asking, @ChrisK xo)
  1. Dipping party
    They love to dip. Vegetables can be raw or cooked, and the dip can be anything: homemade ranch dressing, peanut sauce, guacamole, spaghetti sauce, miso- or soy sauce-based....no rules. If feasible, let them make the dip too.
  2. Bagel faces
    Spread cream cheese, then let the kids make faces from cut vegetables, olives, sprouts. Set it all out in little bowls. Great project for a birthday party, and it can be lunch.
  3. Polka-dot rice
    Present a serving of rice in a bowl w room to stir freely. Set up other bowls with cooked vegetables (peas, cut green beans, chopped broccoli, scallions, diced carrots) and maybe some diced tofu - plus a shaker bottle of soy sauce. Let little Khaleesi have at it.
  4. Salad bar
    More exciting DIY - kids love the control. Again, lots of bowls. Arrange them on a table with dressing and a small ladle at the other end. Also good for a birthday party or a no-reason party.
  5. Counting soup
    Similar set-up to polka-dot rice: bowls of cooked vegetables and tofu (cooked pasta is nice too) from which the kids can select w spoons to customize their own soup. Younger customers will enjoy counting the spoonfuls. Ladle in some heated stock, and voila.
  6. Salad people
    Edible little person-sculptures made from fruit, vegetables, strips of cheese, olives, yogurt make a wonderful lunch, especially in summer. This is super-fun for adults too.
  7. Yummy sauce
    Kids love flavor, so bathe their cooked vegetables in something delicious. Butter sauce w a touch of brown sugar; garlic- spiked olive oil; light cheese sauce; Thai peanut sauce; pesto...go! 🍆🍠🌽💕💕
  8. Broccoli grilled cheese
    Add a layer of cooked broccoli to an open-face grilled cheese sandwich. Use orange cheddar for contrast and interest. Broil so it straps down the broccoli. Most (but not all) kids will enjoy.
  9. Mashed sweet potatoes
    Let the kids do the mashing (use a big enough bowl so they can get into it without it escaping) and they will own this big-time.
  10. Garden!
    If you have a garden, engage the kids. If you don't, make a point to visit one, ideally w harvesting opportunity. Farmers' market visits where you and your child can talk to and bond w a farmer also very positive. Kids will connect the dots and gain some food literacy. Vegetable culture rules!