Episode 41: How to Cook Vegetables So That They Taste Good—Even to Kids. Yes, Seriously.

SPOILER: THIS ISN’T WHAT REAL LIFE LOOKS LIKE

One of the questions we’re most frequently asked is how to get kids to eat vegetables. The answer is easy: Make ‘em taste good. Turning that answer into a reality at your dinner table… not so much. In this episode, we invite toddler mama and anti-diet registered dietician Min Kwon to talk about how to make vegetables appealing to kids (and to grown ups too).

Between us and Min, we’re in the thick of parenting — and feeding! — kids 2- through 12 -years-old. Together we reflect on what works and the realities of what doesn’t work for kids through the ages and stages. From recipes to preparations, thoughts on how to talk to kids about veggies to letting go if they don’t bite (literally), we’ve got you covered.


We Promise That Vegetables Can Be Delicious

Spoiler: It’s all in how you cook them.

There’s no magic to cooking vegetables: Just like anything else you make, cooking them well is the key to enjoying vegetables. The rules are pretty straight forward: Don’t overcook them, use cooking methods that bring out the best of whatever veggie you’re cooking, consider texture, and use flavor enhancers like butter, salt, spices, and vinegar (though be careful not to overdo it).

Putting these rule into practice while scrambling to get dinner on the table, though? Not so easy. Then on top of it, you can count on kids refusing veggies even when cooked well. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like the whole thing is a losing proposition.


Generally speaking, the factors go from exposure, to presentation and texture, and then when you get to the older kids, to taste. But by the time you get to taste, kids have already formed so many opinions about what they *think* they like that taste has to have been there from the beginning. Otherwise, they’ll definitely remember that one time cauliflower tasted terrible and insist that they don’t like it.
— Stacie

Getting kids to enjoy vegetables is one of the most challenging aspects of feeding kids. And while we wish we could tell you it gets easier as they get older. the truth is that it may… or may not. The only things you can count on for sure is that kids will be unpredictable about vegetables, even well into their tweens, and you will be frustrated at times.

But when you take the long view, getting kids to eat veggies (and maybe even enjoy some of them) is not a losing proposition. There’s a lot you can do at every stage that goes a long way to helping your kids develop a taste for veggies and, while you do them, you can be making them delicious for yourself too. Together with anti-diet RD Min Kwon, we talk about those things — and also the things with which you shouldn’t bother.

Because the kids will be fine. Don’t stress it too much.

Want to dig deeper? If you’re looking to learn more about the things referenced in this episode, here’s your one-stop shop:


In the beginning, it’s exposure, exposure, exposure. Taste matters throughout, but the truth is that you can take the most delicious preparation of broccoli and still have a toddler that will reject it 50 times. (Or a first grader!)
— Stacie & Meghan

Other Didn’t I Just Feed You episodes mentioned in this one — these are all great, relevant listens if you haven’t already listened to them. Or maybe if you just want a refresher!


More About: Min Kwon

Cheez-It’s and Salads Both Welcome

We got the best advice on how to encourage kids to like vegetables, and she shared her favorite cooking vegetables recipes! | Min Kwon of @kidfriendly.meals on Instagram on Didn't I Just Feed You , a food podcast for parents

Min is a registered dietitian who shudders at the word diet and believes that no food is off limits — though it took her a long time to realize this. When it comes to food choices, salads and Cheez-Its are both welcomed, because Min believes that food is meant to be celebrated, not make you feel deprived.

Motherhood has made Min especially passionate about raising mindful, joyous eaters who are in tune with their hunger cues, and is a big proponent of baby-led weaning.

You can find Min at her site MJ and Hungryman, as well on social: @mjandhungryman on Twitter, @mjandhungryman on Facebook, @mjandhungryman on Pinterest, and where we especially love to follow her, @kidfriendly.meals on Instagram. Her images are not just cute (you’ll want to squeeze Caleb, we can promise you that!), but also super helpful and packed with helpful, balanced information.








 

About Our Sponsor

A huge thank you Green Giant for sponsoring this week's episode

Cooking vegetables recipes — even at breakfast! And, yes, even for kids! We talk real-life ideas. | Didn't I Just Feed You, a food podcast for parents

We admit it! We sometimes roll our eyes when experts suggest prepping veggies in fun, novel ways — even though we’re among those experts and have suggested that very thing (more than once!) on this very podcast.

The thing is, it works! But it also takes time and energy than a lot of busy parents don’t have.

That’s why we’re so incredibly excited about the new Green Giant Veggie Swap-Ins. Their frozen riced veggies, veggie spirals, veggie tots, and cauliflower pizza crusts are a busy cook’s dream.

Made with nutritious vegetables like cauliflower, sweet potato, beets, and so much more, these affordable shortcuts make serving veggies, easy, fast, and fun — without any pressure to cook them before they go bad, like the pricey prepped veggies you get in the produce aisle!

To learn more about the full line of Green Giant Veggie Swap Ins, visit GreenGiant.com, and be sure to download coupons at GreenGiant.com/promotions to try them today!


Follow us on Instagram

See What Veggies Our Kids Eat In a Day

We have something very exciting happening on Instagram for this episode! Along with Min Kwon, we’ll be sharing all the veggies that our kids eat in a day. From Min’s 2-year-old Caleb, to Meghan’s 7-year-old Ella and Stacie’s 12-year-old Isaac, we’ll give an honest snapshot of what our kids’ daily veggie intake looks like.

We guarantee you’ll feel less alone. (HA!)

Find Meghan at @meghan_splawn and Stacie at @staciebillis And of course, together, we are @didntijustfeedyou.


We want to hear from you!

We’re also talking on Facebook, if that’s where you spend your time! This week, Stacie and Meghan reflected on their least favorite veggies and revealed whether their kids now about their distaste. What about you?

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE VEGETABLE AND DO YOUR KIDS KNOW?!

Chime in on Facebook! You can find us as there as @didntijustfeedyou. And if you’re a listener who knows the answer to the secret question, be sure to join our Listeners’ Group too.


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