Veggies: The Thrusters of the Dinner Plate

“It is a known fact that it takes kids between eight and 15 times of trying something before they like it. It can take adults 30 times.” — Bill Telepan, chef, in Reading, Math and Sushi: Cooking as a Health Lesson

8-15 times. 30 times. That means you have to serve up a lot of Brussels sprouts before you find a fan in your family. And maybe even to find if you’re a fan.

But that’s okay. Keep serving.

Why? Because veggies are good for you. Because they’re the right thing to help your kids learn to love. Because when your kids are your age some day, they’ll look back and remember how you helped them to make good choices—and they’ll appreciate that.

Vegetables are the thrusters of the dinner plate. Some people don’t really want anything to do with them, but they know they’re good for them so they complain and do them. Meat is (of course) pull-ups. Almost everybody wants pull-ups and more pull-ups.

With my kids, it felt like I fed them most vegetables at least 15 times and then still they balked at some things. Peas and carrots and broccoli didn’t get many objections, but Brussels sprouts weren’t cutting it, not even with bacon. We made better headway with squash (butternut or yellow) but one of my boys still gives side-eye to zucchini squash.

But, like my mother says, “There’s no accounting for taste.” She tried to feed me green peppers repeatedly as a kid. I never did take to them. Red or yellow or orange peppers? Yes. Green peppers? Thanks, but I’ll pass, even now.

So, what do you do when you’ve tried to get your kids to eat veggies and still they’d prefer to push them to the side of the dinner plate?

You try new recipes, like Zucchini Skewers—serve anything with Buffalo dip and I’m pretty certain my kids would eat it, even dirt. (Okay, maybe not dirt … a second time.) Or try Acorn Squash Boats, where the meat is right there in the squash.

You can use veggies in scrumptious dishes like Sweet Potato Kasserole and you can hide them in cool treats like Paleo Zucchini Bread Snack Bars.

The point is you have to keep pushing the vegetables before you’ll get any takers. You’ll feel a little lonely, like a Costco sample chef and everybody keeps passing by your cart, but eventually your kids will start to admit a small fondness for a vegetable or two. It might take a while, but don’t give up! 8-15-30 times: Just keep going. Eventually, you’ll get there.



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