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    Trouble with Veggies

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    I am having a very hard time getting my family to branch out on the whole vegetable idea. Their idea of veggie = french fries. None of them really like vegetables. I can get them to eat some green beans and the occasional broccoli or carrots. Almost any type of squash is a no go for this crowd. Salad is hit or miss.

    I feel like there needs to be something other than meat on their plate but am at a loss on something that they will not turn their nose up at. Everyone has to take a "no thank you" bite here, but that is as far as it gets. Even the husband is anti-veggie.
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    RitaRose's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of asparagus and artichokes and the kids seemed to like them too. They always liked raw baby spinach if you want greens.
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    Can you mix them in things? Like a meat curry or chilli, but with loads of veg hidden in the sauce. Do you put butter, herbs or dressings on plain veg?

    It takes up to 20 tastes in small children to like new flavours. I'm not sure how many it is for adults, but don't give up!
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    As a kid I would not eat a vegetable even if I was starving to death. Now I can't get enough of them. What changed me into liking them then loving them was not exactly the healthiest way to get into vegetable eating, but deep fried mushrooms were the first veg I would eat. After having them that way I was willing to try them sauteed then raw. Then on top of other neutral, nutrition devoid things such as iceburg lettuce, but that lead to other leafy greens. Also, cucumbers (yes, a fruit, I know) were something I would reluctantly eat, but that lead to zucchini, I guess because in their off the vine state they look similar. Also, if there was a creamy or cheesy sauce or dip I would at least eat the vegetable in order to eat the sauce. None of the ways I started eating vegetables was even remotely healthy, but it got me to where I am today, which is a recovering 7 year vegetarian.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Eyed Chick View Post
    I feel like there needs to be something other than meat on their plate but am at a loss on something that they will not turn their nose up at. Everyone has to take a "no thank you" bite here, but that is as far as it gets. Even the husband is anti-veggie.
    Maybe try serving some as a separate course. When they're on the same plate as the main course then ipso facto they're an adjunct.

    Sometimes particular vegetables go well as an accompaniment to particular meat or fish dishes, but often the meat or fish would be just as good on its own; and when that's the case, then the veg might as well make a separate course. I quite enjoy a plate of vegetables and then a plate of meat; or a piece of fish and then a salad. We had jugged Northumberland kippers with melted butter on Friday, and those things are so large you couldn't fit anything else on the plate, and anything else would be a distraction and probably get knocked on the table anyway. But we had a vegetable dish afterwards.

    The thing with serving the veg with the meat is that it's tempting to do something quite interesting with the meat but just serve the veg plain, steamed or boiled. So not only are they an adjunct but they're less interesting in themselves.

    If you said to someone, "The chops are just finishing cooking; here's the first course while they're finishing," and gave them a dish in which vegetables were the main item, you've got them a bit trapped. What are they going to do? Toy with it and leave it? That would look rude given that you took the trouble to make it, and there's nothing else on the plate to eat instead.

    Almost any type of squash is a no go for this crowd.
    Boiled or baked or what? They tends to be a bit bland/bitter, but can make quite a good base for other flavours. You can fry courgettes in olive oil, drop the heat down and add some chopped garlic, seasoning, and some dried basil and oregano, then stir in a spoonful of tomato puree to create an instant sauce.

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    I didn't like vegetables until I learned to prepare them properly - my mother was a big fan of the "leave-in-boiling-water-until-everything-turns-to-greyish-mush" cooking method. Same with her well-done (i.e. survived a nuclear holocaust) steaks My brother and I took over the cooking when I was about 10, and we started to eat our veggies!

    I'd suggest:
    - experiment with cooking styles (roasting, steamed with butter on top seem to be kid favorites)
    - if the kids are old enough, get them involved in cooking and preparing the meal - things always taste better when you make them yourself
    - soups and other ways to "sneak" veggies
    - serve the vegetables first, as others have suggested
    - explain to the kids why veggies are important (there's a study where kids ate more carrots if they were told they were x-ray vision carrots, so lie all you want!)
    - don't make vegetables seem like a punishment by taking things away if they don't eat them, offering rewards if they do, etc. Vegetables are a part of your life now. They can choose to "hate" them if they want, but they're just going to have to deal.
    - make cut-up raw vegetables the only snack option on car trips

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    i suggest preparing the veg with lots of butter or a healthy amt of bacon fat and some seasoned salt. But i hear ya - my husband has grown to like vegetables but in limitations that i find pointless to push. He will eat broccoli either chopped finely raw in salad or warm w/ a lot of seasoning and butter or fat, but he can't stand cauliflower. No matter how it's prepared. He'll eat it but he doesn't like it. So i just don't buy that anymore.

    i don't know anyone who doesn't like peas & carrots - i know it's kinda high in sugar for veg but i think that's the reason almost anyone will eat it. I like to buy frozen & mix them in with other frozen veg like brocc or brussel sprouts (i eat the sprouts, husband eats the brocc). Anyway, i just kinda see peas & carrots like the "gateway" veg.

    also - try roasting or grilling veg like zucchini and tomatoes - skewers of those mixed w/ grilled red onion is really good. I marinate in olive oil & generic "italian seasoning" before grilling. Grilled asparagus is also really good.

    ps - personally i don't really like yellow squash; i'll eat it but i don't really like it a lot - just b/c i like most vegetables doesn't mean i like them all! Yellow squash is just too watery for me to be tasty or maybe i just haven't found a good way too cook it yet.

    re: the lying to little kids to get them to eat it - i think that does work to an extent - i know that when i was little my mother told me that broccoli was little green flowers & i just loved that! But at about the same time i was super stoked to eat something called "zucchini" which was a word that i found to be awesome and i repeated it all day long & couldn't wait to try whatever had such an awesome name. We had it fresh out of the garden. I hated it. I was so disappointed. But i still liked broccoli!

    anyway, good luck!

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    Second the adding fats - no one can resist my Brussels sprouts with pancetta! (sautee some pancetta and garlic in olive oil, add the brussels sprouts, a 1/2 cup of chicken stock, and sautee until soft.)

    And don't make the great the enemy of the good - cut-up yams roasted with olive oil, cracked pepper and a teaspoon or so of honey are still yams! I've lured many a friend onto vegetables this way...

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    Also... soups, stews and green smoothies. All can include vegetables without there being a recognisable, separate, leave-able green thing on a plate. Green smoothies are quick, easy and if you use a reasonable proportion of fruit you can't taste the greens.

    And how about things where picking the meat out of the vegetables is just too much work, like stir fries?

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    Quote Originally Posted by paleo_hailey View Post
    Second the adding fats - no one can resist my Brussels sprouts with pancetta! (sautee some pancetta and garlic in olive oil, add the brussels sprouts, a 1/2 cup of chicken stock, and sautee until soft.)

    And don't make the great the enemy of the good - cut-up yams roasted with olive oil, cracked pepper and a teaspoon or so of honey are still yams! I've lured many a friend onto vegetables this way...
    +1

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