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10 Recipes That Will Help Your Child Fall In Love With Veggies

Photograph by Daniel Montoya

I’m totally flabbergasted that two children from the same parents can be so extremely different. Why I thought they’d be the same, I’m not sure, but when it comes to meal times my son and daughter are polar opposites.

My daughter, my firstborn, is eager to please and happily takes thank you bites of whatever I prepare for dinners. At a year old she was a huge fan of tilapia and quiche loaded with meat and protein. Now, as a 5-year-old, she has developed a palate for steak tacos with all the fillings and and can devour a decent sized salad. We’ve developed a thumbs up system when trying new foods—thumbs up for “great, I love it!”, sideway thumb for “just ok”, and thumbs down for “I’d rather not eat all of this”—and it has served us well in making meal times a success.

My son on the other hand? He lives on chicken nuggets, plain toast, applesauce pouches, and cheese sticks. Cereal too, but only if it has the perfect “crunch” factor. Yogurt makes him gag and the thought of a carrot gracing his plate turns into World War III. I once offered him a french fry, the ultimate gateway veggie, and he exploded into tears. French fries are awful, who knew?

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If it’s not obvious, it’s time for my almost son to fall in love with veggies. He’s an energetic, smart boy who needs the nutrients vegetables offer. This summer I’m embarking on a mission to help my son love, or at least tolerate, a handful of veggies. In preparation for this adventure I polled some mama friends and scoured Pinterest for veggie recipes that are sure to please!

Kale Berry Smoothie - It’s not green, but it’s loaded with kale. Nice!

Eggplant Meatballs - These have me drooling. And with pasta and a tasty spaghetti sauce they’re sure to please!

Hidden Veggie Pizza Bake - I can personally attest to the deliciousness of this one. My whole family, including the picky 4-year-old, enjoyed it just last week!

Avocado Smoothie - If you're trying to chunk up your little one with healthy fats, this smoothie is going to be a winner.

Broccoli Cheddar Bites - If I call these muffins, I think my little guy will love them!

Fresh Tomato Basil Hummus - Kids love dipping things! We’ve recently fallen in love with the gluten-free Milton crackers (Costco sells the big bag) and this hummus would be the perfect partner.

Butternut Squash Mac 'n' Cheese -Both of my kids love mac ’n cheese and this recipe puts an extra healthy spin on it! My friend, Jasmine, recommended shredding carrots into mac too. Match those colors, mamas, and our kids will be gobbling down veggies in no time!

Real Veggie Nuggets - Now, they’re not shaped like dino nuggets, but, they’re worth a try!

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Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks - Again with the dipping potential, these look delicious!

Don't these all look amazing? I’m excited to get our veggie on! Does your child have a favorite veggie recipe? Please share!

Truly though, the best advice I have heard and plan to incorporate more is getting my son into the kitchen. If he can take pride in helping to prepare the food we’re eating I’m positive that he’ll at least give me a thank you bite or two.

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