Last night at the dinner table, these exact words came out of my 5-year-old’s mouth: “Mom, can I PLEASE have more pretzel sprouts? My plate is empty of them!” She is actually referring to brussels sprouts. She ate two full helpings. So did my 2-year-old. And no, my kids are not superstar adventurous eaters, though we strive for that in our home. They are pretty much just as picky as the next kid, and we struggle just like most other families do to get those veggies in their tummies.
So what’s my secret? I have 2 tips that have a 100% success rate in my home, even with brussels sprouts!
The two tricks I have involve a prep trick and a cooking trick. The prep trick is really simple but does require a bit of patience from the parents: you need to have your kids play an active role in getting the food ready. I PROMISE you, the time you put in to this part of the dinner making process will pay huge dividends when it’s time to eat.
I very highly recommend that you have some sort of cutter that your kids can use. We really love this one. I still supervise my kids when they use this, so please use your own discretion! Cutting the veggies is a really fun way for your kids to be involved, to feel like they are doing a very important job (even if you don’t actually NEED the veggies to be chopped), and on a practical level, I find that having veggies chopped up a bit makes them less overwhelming to the kids when it’s time to eat.
I went with the Bird’s Eye brussels sprouts because I like their size better than fresh Brussels Sprouts, which tend to be a little larger. I also know that Bird’s Eye veggies are flash frozen within 4 hours of harvest, so they are actually at peak freshness with those great vitamins and minerals all locked in.
I let them thaw for maybe 10-15 minutes before we started chopping them, so they were still pretty frozen, but they had just a bit of give to them. I also chose this particular vegetable because it has a really bad rep, often thought of as a pretty gross vegetable. I don’t doubt that it can be prepared in a way that doesn’t taste good, but it can also be CRAZY yummy, trust me! I picked this under-loved veggie just to prove my point that these strategies can work for any vegetable, even brussels sprouts. 🙂
If you are going to season your vegetables, also have your kids be involved in this part of it. If they are old enough to measure themselves, just tell them what to add. Otherwise, measure it for them, and hand the spoon over for them to do the dumping. In this case, I had them pour out 3 Tbsp of olive oil, and 1 Tsp salt. After eating it, I would suggest cutting it down to 1/2 tsp salt...it was a little too salty, although my kids certainly didn’t seem to mind! We also added 1/4 tsp pepper. You can add any seasoning that you like to your veggies. I like Italian seasoning on a lot of things, personally!
Have the kids throw the veggies in with your oil and seasoning mix. Then have them give it a good stir, while you prep a baking tray with some parchment paper. I actually pre-measured a sheet and we used it for prep AND for baking. Yay for multi-purpose stuff!
Spread out your brussels sprouts and pop them into a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Roasting your veggies is my second trick…for some reason, it makes all vegetables taste A-MAZING. At the 20 minute mark you’ll want to take them out and flip them over, and then start watching the around minute 35. Ovens vary in how they bake, so you don’t want to burn them. However, brown edges are totally fine (in fact, they’re delicious!).
My kids were absolutely clamoring to get to try the veggies they helped to make (and again, I want to emphasize that my kids are very typical…they are inclined to leave green things on their plates if they get a choice in the matter).
By involving my kids in the food prep, and by using my no-fail cooking technique, which is to roast the veggies, I had 2 little girls each 2 big helpings of brussels sprouts. Guess what I’ll be picking up next week when I head to the grocery store? More Bird’s Eye products, and most definitely more of their brussels sprouts, as they are now a household favorite! I hope my tricks can help you get more veggies in those little tummies, an even in your own! 🙂
If you want more ideas on ways to get kids to eat their veggies, check out this great and helpful video from Melissa d’Arabian, host of the FoodNetwork.com’s web series The Picky Eater’s Project, who has partnered with Bird’s Eye! I’m loving this trick about working veggies into breakfast!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.