Let’s be honest here, the struggle is real to get my picky kid to eat broccoli. For a long time, she would look at it on her plate like I had tried to serve her dirt, literally dirt. She would look up at me with these big, round eyes that begged “Mommy, do I have to eat that?” This is from the child who I am sure DID eat dirt at one point or another.
All is not lost if your child is a picky eater who won’t eat broccoli. When it comes to picky kids, repetition is key for getting them to try new foods. For example, my daughter has decided green pasta (aka pasta with basil pesto) is her new favorite food and last year she would not touch it. Keep trying mom and dad, eventually, the kid will eat. In the meantime, here is a handy list of ways to try cooking broccoli so your child may decide they will eat it.
How to Get Picky Kids to Eat Broccoli
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- Steam-It– Some kids like steamed broccoli especially if you add a seasoning to it. My go-to seasoning is a mix of oregano, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper when I make it.
- Raw– I know several children who only like broccoli raw. Try it cut into small “trees” with a side of their favorite dipping sauce.
- From Frozen– Frozen broccoli is not my favorite way to eat it, but some kids prefer the mushy texture over a fresh broccoli cooked al dente. Try it mixed with other vegetables you know they like and they my just gobble it up.
- Spiralize It– This is a new trend where you use a handy spiralizer device to rip the broccoli and other vegetables into shreds that make noodles. You can then sauté the noodles and put them in Italian sauces or Asian stir-fries. For my child, we call all Asian dishes chicken teriyaki, but she in actuality has tried a variety of stir fries at home, shhh! If we tell her it’s something else, she won’t touch it
- Pizza– If you have a pizza loving kid, try adding small bites of broccoli to the pie. While it’s no guarantee they will eat it, when they are demanding it for the fifth night in a row they either get a few pieces of broccoli on top or NO PIZZA. I like broccoli pizza with pineapple, yum!
- Meatballs– Speaking of shredding, hiding shredded broccoli stems and shredded zucchini in meatballs is one of my favorite tricks. If you child is extremely sensitive, try cooking the shredded vegetables a little bit before adding it to your favorite meatball recipe. When adding a vegetable to meatballs, you may need an extra egg and a few more breadcrumbs, so they hold together firmly.
- Soup – Cream of broccoli soup is delicious and may just be the introduction to get your chid to start eating broccoli. You can also try adding it to loaded baked potato soup, or homemade chicken pot pie. Our Broccoli Cheese soup is also a kid-pleaser!
- Puree It– I have found if I make a peanut butter and banana smoothie, I can successfully hide quite a few vegetables inside that my child normally would not touch, including broccoli. You can also make green mashed potatoes, add it to casseroles, or even mix it into eggs. Green eggs and ham anyone?
- Roast It– Add a little-granulated garlic and onion, Olive Oil and a sprinkle of lemon juice. Roast at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese as it leaves the over. Tasty!
- Pasta– Italian red sauce tends to be pretty kid friendly and does a great job of hiding veggies. Chop that broccoli up in tiny bites and mix it right into your favorite pasta sauce or lasagna. This may also work for other cheesy Italian dishes such as stuffed shells and baked ziti. Another great idea: mix it with chicken, pasta and cheesy goodness in our easy chicken dinner casserole!
- Cheese– I know Macaroni and Cheese isn’t the healthiest of meals, but sometimes it’s about getting over the hurdle of having your child try a new food. Cheesy broccoli is a delicious way to eat it, and may be a great shot at convincing your child to try it. You can also try a cheese sauce for dipping.
So I know I said that this is all about getting my kid to eat broccoli, but don’t tell my husband I do the same thing with cauliflower for him! Get your picky eater on track for eating broccoli by serving it many different ways and eventually you will land on a winner. Then once they start eating broccoli regularly, mix it into the dinner rotation until it becomes the new normal. Hang in there mom, eventually, your picky kid will eat broccoli, or at least try it!
So how do you make broccoli so your picky eater will eat it? Tell me in the comments!
*Main image via Pixabay.