Getting kids to eat their veggies can feel like such a chore. Keep these kid-friendly vegetables on hand and get the recipe for the easy veggie roast that I used to feed my own picky toddler.
I serve up variations of these kid-friendly vegetables often. Throw it over some mashed potatoes with air fryer tofu, and you've got an easy meal with very little effort.
When my son first started eating solids, he was a champ. This kid ate everything, and I thought I was mom of the year.
Flash forward a year, and suddenly, he ate practically nothing. My child who happily dunked veggies into hummus at snack time informed me that he no longer likes hummus or vegetables. Or a laundry list of my other go-to foods.
My son is six now, and he still doesn't eat every veggie under the sun (I'm looking at you, asparagus!), but he's gotten a lot better. Let's talk about how to get kids to eat more veggies, some kid-friendly vegetables to try, and a vegetable roast recipe that appeals to a wide range of picky eaters.
Getting Kids to Eat Their Vegetables
There are a few tricks that we use to get our kid to eat his veggies or at least give a new veggie a real try before telling me he hates it.
First of all, we talk about "grow food" often, especially when we dish up vegetables. My kid, like many kids, wants to be big. He wants to grow tall and strong. Calling healthy veggies "grow food" helps him connect eating well with a goal that he feels strongly about.
We also don't let him have dessert if he hasn't eaten the "grow food" on his plate. That doesn't mean he has to clean his plate, but the veggies we served him had better be in his belly if he's going to have ice cream.
The second technique we use is the "try bite" when we introduce a new vegetable to his plate.
Kids are people, and not all people are like all food. But they can give it an actual try. A try bite is a real, human-sized bite or two of whatever food he's resisting. I say human-sized, because if we don't specify the size, he takes a microscopic nibble, then says he doesn't like it.
The last important thing is that just because he doesn't like a certain vegetable today doesn't mean he won't like it in a month or six months or a year.
At two, getting my child to eat broccoli was a true battle. At six, he requests broccoli as the veggie when I ask what he wants for supper. Hopefully the same thing will be true of asparagus after a few more tries.
You can also mix up your preparation. If they don't like steamed broccoli, try it sauteed in olive oil with a little garlic and soy sauce. Maybe kale salad isn't a hit, but kale chips go over like gangbusters.
A good sauce can also make a difference! Try broccoli with cheese sauce, for example. Y'all, I even let my kid dip his veggies in ketchup, if it gets him to eat them.
When you're introducing a new food or reintroducing something to see if their tastes have changed, just make sure it's not the only veggie option. That way, if they reject it, there's still a veg on the table that they'll eat. Even if it's carrot sticks or sliced avocado.
Kid-Friendly Vegetables to Try
The thing about kids is that every child is different. The veggies my kid eats might vary from what your kid will. So consider this list a jumping-off point for negotiating with your own kid.
In general, kids tend to like sweeter vegetables. Kids like the taste of sweet (there's even science about it!). If your child is choosy about vegetables, start with the sweet veggies below.
- carrots (raw, steamed, or roasted)
- baked sweet potatoes
- roasted beets
- steamed peas
- roasted winter squash
- roasted radishes (They lose their spice and get sweet when you roast them!)
- raw tomatoes
- sliced avocado
Now that my kid is older, we've added some more veggies to his repertoire. These are some of his more recent faves that your kid might like to try:
- steamed or roasted broccoli
- kale or collard greens (prepared like these pan fried collards)
- spinach mixed into basically any pasta dish
- roasted cauliflower
- sauteed bell pepper in pasta or rice dishes
I just want to reiterate that every kid is so different. There is no fail-proof kid-friendly vegetable. Just keep offering veggies, insist on those try bites, and don't beat yourself up if they're being picky. It takes time, it's hard, kids are stubborn, and you are doing a great job.
About My Kid-Friendly Vegetable Roast
The kid-friendly vegetable roast below was my go-to when my baby transformed into a picky toddler.
This vegetable roast recipe uses two of his favorite veggies: baby carrots and orange beets. Like I mentioned above, kids like sweet veggies, and roasted carrots and beets taste like candy.
OK, not like candy exactly. But wow, they're sweet!
A note about the beets: you can use red beets, if you prefer. I use orange because red beets stain, and kids are messy eaters.
I wanted this recipe to be as easy for me to make as it is for my kid to love. You prepare this dish in the same pan you use to bake it, and using baby carrots means less peeling and chopping.
To make these roasted vegetables, peel and dice your beets, then add them to a roasting pan with whole baby carrots. Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake, pulling the pan out to stir the veggies every 10-15 minutes.
If your kid has different favorite vegetables, feel free to mix up the ingredients in your own vegetable roast. Don't feel like you need to use all orange veggies or even all sweet ones. I've made this vegetable roast with lots of different root vegetables.
Sweet or white potatoes work really well. You can add onions or whole cloves of garlic. Turnips are nice, and you will be surprised at how sweet radishes turn when you roast them.
If your kid doesn't love veggies right now, I'd suggest making your first vegetable roast as kid-friendly as possible by starting with sweeter veggies like carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes. You can always add new flavors as their palate adjusts.
Kid-friendly roasted vegetables
- 2 cups baby carrots
- 2 cups chopped golden beets - (Think 1" pieces - 2-3 small or 1 large golden beet will do the trick.)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper - to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Toss all of your ingredients together right in a 9x12" baking pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until the veggies are fork-tender and a little bit browned. How long they need to cook depends on how fat those baby carrots were and how browned you like your roasted veggies to be.