Broccoli is one of those veggies that’s either hit or miss with most kids (some adults too). Just mentioning broccoli can make the cutest child crinkle up their nose and say “ewww”. My kids are in the “we like broccoli” camp. No crinkled noses. Steamed is their prep of choice, which gets a wee bit boring after a while (but I’ll take it).
Broccoli is a super food, with a laundry list of super powers. Here are a few of the many:
- Cancer fighting: Broccoli is rich in compounds called isothiocyanates, or ITCs. These compounds destroy the cancerous genes, but leave the healthy proteins alone so they can continue to stop tumors from growing.
- Immune boosting: One cup of broccoli fuels the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene and multiple trace minerals.
- Diet aid: Broccoli is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating
How to get them to eat it
If you have one (or two or three) of those kids that squirm at the mere mention of broccoli here are four creative ways to add it to your menu in a kid-friendly way.
This is my favorite way to make broccoli. Cut the stalk and florets into bite sized pieces. Place them in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel pan; add a little olive oil, salt and mix. Roast in the oven on 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until the broccoli is slightly brown (careful not to burn).
A few times each month we make our own pizza. My kids love to roll out the dough, add some sauce, sprinkle the cheese and watch their creation turn into dinner. Most kids love to be active participants in the cooking process. If I’m feeling very ambitious I’ll make the dough from scratch, making sure it’s filled with whole, organic grains. I’ve also been known to use Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods pre-made dough to help with an easy, quick meal. I place bowls of various pizza toppings on the table for the kids to pick and choose from. I’m always amazed that the bowl of broccoli is one of the first items to go. My guess-their pizza looks pretty with all the different colors. Whatever the reason-broccoli pizza is a big hit.
I almost heard a collective “ewww” when you reached this suggestion. The broccoli taco works in our house. I use the same concept as the pizza above. Bowls of cheese, beans, rice, salsa, broccoli and turkey taco meat are put out on the table. The kids create their own taco in the shell. This is by far my kid’s favorite meal.
Add broccoli to something they already like
Adding broccoli to something your child already likes is an easy way to introduce a new food. If your child likes mac n cheese add some broccoli to it. Make sure you cook the broccoli before adding and I would only use the florets for this. Another easy place to add broccoli is in pasta sauce.
Remember to always use organic broccoli when you can!
Do your kids like broccoli? Do you?
[Photos used under Creative Commons license from Keith McDuffee, Like the Grand Canyon, Little Blue Hen, D.Sharon Pruitt/Flickr]