FoodCorps Friday- Get Kids Eating Broccoli in 5 Steps
By, Carrollton City Schools service member, Dory Cooper
Broccoli is a magical vegetable for both small humans and grown ups. It is full of fiber, a whole collection of vitamins, and a good amount of calcium – not to mention delicious when roasted or added to your favorite stir fry.
We all know broccoli can be a little scary and challenging for kiddos to try. Here’s my kid tested method to get kids of all ages into that rockin’ broccoli:
- Build Trust – Once kids know that the new veggies and recipes you offer them are not all that scary, they will be much more willing to try what you offer. Start small and with foods they are guaranteed to like, then move on to the bigger challenges.
Throughout my service, it has become clear that the students I serve with consistently, are much more likely to try different vegetables that I offer them and to encourage their peers to try them too. When I offered one of my students roasted broccoli he said, “Sure, why not” and took a big helping – that’s when I knew I had his trust.
2.Cook it in Different Ways – Offer broccoli often and in many different forms. Just because they don’t like it the first time, doesn’t mean they won’t like it the 4th or 5th time. Everyone has a preference of how they liked things cooked based on what they’re used to, so learn what flavors and cooking style they like best – raw, roasted, steamed, or sautéed.
Roasted Broccoli with lemon juice, lemon pepper, olive oil, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese is a new favorite at Carrollton Elementary and Middle Schools.
3.Avoid Covering Broccoli in Ranch or Melted Cheese
By masking the flavor and texture of broccoli, kids won’t get a chance to actually taste the broccoli itself. Allow them to expand their palate and appreciate the subtle flavors and differences of vegetables and fruits. It is definitely okay to use seasonings or a little sprinkle of cheese, but make sure broccoli is still the star of the recipe.
4.Role Model – Set a standard that broccoli and other vegetables are “normal” and not scary by being aware of your response when you get offered healthy or new foods. Encourage an everyday lifestyle of “trying things.”
5.Tell them broccoli is a tiny tree and to eat off the little leaves off the top of the tree like a giraffe… (works every time)