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Try This: Vegetable Game for Kids

Tween holding carrots and radishesDo you really dislike eating veggies? Maybe it's not the vegetables. Maybe it's the way they're served that you can't stand. Maybe they are cooked too much, or not enough. If you change the way a vegetable is served, you might actually like it. It's time to experiment and give them another chance.

You probably know it's important to eat more vegetables. They keep your heart strong, your body fit, and your eyes sharp. They also keep your skin looking good. And they help protect you from all sorts of diseases. They do tons!

So here are a few experiments to help you give eating vegetables another chance. Pick a veggie you don't like and try something different this week.

Switch up cooked vs. raw.

Take carrots as an example. If they are always cooked at your house, try them raw. If you've only ever eaten raw carrots, ask to try them cooked.

This test works with other veggies too, like broccoli and cauliflower and peas. Ask your parents for help in the kitchen. They'll probably be happy to give you a hand if it means you'll be eating more veggies!

Eat veggies with something different.

If you always have cooked string beans in a pile next to a piece of meat and a mound of potatoes, try putting lightly steamed string beans in a salad. Or instead of having zucchini cut up as a side dish, try it shredded in your spaghetti. Ask the cook at your house to mix up your meals. Or offer to help Mom or Dad with dinner.

Eat vegetables with a sauce.

You eat French fries with ketchup, right? So try dipping other veggies in healthy sauces. Dip your vegetables in hummus, reduced-fat yogurt, or olive oil. Or try a squeeze of lemon juice on them. Maybe a light sprinkle of some melted reduced-fat cheddar cheese? See if you can find some in the fridge and try it out.

Substitute in new veggies.

If you're used to eating regular French fries, try sweet potato fries instead. They can give you that same crunch but with more nutrients. Here's how:

  1. Ask for help to cut up a sweet potato.
  2. Drizzle the pieces lightly with olive oil or canola oil. Just make sure to use only as small bit of oil (like 2 teaspoons). You don't want so much oil that the sweet potatoes are swimming it.
  3. Then ask a parent for help baking the fries.

Here's another way to try adding new veggies to the lineup. Having pizza, soup, or salad? Hold the extra meat or cheese and try more, different veggies -- anything from carrots and broccoli to eggplant and bell peppers.

Want to turn your experiments into a game? Make a list of one or two vegetables to try this week. Ask to eat the veggie in a different way than what you're used to. You could even offer to help out in the kitchen.

After each experiment, vote "yuck" or "yum." Keep track of what you liked so that you'll know how to ask for that vegetable next time. If something was still not-so-good, try to think of a different way to prepare it so you can give that veggie another shot. Remember, don't give up on a veggie after the first try. It can take up to 12 tries for your brain to decide it "likes" a food.

Who knows? You might start to eat more vegetables and find a new favorite.

 

Get to know these veggies: Asparagus, Broccoli, Carrot, Green Peas, and Sweet Potato.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD, FAAP on January 09, 2012