20 Jul
Spinach Cookie Anyone?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I can’t get my 3-year-old to eat any vegetables. NONE. I’m worried that she’s suffering from malnutrition. Any ideas to get her to try some?


B is not for broccoli at my house.


Dear B.,

I think we all know that when it comes to proper child rearing, you should be as honest as possible with your kid. And when that doesn’t work, lie your ass off.

I assume you’ve tried the… “Oh my gosh! You must taste this delicious bite of green beans. Aren’t they cool – they look like rocket ships from Mars! They are so delicious. If you don’t eat them, mommy is going to gobble them up.”

And at that point, I’m sure your kid looked up at you and said, “They’re all yours mom. Enjoy! I’m going to finish off this bag of cheese doodles.” (And by the way, I recently learned that cheese doodles are not in fact a dairy product so let me give you a heads up on that one.)

So once that approach has failed, it’s time to get a little more crafty.   Maybe try preparing a few meals with hidden vegetables as recommended by Mrs. Seinfeld.   Also, try soups and casseroles (with a few vegetables secretly thrown in), veggie burgers or carrot cake (put the emphasis on the CAKE part). Now I am still personally traumatized by my 8th birthday when my dad made me a carrot cake in lieu of a chocolate cake so this technique may not pan out. The next year I got a carob cake. So close dad. So close.

And remember that kids’ tastes do change so keep offering your child all kinds of different vegetables.   I’ve offered my pickiest daughter broccoli 437 times and I’m still hopeful that someday she might actually eat it.

In the meantime, I give her a Flinstones vitamin and hope for the best!


Kelcey, TMH

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18 Responses to “Spinach Cookie Anyone?”


Comment by Meg.

As a former VERY picky eater, I have a few ideas.
The first, is wait it out! I hated cooked broccoli forever and ever, then when I turned 21 all the sudden I liked it! Still no feeling the cauliflower though. Point being – our tastes change a we grow and I’m sure your kiddo’s will broaden as time goes on.

Then, ranch dressing. =) It fixes everything. Its the most fabulous condiment ever.

For my big child of a significant other, I sneak spinach into pasta sauce and things of that like, puree whatever you need and toss it in where you can’t see it. Hide carrots in cheese sauces, etc. etc.

Good luck!

Karin Reply:

I’m a former picky eater too (actually, not sure I’ve outgrown it yet) but since I’ve been out of my mom’s house, I have fixed veggies (and other foods) differently and I like a much larger variety. I try to provide veggies prepared differently, often in ways I don’t particularly like – fresh/raw plain and with dip (ew!), steamed, boiled, baked, braised, in soup, with salt & butter, with sauces.

One thing I did was try baking your cauliflower – I went to a dinner party where the hostess prepared it this way:

preheat oven to 375
spray pyrex pan with your choice of lube (I personally prefer the edible kind and more specifically, olive oil)
cut up fresh cauliflower and place in pan
sprinkle with salt (I like kosher salt better – big crystals)
top with butter
bake for about 20-30 minutes until it is a bit brown on top, I usually stir it around a bit halfway thru

FYI – turns out I really don’t like ANY cooked fruit and there’s no getting around that but I like a variety of fresh fruit!

oh, and the best way I found to get my kids to eat veggies is to serve them as an afternoon snack – carrots and dip/ranch/dill dip, apples and PB, steamed asparagus (ew!!), bell peppers, etc.


Comment by Bean.

Next year plant veggies together. My kids are fascinated with our garden and are trying all kinds of new things.

The other thing that works with mine is letting them pick things out at the grocery store (or better yet, farmers market). My attitude with fresh fruits & veggies is “I’ll buy it if you’ll eat it”, and they’re more likely to try it if they’re involved in picking & preparing.

GrandeMocha Reply:

My son sneaks out to the garden & eats cherry tomatoes when he thinks I can’t see him.

My friends kids will eat anything they can dip in Ranch dressing.


Comment by From Belgium.

Make your own hamburgers and add some paprika or a tomato. When you make spaghetti sauce, add vegetables and puree them. Try to make brocolli – pesto (just mix broccili with some basil, some pine-nuts and some parmasan).
The possabilities for fooling your child are endless, enjoy them…


Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

Cut the vegetables into small pieces (carrots, zucchini, pumpkins, broccoli, eggplants…), dip them in batter and deep-fry them (not necessarily alone, you can mix them up like in the Japanese kaki-age and fry them in spoonfuls); and who said a carrot cake can’t go with a nice chocolate finishing? I find it excellent on the contrary!


Comment by Plano Mom.

Heavy on the fruit until you find the magic veggie. I was always successful with apple slices smeared with peanut butter, then sprinkled with little candy sprinkles.

Plano Mom Reply:

Oh, and when you find the magic veggie, get ready to eat it until you are sick of it, then eat it some more. Now that my oldest is 19, I am so done with broccoli.


Comment by Padded Cell Princess.

I’m all for blending it into oblivion with sauces, soups and pizza sauce. What about also trying putting it in fun shapes or funny scenes and even if your kid still doesn’t eat it, they may play with it and get over the fear of even going near a veggie. If you can get them to play and touch the stuff then they may not mind putting in their mouth (and pray to God that she doesn’t keep this moto with her when she’s 16!!!)

Karin Reply:

we do this too! The new rule “Don’t play with your food (unless you’re at home haha)”

We often spell out their names in food!


Comment by jetts31.

As a picky eater, I always seemed to like salads, probably because of the dressings.
My mom used to make cooked carrots that she added maple syrup to. She also used threats against my life if I didn’t eat my vegetables but that might be counterproductive today?


Comment by Evin Cooper.

Whenever I cook ground beef (which is a lot, we buy whole sides of beef and grind our own) I throw random veggie pieces into the food processor with a hunk of onion and a couple things of garlic and whizz them up. I cook them in the pan w/ the beef, or mix them into the hamburgers, or fold them into the meatloaf. Here’s the trick tho – I stopped giving my kiddo veggies on the side when I did this, and he caught on. So now I put carrot sticks and ranch on the side and “I guess you can eat just ONE *big sigh*”

Acting, yo. Key element of motherhood.

N and Em's mom Reply:

Clever! I read “somewhere” that you have to present a new food more than 20 times before it looks familiar and kids will try it. I second Evin- keep putting it on the plate. Once eating becomes a power struggle, it’s game over. The flip side- no negative comments about what I serve. I didn’t want my kid to go to someone’s house, wrinkle up their nose, and declare something being served was “gross!”


Comment by Tonya.

My son refuses ALL veggies (he’ll try any kind of ice cream though). But we have gotten him to love this one kind of juice that is more veggie than fruit so that helps me sleep at night. Does anyone know if Ben & Jerry’s is planning on coming out with a broccoli / spinach flavor? That would really help too.


Comment by Danielle.

Cheese sauce. I hate plain broccoli and cauliflower but if you throw some cheese on top of it I’m going to eat 3 helpings. It’s magical!

Also I agree with a previous poster about sneaking it in. I also hide spinach in things. 🙂


Comment by Sally.

When my daughter was little, I saw a renowned child expert on TV and she said that fruit has the same beneficial qualities as vegetables. So, I made (and stuck to) a rule, If you don’t eat vegetables with dinner, then dessert is fresh fruit. Vegetable eaters got to eat the ice cream, or cake or whatever was there for dessert. It was a win/win for me, she got her vitamins and fiber and, eventually, she learned to eat the vegetables.
Also, I learned that you can thaw, drain and squeeze out chopped spinach and add it to chocolate cupcakes and it can’t be detected.


Comment by K A B L O O E Y.

I tell mine they’re dinosaur larva. works like a charm.


Comment by Janine.


hundreds of recipes to fool your children into eating healthy food. Comes with free coupons for psychotherapy when your kids find out you’ve been lying to them/trying to poison them with brussel sprouts. very tasty though, and quite successful at our house

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