How do you get kids to eat vegetables? To get them to appreciate vegetables, is it better to serve them cooked or raw? One step or more? Are there miracle recipes that work with little ones? Specialized advice.
Estrelle Bayani, journalist and culinary critic at Télérama, and Régis Pezous, a volunteer with L’école Comestible, which provides food education in schools, were guests on Dorothy Barba’s Barbatruc show. Together, they gave tips to get the youngest to eat vegetables.
1- Discover the vegetables
It is often through ignorance that they are wary of vegetables. Regis Bezos brings vegetable boxes to his activities with the kids. He simply offers to look at it, then touch it … Then he shows pictures of plants: “For example, Brussels sprouts grow on a kind of small palm tree with small soles hanging from the trunk of the palm tree, it’s absolutely crazy!”
Then, the ideal is to have a vegetable garden, where the children can observe the daily growth of fruits and vegetables. If you live in the city, Esterelle Payany advises window boxes: “A cherry tomato plant that climbs well. You can also bury sprouted potatoes. Before you go on vacation, you dig it up. It’s like a treasure to look for. These are the best french fries of their lives.”
Dorothy Barba cut off the head of a leek, soaking it in water. And so his children saw, fascinated, the reconstituted shallot. “And that corresponds to this vegetable.”
2- Don’t be afraid to eat raw vegetables
Régis Pezous has a hobby: eating raw vegetables, without adding a lot of things like gratin. “We often imagine that cooking vegetables makes them look better with children. This idea should be put aside. The main danger of vegetables is overcooking them. The best way to avoid overcooking them is to eat them raw.”
He recommends one vegetable in particular: kohlrabi. “This big, flat apple doesn’t grow in the ground. It tastes close to the ‘marrow’ of broccoli. By slicing it with a knife, we discover a crunchier ‘fruit’ than an apple. It’s a little sweet with lots of water. It’s magic. Honestly, next to a bowl of potato chips on the An aperitif, it works very well and I can tell you that both bowls will empty just as quickly.”
3- Suggest several times
Esterelle Payany worked in another life as a vegetable professional. “In particular, there was a study that demonstrated that for children to accept vegetables, they must be offered at least ten times in different forms and that the fact that they were raw or cooked. Carrots can be served grated, mashed or in the form of Vichy carrots.”
4 – Bring back the pleasure
To do this, you need to tell a story about what grows in the ground. Regis Bezos explains seasonality to children. He told them, “Our vegetables in the summer are full of water. And that’s good because it’s hot and we need to drink. While in the winter: we have vegetables that are softer, more consistent, which helps to stand up to the temperatures. While we’re having fun, it works very well.”
5- Plan B is also in vegetables
Esterelle Payany is a fan of the vegetable group. “At home, there are always two plates of vegetables. The advantage of having leftovers, and keeping them well in the fridge, is that anyone who doesn’t want to eat the vegetables planned for today’s plate will be able to eat the vegetables from the day before. I make sure there is one raw. This allows them to change things up and take into account their changing tastes.
6 – Dealing with food phobia
It’s a well-known phenomenon: children do not like to taste new things. Esterelle Payany identifies: “We are naturally conditioned to be careful of what we eat. If it’s not visually reassuring, kids won’t taste it. The typical example is ratatouille. It’s full of delicious stuff, but in the form of magma. You don’t know what you’re going to eat. That’s not Not at all reassured. Whereas if a child tastes sauteed zucchini, bits of eggplant and then a little tomato sauce, he’ll have less trouble. For vegetables like celery, we increase the doses little by little in the soup for example.”
7- Methods of preparation vary
Esterelle Payany offers carrots in sausage or “Car’hot-dog”. And vice versa: she suggests a sausage surrounded by zucchini. Among what he found: baked green asparagus with puff pastry around used as breadcrumbs, poached eggs. They also make vegan pesto (tail vegetables, oil, and seeds) to enhance the pasta. The vegetable and hummus pizza with spinach works well with the little ones.
In addition to grated horseradish on pizza, and vegetable balls, Régis Pezous advises: “On a base of a few cooked cooked red beans, or in a little bit of breadcrumbs, you can put just about any vegetables. Make dumplings of all sizes. The important thing is to get them to make the dumplings themselves. .and they will enjoy the tossing.”
Do not pronounce the name. Dorothy Barba takes this advice from a former guest on the show: “The secret to eating certain dishes is not to say the names of the foods. Serve the zucchini without saying what it is.”
Take care of the presentation: Enjoy the mixed salads, make a rainbow, it works very well. You can also have fun with color and make whole red and green dishes.
Eat differently: beans with your fingers, for example!
listen | Barbatruc on vegetables and fruits