How to Prepare Broccoli Your Kids Will Eat

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Broccoli gets a bad rap among kids, right? I'm saying there are some vegetables that are easy on the eyes for kids. Corn or peas, for example, are vegetables which most kids are willing to try. But broccoli seems to be the Mount Everest in kid-friendly cuisine. But we, as moms, needn't be deterred. It often takes children being exposed to the same food 10-12 times before they decide to like it. Part of it simply has to do with becoming familiar with the taste and texture.

The key to enticing your child to try and eat broccoli is in the way it's prepared. It takes on different textures and flavors depending on how it's served. So make sure you offer it many different ways in order to find your child's preferred broccoli dish. You and I can probably list ways we love to eat vegetables and ways we don't. I, for instance, don't like broccoli raw, even in salads. But I love it boiled, roasted, in soups, casseroles and stir-fries. My husband likes it boiled to death so that the broccoli is mushy, but I hate that! I want the broccoli to be tender-crisp. All I'm saying is it's okay for your kid to turn up his or her nose at broccoli once or twice. Don't quit! You may just need to try it in a different recipe or using a different cooking method.

Another thing to consider when campaigning for broccoli is that sometimes the vegetable justifies the means. In other words, adding kid-friendly ingredients to a dish to make it more appealing is often key to any positive vegetable-eating experience. We want our kids to be life-long broccoli eaters, don't we? Broccoli has long been known as a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and fiber. If we can instill a love of broccoli that continues on to adulthood, that's a feather you'll always wear in your parenting hat. So, if by adding a little cheese, or by sautéing with a little oil; if a little sugar is added to the boiling water, or a little cream added to the soup you find a dish that your child absolutely gobbles up, by all means keep it up, man!

Here's the recipe that was the key to bringing broccoli up the ranks in our house. My kids even request this as a side dish at dinner! And remember, if your kids don't flip for this recipe, find a different one to try. Don't give up!

Roasted Broccoli

2 large heads of broccoli, cut into small chunks and florets, main huge stem discarded

2 cloves garlic, minced or smashed

Coarse salt and pepper (or regular table salt and pepper)

3 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread broccoli onto a large cookie sheet, add garlic and drizzle with oil. Get in there with your hands and smoosh the oil, garlic and broccoli around until the broccoli is evenly coated with oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake in middle rack in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the broccoli start to brown. Serve warm.

*If you want to church this dish up a little, after you take the broccoli out of the oven, sprinkle it with parmesan cheese and a fresh basil chiffonade.

For more ideas on feeding kids healthy meals, and teaching healthy habits with the new MyPlate, visit Super Healthy Kids

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