Veggie Tales from a Pediatrician Mom

Carleen Hanson, MD

Dr. Hanson, Pediatrician, Meriter West Washington

“Eat your veggies!” How many times have you said these words to your children (or had your parents say it to you growing up)? It’s unfortunate that some of the foods that are the healthiest, are the ones that kids seem programmed to dislike.

I wish I could say that both of my children love veggies, but I’d be lying. My daughter has always been an awesome vegetable eater, and we haven’t had to struggle much to encourage her. Naturally, my husband and I chalked it up to our parenting prowess and figured that we did something right to make her that way. Then, my son came along and despite our following the same feeding schedule and progression of foods, he has been much more of a picky eater – veggies included.

We’ve tried many tricks to get him to eat vegetables. When he was an infant we did the crazy airplane and train sounds to get him to open his mouth. As he’s gotten older, we’ve tried hiding veggies in other foods, which he seemed to always be able to detect. We had brief success with the creation of his alter ego “Broccoli Boy” – he became very good at eating broccoli, which was a great thing. However, Broccoli Boy didn’t want any sidekicks, so unfortunately “Cauliflower King” and “The Bean Bandit” were flops, and Broccoli Boy gradually faded away into obscurity.

I have become a little more creative in the kitchen, thanks to my son, and am always on the lookout for fun recipes to try that feature vegetables. One of our favorites is what we call Crunchy Kale. Both my daughter and my son love it and actually request it. We went to the Farmer’s Market recently, and I was thrilled at the sight of my son holding on tightly to his bag of kale the entire time. Perhaps “Captain Kale” has a future in our home, and maybe yours.

Crunchy Kale Recipe
1 bunch of kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Tear kale into approximately 2 inch pieces, removing the hard stem. Rinse and dry well (a salad spinner works great for this).
  • Toss kale with olive oil and salt.
  • Spread on rimmed pan (ideally lined with parchment paper, but not necessary). Bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp and lightly browned. Watch carefully at the end as can quickly be overcooked.

Dr. Carleen Hanson
Meriter West Washington

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