Many parents face the dilemma of getting their children to eat more vegetables. While your kids may be picky eaters, their bodies still need the nutrition veggies supply. The recommended daily allowance for vegetables is based on age. It ranges from a cup a day for toddlers to 3 cups for teens and young adults.
While getting these servings in is not an easy task, parents can cook up unusual vegetables in a variety of ways to enhance their children’s nutrition. Even the pickiest of kids would have fun trying veggies with weird shapes and colors. Trying new foods can be scary, or it can be a fun adventure, it is all about how you present them to your children. If you want to tweak your family’s vegetable intake, you may consider some of these fun and unusual ones:
Okinawan Purple Sweet Potato
A lot of your children’s favorite foods are made from potatoes. When you look at an Okinawan purple sweet potato, it looks like any other spud; however, it has an amazing purple hue when you cut into it. Native to Asia and the Pacific islands, the Okinawan is adored for its earthy, sweet flavor. Imagine how surprised your kids would be to get a purple baked potato! They can also make unusual potato chips, fries, or mashed potatoes. These starchy tubers can be used in just about any of your family’s potato recipes. While the kids are getting a kick out of the fun color, you will appreciate the plethora of vitamins and minerals the Okinawa purple sweet potato provides.
When setting a plate of Romanesco broccoli on the table, your children may think that you are serving them something from outer space. This strange and fun looking vegetable is a relative of cauliflower, and has a mild, nutty taste. Some people call it Roman cauliflower and serve it steamed or boiled. It’s verdant, curly-cued turrets are loaded with fiber, carotenoids, and Vitamin C. Serve it on its own or add it to a vegetable medley or stir-fry.
This knobby tuber might taste somewhat like an artichoke, but it is really the roots of a type of sunflower. At first glance you might even confuse it with ginger root, but the taste is nowhere near. You may hear people refer to them as sunchokes. If you are looking for a starchy vegetable that can stand it for potatoes, try Jerusalem artichokes. Like potatoes, they contain potassium, thiamin, and phosphorus. Iron deficiency is a common problem in kids. Jerusalem artichokes provide a healthy dose of iron. Your kids will rave about a big plate of roasted Jerusalem artichoke chips, they won’t even miss boring russet potatoes.
You probably recognize this heritage stalk as a flavorful addition to old-fashion pies and jellies. Rhubarb has a deep magenta color and a distinctive tart flavor. A perfect way to sneak this delicious veggie into your child’s diet is if it matches their favorite color. They can get excited about eating something pink and purple! This hearty vegetable has been used for so long for sweet concoctions, that most people consider it a fruit. When used as a savory ingredient, rhubarb can give a delicious kick to fish entrees. If you choose to explore the desert side of rhubarb, try a classic strawberry/rhubarb pie. It is also delicious as an accompaniment to toast or biscuits. No matter how you serve it, rhubarb can be part of a balanced diet for your children.
Has your child ever dreamed about being a dinosaur? Many of their favorite herbivores used to munch on greens, and sometimes even flowers! Zucchini is a popular vegetable that is used in soups and other savory dishes. It can also be enjoyed fried or made into scrumptiously sweet bread. While your family may be used to seeing zucchini in different guises at the dinner table, they may be pleasantly surprised to see zucchini blooms. The blossom grows on the end of the zucchini, and has a deliciously mild taste like squash. They come in shades of gold and orange, and can be stuffed with your favorite cheeses. If you want a zesty appetizer, try stuffing them with ricotta and deep frying them. Do not be surprised if your kids ask for seconds or thirds!
Introducing unique vegetables to your family can create interesting conversations around the table. Your children need the rich vitamins and minerals that are found in vegetables—especially the colorful ones. These have phytonutrients and antioxidants that fight free radicals which are detrimental to the body’s cells. If you don’t feel like cooking, you can always opt for veggie filled delivered nutrition meals, that come pre-made right to your door. You can have fun with the kids by researching various recipes that require unfamiliar veggies.