Foods Kids Hate to Eat (and How to Make Them Change Their Minds)

Foods Kids Hate to Eat (and How to Make Them Change Their Minds)
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Foods Kids Hate to Eat (and How to Make Them Change Their Minds)

1. Fish

Rather than trying to push fishy fish like salmon on your kids, start with blander fish like cod or flounder. Batter it lightly in whole-wheat breadcrumbs, bake it in the oven, and couple it with a kid-friendly staple like ketchup or even cocktail sauce. Include some of your kids' favorite side dishes with the meal.

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2. Brussels Sprouts

As a child, I would groan at the smell of brussels sprouts, but oftentimes, it's overcooking and overboiling that leads to the awful aroma. Go for fresh over frozen. Try to avoid overcooking. Go with a quicker method like stir-frying. Slice them in half and sauté them in olive oil and garlic with salt and pepper.

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3. Broccoli

Overcooking broccoli leads to the smell that turns most kids off. To help with the aroma, avoid overcooking by adding broccoli to boiling water and simmering just until it turns bright green, about four to five minutes. Drain and sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes.

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4. Eggs

If your kids won't do hard-boiled eggs because of the smell, consider another preparation. Because they are so versatile, there's bound to be a preparation they will like. Try scrambling an egg in the morning with a dash of milk and a little seasoning. Put it in between slices of whole-grain bread or an English muffin to have on the go.

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5. Avocado

Texture and consistency are often the reasons for refusing this food. Avocados are great sliced up into salads or on turkey sandwiches. A big seller for those who don’t like avocados plain is guacamole. With all the seasonings and some of the extras like tomatoes that are included, using guacamole is a great way to boost intake of this heart-healthy fat.

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6. Peaches

You’d be amazed that this fuzzy fruit can easily become kid-friendly by serving it without the peel. Look in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle for chopped peaches in 100-percent juice. A great addition to any lunchbox and a time-saver for Mom and Dad!

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7. Cauliflower

This one might just top the list of worst smelling foods. If your kids like mashed potatoes, though, we have a solution for you: mashed cauliflower. Boil a head of cauliflower until it's done, mash by hand or in a food processor, add a pat of butter and a splash of milk, and you have a way to get your kid to eat cauliflower.

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8. Beans

Time to think beyond franks and beans. Eating beans alone is unlikely, so incorporate them into your favorite family meals. Black beans are a great way to boost protein and fiber in your kids' diet, and they're a great addition to salsas, burritos, or even homemade nachos. Kidney beans are great in chili, just in time for fall.

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9. Asparagus

Asparagus is often the victim of overboiling, under-seasoning and bitter taste. Bring this vitamin-packed vegetable back to life! Grab a bunch, cut off half to one inch on the bottom, rinse, pat dry, add one to 2 teaspoons olive oil, and sprinkle with a dash of kosher salt and pepper. Then, roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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10. Greek Yogurt

Yogurt is a great choice for kids, but often the ones kids choose are loaded with sugar and limited in protein. The chunks of fruit are sometimes too much for little ones and the Greek and plain yogurt can seem bitter. The good news is that many new varieties of flavored Greek yogurt are available with a protein punch and less sugar.

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11. Whole-Wheat Bread

Trying to get kids to switch from white bread to whole-wheat bread can be tough. The key is to look at the ingredient list and make sure the first ingredient says "whole wheat." Whole-wheat wraps are a great alternative, too, as kids love wraps and there are so many things you can do with them (even make tortilla chips).

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12. Spinach

If only Popeye were enough to sell this food. But the wilting, lack of eye appeal and taste is enough for some kids to feed it to the dog. The great thing about spinach is how versatile it is. Incorporate it into casseroles, add it as a topping on pizza, use half spinach and half romaine in your salads, and your kids won’t even think twice.

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13. Cottage Cheese

Texture, consistency and blandness make this a no-go for many kids. This is one of those foods you have to sneak into your recipes in order for kids to consume. Packed with protein, this is a great addition to dips and other family favorites like mac and cheese. Your kids won't ever tell the difference!

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14. Chicken

If chicken isn’t packed in nugget or tender form, it can be for parents to get their kids to eat it. The key here is to go blander. There are bunch of great recipes out there for healthy, simple oven-fried chicken, baked chicken with whole-wheat breadcrumbs, or grilled chicken with your kids favorite condiments on the side.

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15. Water

Yes, I know what you are thinking — not a food! But with so many children consuming too much juice and soda, parents wonder how they can get their kids to drink water. Try to dilute the juice. If they consume eight ounces at time, do six ounces of 100-percent juice with two ounces water. Gradually, decrease the juice.

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As a mom, the most frustrating moment can be when you've spent the time to make a nutritious meal and then your child pushes it away or says "I don't like it," even before trying it. Even when Mom and Dad try to be good examples by eating the same foods, it sometimes isn't enough to convince a child to do the same.

Click here for 10 Tips for Making the Perfect Burger

Kids can be pretty picky and meal time can definitely be stressful on parents, but it doesn't have to be. The key is to get creative and to get your kids involved in the process. One of my coworkers suggests picking a weekend day and letting your child pick out any fruit or vegetable they want at the grocery store or farm stand and then going home to cook with it. (Hey, you might learn something, too!)

If your kids are young, use it as an educational moment to describe the color, shape, and texture of the food, or find out where it's grown. For older kids, turn it into an opportunity for them to search online for a new recipe and you can work together on preparing it in the kitchen. Make sure to praise their efforts at meal time, too.

By getting kids involved in the process, the likelihood of them trying new foods greatly increases. You'll definitely still have those moments where you just can't make them happy, but hopefully they will be fewer and farther between. Try not to get frustrated.

Creativity doesn't have to mean extra meal prep for you or time in the kitchen, either. It just requires you to view things a bit differently and to bring some imagination into how you use your ingredients. Check out the slideshow above for some of the top groan-producing foods for kids, which also happen to be highly nutritious, and some simple ways to make them more appealing.

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