With Halloween around the corner, it’s time to talk about something that really gives kids the creeps. Forget about vampires (those hunky blood suckers) or zombies (they have feelings too). What terrifies many children are cruciferous vegetables. Even the name sounds scary -- sort of like crucify or crucio (for all you Harry Potter fans).
Cruciferous vegetables, also known as brassicaceae, are the ones that hit the market in fall, just in time for Halloween. Cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are just a few of the commonly unloved veggies that make up this plant variety. Yet although the cruciferae are often sneered at, and even loathed by some, they are hardly villains. Dubbed super vegetables, they are full of antioxidants and vitamins, are thought to have cancer-preventing and fighting agents, and also protect against cardiovascular disease. So, contrary to popular belief, these under appreciated vegetables are actually the heroes of the food world.
Yet as much as I put myself in the role of PR rep for these amazing plants, multitudes of kids (and even some adults) meet a plateful of cauliflower, kale or Brussels sprouts with scrunched up faces and pursed lips. Of course there are many people (adults and children alike) who love all things cruciferous, but I don't think it's farfetched to say these vegetables have a bad rap.
But don't lose heart. If your child has decided she hates all things cruciferous, you can trick her into getting excited about eating them. Don't worry. I'm not suggesting you hide the vegetables (as I am strongly against deceiving kids about food -- Santa Claus, however, is a different matter). Rather, I support getting your children interested in eating these amazing vegetables with their eyes wide open, and some of the little darlings will even come to love them. The younger your kids are, the easier your job. So if your kids are a little older, your task will be more difficult, but with a little effort -- along with a fair amount of Parmesan cheese and bacon -- it's possible to convince your kids that cruciferous vegetables are not only edible, but quite tasty.