Cooking Teacher Confession: My Own Kids Don’t Like Vegetables

Picking Kale

Photo Shoot for The Whole Family Cookbook - Kale Chips

I was giving a talk to a group of preschool parents last night about family mealtimes and the challenges that we all face when trying to do what’s best for our families.  As I was answering one mom’s question, I made a confession.  Even though I know what I am supposed to do to avoid power struggles, I still have a hard time keeping my mouth shut and letting my kids decide how much of the food (or IF!) they will eat from our family-style meal.

And then another confession easily followed…Even though I help families get their kids to try new foods and cook together, my very own kids do not like most vegetables. There, I said it.  So, even in the best situation, parents can have challenges feeding children well.  Even teachers do.  The moral of the story is: cut yourself some slack.

There’s no “do what I say, not as I do” going on here.  I cook with my kids, encourage them to help me plan meals, take them to the farmer’s market – and set the stage for them to enjoy real foods the way that I do.  But they simply aren’t on board yet.  Things are looking up, though.  My daughter has discovered the joys of cheese sauce with broccoli, and they will both devour raw bell peppers until the cows come home…and the kale chips – oh yes, the kale chips.  Thank goodness I have a generous kale plant in my garden – these are their favorites!  Maybe they could be the gateway vegetable for your family, too!

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Kale Chips

For people like me who tend to eat just a few too many tortilla chips, this recipe is pure heaven.  It’s hard to argue with eating too much kale!

Bunch of kale
Olive oil
Salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Hold the thick stem of each kale leaf with one hand. Pinch the base with the fingers of the other hand and rub them up the stem – the leaves will tear right off!
  3. Put the kale pieces on a baking sheet lined with a silpat (a silicone baking mat) or with parchment paper.
  4. Pour on a little olive oil and toss with clean hands.  Sprinkle with salt (and pepper if your kids like that…)
  5. Make sure they are in a single layer on the baking sheet sheet.
  6. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until crisp.
  7. Keep an eye on them in case they start to burn.


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19 Responses to Cooking Teacher Confession: My Own Kids Don’t Like Vegetables

  1. Kristen says:

    I’m so luck because my kids do like vegetables… it is often the other food on the table they don’t want to eat 🙂

  2. Robyn says:

    Thankfully, my son does love most vegetables I prepare. But getting him to try new ones is not that easy.

    Love your new look, Michelle!

  3. Your honesty makes me feel so much better! 🙂 My child will eat veggies, but he doesn’t like them. We do a lot of fruit around here.

    I’ve heard about kale chips….now I think I’ll have to try them. Thanks!

  4. Amanda says:

    My kids will eat anything with Ranch dressing on it. Which of course, makes me feel like a huge failure! 😉 I cant wait to try these kale chips though… sounds like a real winner!

    • Michelle Stern says:

      Oh my gosh, Amanda – don’t let that make you feel badly. They are eating their veggies and that’s what counts! Maybe you could try to make your own ranch dressing – then you would totally be in control of its ingredients, too! Keep me posted if you find a good recipe to try. Or, I can try to make one too! xo

  5. naomi says:

    My son doesn’t love veggies, but boy he would be a fruitarian if we let him.

    Your right the Kale chips might be a good gateway.

  6. Renee says:

    My daughter will eat apples forever –is that a vegetable? 🙂

    She’s 10, and it is still a struggle to get her to eat veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, two of my favorites. But she will eat things like cooked carrots and green beans. It seems to me that it’s getting past the texture of many veggies that is hard for kids, but maybe that’s just my kid. We made zucchini muffins the other day, and we had some extra zucchini. She tried some sauteed slices and some raw slices. Her preference was for raw.

    Do most kids prefer raw veggies over cooked?

  7. @renee i’ve found that a lot of young kids prefer raw veg to cooked. when my guys were toddlers they’d nibble and munch while I was chopping on the cutting board, but once the cooked dish hit their plate, forget it. my oldest now eats most veggies i prepare, except cooked leafy greens. although he likes to announce on most of them “i’m just eating them because they are good for my body” my youngest is much more finicky. he won’t eat anything if he doesn’t like the taste. i must have really lucked out with my older one being willing to eat stuff even when the taste isn’t pleasing.

    it takes a while to train tastebuds. just remember they have the rest of their lives to learn to love veggies and other wholesome real food.

    michelle – love the new site, looks awesome!

  8. Manu Hipkins says:

    Michelle, I have 3 kids and all are really different eaters. I went to a Raw Food class the other day and learned how to make Kale Chips. We LOVE them and I am so glad because Kale is so rich in nutrients. We belong to a CSA here on the coast side and Kale is an abundant feature in our weekly share.I also make Kale-Apple juice in the juicer; give my 4 y.o.son a wiggly straw and down the hatch it goes;-); We drink this for breakfast.
    Thanks for sharing your story and recipe! Let me know if I can feature your story on my blog for “Kidshealthychoices”.
    Best wishes,
    Manu, Founder Well Kiddos

  9. I love this post 🙂 My 14 year-old eats a pretty good variety (she always has), but my 7 and 3-year olds hardly touch veggies. My friends laugh about it because I have a food blog, like that somehow magically makes my kids great eaters 😉 Glad to know I’m not alone in my boat 😉

  10. Michelle Stern says:

    Jenna – thanks for visiting. I am thrilled you like the new site and am grateful for your helpful comment and response! It’s so awesome to have people like you to share ideas and brainstorm with!

    Manu – I’d love to hear how you made your kale chips. I can’t get enough of them!

    Tiffany – great to hear from you. It’s been awhile since we have chatted! YES – people think that because we cook that our kids eat! Granted, they probably eat better than other kids, but they still have their own particular food preferences. We just have to keep plugging away. They’ll catch on eventually! xo

  11. Thanks for this confession, I really needed to read this. As someone who loves veggies & has two small children-the struggle to get them to “eat their veggies” is relentless. As a parent I can only do my best & keep offering. Nothing wrong with some extra butter & cheese on top either 🙂

  12. Kris says:

    Oh man! Finally got around to making this recipe tonight. I need to go back to the store for more kale!! The girls just looked at it on the plate. I am going to start making this as often as I can find kale in hopes I can get them to try it soon. Thanks again, Michelle.

  13. Pingback: Baked Kale Chips | Vegan Massacre

  14. KW Yap says:

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