How to Introduce Cauliflower to Toddlers
When I suggest trying cauliflower in feeding therapy, parents explain that they have attempted it before and their kids didn’t like it. In my experience, their refusal is usually due to cauliflower having a bland taste or the consistency being too challenging. Kids need flavor and fun if we want them to think of veggies as a tasty treat. With these tips your toddlers will be asking for more cauliflower please!
Colors: Traditional cauliflower is white with a creamy taste. But there are several other amusing colors to choose from. Kids are surprised when I introduce other colors of cauliflower, including green, orange and purple. These colors are vibrant and fun…and perfect for dipping in ranch dressing!
Consistency: At times, children state that the texture of cauliflower is overwhelming. For these children, I puree cauliflower and introduce it as a main ingredient in soup or blend it into macaroni and cheese. The key is to tell your toddler that you added it to their favorite food. I am not a fan of hiding food or “tricking” children into eating it. This method can cause your toddler to lose interest in foods they once loved because they don’t trust you. Generally, I include the child by asking how many tablespoons of puree cauliflower I should add. The language I use is, “I’m adding cauliflower to our mac & cheese today, should we add 1 or 3 tablespoons?” This gets their sensory permission, includes them in the process and makes for a successful meal. Yay!
Cauliflower Popcorn: One of my favorite and stress-free ways to introduce cauliflower to toddlers is to make cauliflower popcorn! By incorporating different colors of cauliflower you can make my Rainbow Cauliflower Popcorn (pictured):
- Use multiple colors of cauliflower (adding up to approx. 1 head of cauliflower)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean and remove the cauliflower leaves and trim the stem. Cut cauliflower into pieces slightly larger than popcorn, as they will shrink a bit when you bake them.
- In a large bowl, mix the salt, turmeric, garlic salt and olive oil. Add cauliflower and cover it completely with the mixture. Place on a baking sheet (you might want to line it with aluminum foil or parchment paper) and spread pieces out so they bake evenly. Cook for 30 minutes for a tender consistency or 40 minutes for a crispier texture.
- For the grand finale, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top. Nom nom!
What recipes do you add cauliflower to? How do you introduce cauliflower to toddlers? What consistency of cauliflower does your toddler like? Try my Rainbow Cauliflower Popcorn recipe and let me know what you think! #ezpzfun #cauliflower #toddler
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).