Eat Your Veggies


Summer brings an abundance of delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables. Farmers’ markets have farm-grown vegetables that taste so much better than what has been stored and shipped across the country (or the world). Take this opportunity to encourage your kids to try out something new. In the summer months, my kids can’t get enough of seasonal melons, corn on the cob, and more. Having them fresh and readily available encourages me to include more vegetables in our lunches and dinners.

Growing your own vegetables, in a small patch in your yard or even in a couple containers on a deck or balcony, gets kids even more excited about eating vegetables. My four-year-old son Kyle took this picture of our garden (don’t even get me started on the fun value of letting them play with your camera). We are seeing the little broccoli florets begin to form in the center of the big leaves, and it’s exciting. This is our third attempt to grow corn, and the plants are looking green and healthy. I hope it will be our best crop so far (the weeds are certainly thriving).

Hidden Valley Ranch is part of a nationwide school campaign encouraging kids to love their veggies. At there are some great tips to help your kids love their veggies and get in the two to five cups a day that is recommended for a child under twelve. Another way that they are trying to encourage healthy eating is by publishing the book Henry and the Hidden Veggie Garden. They have enlisted mother and actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley to co-author this book with with her father, professional writer Gurney Williams III.

I have to admit a bias towards “star authors.” However, I’m not sure where exactly my bias lies. On one hand I think, “Kimberly Williams-Paisley–she’s so pretty, and I just love those “Father of the Bride” movies. I would love to read her little book!” On the other hand, I tend to put that book to a higher standard thinking, “I hope that they don’t think I’ll read this book just because someone famous wrote it.” I can honestly say that regardless of who wrote it and why I’m reading it, it’s a charming book!

It’s all about hidden vegetables–starting off with the vegetables that Henry hides on his plate so he doesn’t have to eat them, then learning with him about carrots and other root vegetables that are hidden underground as they grow, and finally his seeing his cousin Huck’s own little hidden garden which encourages him to start a hidden garden of his own.

I read this book to my son Kyle. Then the next day he asked me to read it again. The book has been out on the table in the living room because I needed to keep it out as a reminder to write this up. At least once a day he picks it up and asks me to read it to him. My nine-book2_01.gifyear-old daughter Amanda picked it up and read it to herself. It’s a great story, but what’s more–the not-so-subtle message about eating vegetables seems to be working.

This morning a couple hours after breakfast I heard Kyle scrounging in the refrigerator and I asked him what he was doing. “I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?” was the reply. Before I could answer he said, “How about some salad? Some salad with a little bit of dressing,” he said as he got the balsamic ranch dressing out of the fridge. “I can’t argue with that,” I thought as I prepared him a little salad. I asked him if he wanted tomatoes or anything else in his salad, and he said, “Just some carrots, cut up.” I put the carrots beside his bowl of salad, and he said, “No, I want a little bowl of dressing to dip the carrots in.” That’s when I knew that he was taking his cue from Henry, the boy in the book who learned to eat his veggies, because that’s exactly what he had for lunch one day!

Five of you (U.S. or Canadian Residents) will win a copy of Henry and the Hidden Veggie Garden. If you’d like to buy a book (U.S. residents only) they are available to purchase for only $5.00 through September.

To enter, spread the word about the Creative Summer Days giveaway event taking place here on 5 Minutes for Mom. Then leave a comment here. Just for fun, tell me your kids’ favorite vegetables (my daughter loves raw peppers–orange and yellow the best, and the veggie my son is most likely to eat without a fuss is grape tomatoes).

The winners will be announced on June 24 with the others from the Creative Summer Days event.


  1. says

    Both of my kiddos probably love corn-on-the-cob better than any veggie (and I’m pretty sure that’s a starch and not a true veggie). They do love baby carrots, too.

  2. says

    My kid’s favorites are Bobs. No that’s not a typo. They will tell you and then run and get one out of the fridge and get one or two and eat them just like an apple.

    now can you guess where they came up with that name from!

  3. says

    My kids will eat their veggies first, even before their pb sandwiches. And then they ask for more. Don’t know where they got that from!

  4. says

    My son loves baby carrots, peas, raw peppers like your daughter, broccoli, he’s pretty much a veggie eater! This is a great giveaway and what an awesome book. We’re growing a garden and our son loves to tromp through it and listen to us talk about the different veggies popping up! He’s loves to water the garden…but his favorite thing to do is get his shovel and dig up the dirt. Thanks for the opportunity. Will be linking up!

  5. says

    Sounds like something I would like to win! My kids favorite veggie is olives. lol are olives veggies? my baby loves broccoli… my oldest likes peppers.

    God bless-

  6. says

    I have a really picky eater, but my daughter loves corn and carrots. My son, on the other hand, loves any fruit or veggie, you put in front of him.

  7. says

    My weirdo 2 year old loves salad with blue cheese dressing. I guess he likes his veggies hidden in plain sight; some of the things he likes in salad, he’d never eat in a pile on his plate. He and his 5 year old brother both love peas and corn straight from the freezer.

  8. Cindi says

    I am a vegetarian and think this book is super! I see it is written by the actress that played “Dana” on the “According to Jim” television show. She is married to a country western singer. My sons eat most vegetables. One tends to like fruit more and one likes veggies more, though! Please enter me in your book drawing. Thanks,Cindi

  9. Karen Gonyea says

    My kids are veggie lovers, my 3 year old son will sit and eat a whole bell pepper like it’s an apple !!!

  10. Anne says

    Believe it or not, when my kidlets were tiny their fav veggie was asparagus. It was easy to pick up and they loved it!

  11. Gina Stratos says

    Vegetables…. always tricky. My 16 year old likes cucumbers; my 4 year old grated zucchini; my 3 year old loves raw broccoli

  12. Candie L says

    My youngest son loves vegetables. He will cry if he does not get a salad with his food (and the adults do). Both of the boys favorite vegetalbes are corn on the cob

  13. Jill L says

    Green Beans!!! They are pretty picky eaters so I’m happy with this one. Also, corn on the cob – yeah for summer.

  14. Diane says

    My grandson loves broccoli and beets the best although he finds other vegestables tasty as well. My granddaughter, now, that’s a different matter. I once saw her bite into a carrot stick. I think she thought it was some kind of weird meat stick–like a hot dog. she needs this book.

  15. TanjaT says

    they love all veggies :)
    favorites are cauliflower, cherry tomatoes and spring onions!
    I’d love this book for my neohew!
    Thanks :)

  16. Kari Follett says

    Apsaragus. It’s the only veggie that all three of mine will eat and actually ask for seconds of. Can’t say that I blame them, it’s one of my favorites too!!

  17. Jessica Mcghee says

    My Abby Jo loves green beans. But there really isn’t a veggie she doesn’t like…so far!

  18. says

    I love a good book!

    My 6 year old used to LOVE broccoli but now his favorite is a basic side salad.
    My 4 year old is in the I-hate-everything phase right now. Last I remember her favorite veggie was cooked carrots.
    My 2 year old is anti-veggie. He has only ever eaten 1 veggie. Cut Green Beans. What is the worst I can’t make them fresh or prepare them anyway other than straight from can to microwave! He also loves a pasta dish that has squash in it, but he doesn’t know that. :)

  19. Sandy F. says

    My 3 year old son’s favorite veggie is raw carrots (not cooked!) and he loves dipping them in ranch dressing!!! My daughter is 9mo old and seems to like her pea’s the most :O)

  20. Mya Brooks says

    Believe it or not, they love all veggies, but then again, I’m vegetarian, so I brought them up on veggies!

  21. Gen says

    My kids like sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, raw peas, swiss chard, and just about anything if it’s baked in quiche, and my daughter loves asparagus. This sounds like a really neat book- thanks for the give away!

  22. Deanne S says

    I am so blessed to have a son who loves veggies! He has always loved corn, carrots, broccoli, green beans and cauliflower. I can’t get him to eat cooked carrots, but hey, I can’t complain!

  23. Heather C says

    My daughter loves broccoli, mashed cauliflower, carrots, grape tomatoes (although every time she eats one, she has to inform me that they are indeed fruit) and cukes (our cool nickname). We encourage her to try new things, so artichokes are next to try. I just need to find a good recipe.

  24. JoAnne says

    My son, Henry (age 5), prefers his veggies frozen. When I pull out broccoli or green beans from the freezer, he would rather have a bowl of that then once they are cooked.

  25. Carolyn says

    My ten year old daughter just loves Brussels Sprouts. She and I are the only ones in the family that love them.

  26. Cathie says

    They both love green beans and carrots cooked. My girl loves fresh veggies and ranch dip. She’ll choose that as a treat before candy or other sweets

  27. Janene Grace says

    Kids are grown! my son is eating a lot more veggies and my daughter loves salad!

    My grandkids:
    Tyler; green beans
    Dylan: cucumbers
    Lauren: cucumbers, broccoli
    Emma: corn
    Abby: carrots

  28. Leanne CHamblee says

    My son likes salads the best believe it or not! He doesn’t like the tomatoes but he gobbles up the lettuce and the carrots I put in there!

  29. Liz C. says

    Luckily my children like eating their veggies, esp. cherry tomatoes and corn, but my eldest is starting to eat less vegetables. Hopefully this book will help encourage him more.

  30. Terra Heck says

    Right now, my kids’ favorite vegetable is asparagus. We grill it and put parmesan cheese on it and the kids eat it right up.

  31. Sharon Jones says

    Broccoli has actually always been our favorite…cooked or raw…we ALL love it…thanks for great contest

  32. says

    Hey Jenifer, do us a great favor and take a look at our new pre-school DVD ‘123 it’s a fruity abc’ – we’re getting great feedback from parents with kids as young as 15 months asking for fruit while they interact with it. There are clips on our website, You tube, myspace and Amazon. Enjoy!

  33. Tanya Moyer says

    I’d love this because my older girl loves veggies, yet my youngest really struggles to eat them. They do both love carrots, and my older girl loves broccoli! Thanks for offering this – it’s a great giveaway!

  34. Laura says

    My daughter cannot get enough of pickles. Any kind, whether it’s Dill or mustard she devours them. She has loved them since she was 6 months old :)

  35. Tracy Ouellette says

    My baby loves veggies, but my 9 year old has a tough time with them. He’d rather eat mud than a carrot. Perhaps this book can help me help him!

  36. says

    Jen, if you’d like to review the 123 it’s a frutiy abc DVD and run a competition with some dvd’s as prizes we’ll gladly send you some.
    Just reply to
    PS we’re bringing out a fruity numbers and counting DVD next…

  37. Sandra says

    My son is just now starting to eat a few veggies…it only took 4 years to accomplish. We would love to read this book.

    owatz (at) telus (dot) net

  38. Heather says

    We are a family of four and we planted our first large garden this year. Strawberries, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, artichokes, beans and peas and lots of different types of tomatoes. My oldest will eat any veggie. My six year old is the pickiest eater I have ever met and swears that mushrooms are the only veggie he likes. My 3 year old will eat any veggie in moderation and the baby is still on breast milk only. :-)

  39. K. Cleaver says

    Their favorite veggie is corn on the cob if it’s in season. Otherwise, frozen corn and one of my children really likes lima beans. :)

  40. says

    What a cute book! And $5 is not bad to pay, if I don’t win. My kids’ fave veggies are green beans and squash. They’re good eaters, esp. in the veggie and fruit department!

  41. Glenda D says

    My childrenwill not eat vegetables very good. They won’t eat carrots at all. They like broccoli though which is their favorite.

  42. Jennifer C. says

    My oldest likes mashed potatoes, that is it in the veggie dept. My youngest will eat any and all veggies. She gets excited when I bring a bowl of cauliflower or broccoli to the dinner table.

  43. says

    My kids like the more startchy veggies – corn, carrots, etc. I do try to get them to eat more green veggies. They do love Broccoli raw so I try and serve that. I am also trying to get them hooked on salads (like me!)

  44. judy brittle says

    the kids love all vegetables. hard for me to believe since i’m the picky one. i guess i need this book.

  45. Eryn says

    Passed your link to my friends in my “mommy group.” My son’s favorite veggie is celery with peanut butter on it right now, and my daughter’s is cherry tomatoes. We had to put in 3 plants to keep up with her!

  46. Jennifer McLaughlin says

    My kids love baked beans,carrots and peas.They will eat other vegetables but those are their favourite.Thank you for the contest.

  47. llsdogmom says

    My kids love potatoes (of course), lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, etc. They have their moments when they really eat their veggies and others no so much!!

  48. Ashley says

    My son loves broccoli. If I gave him a plate of chocolate and broccoli, he would probably eat the broccoli first!

  49. Terri Fisher says

    My infant son loves all veggies thus far; however, his 3 year old brother was the same way and now will only eat baby carrots!

    tfisher83 AT myexcel DOT com

  50. Nancy in HI says

    I’d love to win this book!

    My 7 yr old has always LOVED brocolli.

    We still call them “trees”. Pass the trees please.

  51. Angela Henderson says

    I wish my 3 year old liked at least 1 veggie, but he doesn’t. I need something this this to boost the veggies likeability factor!

  52. Elizabeth says

    Planting your own vegetable garden is a great way to get your kids to eat there vegi’s. I know that it worked for me growing up– I can remember thinking it was so cool that the vegi’s we were eating came from our own backyard!

    Thank you for the chance to win!!!

  53. britt-sparkledvintagecharm says

    cute book! My son is only 13 months,but he actually loves veggies! His favorite is sweet potatoes.

  54. Leah Juarez says

    So curious about this book!! My little guys favorites are green beans (only fresh or frozen though…Lol) and Carrots!!

  55. Lara Aleff says

    Anything to get kids to eat vegetables gets an A+ in my book. My family’s favorite vegetable is asparagus! Isn’t that weird that they love it? I grill it or broil it in the oven with a little bit of olive oil and garlic. And, belive me it is always a hit!

  56. Christy Hickman says

    My daughter loves most vegetables but her favorite, by far, is carrots. I feel very lucky that she does like her veggies. We would love to win this book. Thanks for the chance!!

  57. Trayece Watts says

    My son loves corn, but everything else is a battle. My daughter is eager to try them all. Right now, squash is her favorite.

  58. Becky Grayson says

    The five yr old loves baby carrots and his 4 yr old sister loves any green veggie. She will down a huge salad before eating anything else.

    Thanks for the contest.

  59. Sarah Hirsch says

    Amazingly enough, my daughter’s favorite veggie is broccoli. I have to pretend it tastes good for her sake. 😉

  60. Tanya Strickland says

    Half of my kids dig green beans and the other two do corn. They all like onion rings – LOL.

  61. Suanne Giddings says

    I love Kimberly Williams-Paisley! When my daughter was eating strained foods, she loved anything orange- carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, etc. She ate so many orange things that she turned orange. LOL Next she fell in love with fresh artichokes! How’s that for a shocker? Thanks for the chance to win!


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