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Linden Farmers Market: August 5

Three Scientific Reasons Your

Kids Don’t Love Their Veggies

An article submitted by friend of the Linden Farmers Market, Maria Cannon

If your children aren’t in love with vegetables, you’re not alone. Children have a propensity to pass on the vegetable serving in the majority, if not all, of their meals. As it turns out, they’re not just being stubborn -- there’s some pretty compelling research that suggests why.

According to a study by the University of Pittsburgh’s Rose Gerber, kids don’t like vegetables for three scientific-based reasons. Let’s take a look at each and get some ideas to overcome them.

Reason #1

Kids unwittingly turn to foods that give them lots of fuel. And fuel most often comes in the form of sugar, the “body’s preferred fuel.” Since veggies aren’t high in calories, and because they contain so much fiber to digest, children gravitate toward foods that give them immediate energy boosts that last longer.

Solutions: Add vegetables to your diet that are the highest energy boosters. Two good examples are spinach and sweet potatoes. Spinach is an iron-rich food that supplies oxygen to your tissues, and this means less fatigue. And sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate that not only gives you long-lasting energy, but it also reduces hunger between meals.

While you’re talking to your children about boosting their energy, also talk to them about ways to make their brain work better. Vegetables like kale, broccoli, and asparagus all have ingredients that naturally boost brain power.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Reason #2

Vegetables are just plain bitter. Calcium, as well as other beneficials like flavonoids, isoflavones, terpenes, and glucosinolates, all combine to make things that don’t taste very good. And while adults adjust to it over time, kids haven’t had the time to get used to it.

Solutions: study in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that when you pair raw veggies with a familiar dip your child likes, such as hummus or ranch dip, your child will be more likely to eat it. Also, turn your veggies sweet by mastering some kid-friendly smoothies. Start with these simple steps.

1. Pick a non-dairy milk for a base. They make for the best consistency. 2. Add a ripe banana. 3. Add another fruit your child enjoys, like strawberries or blueberries. 4. Add a vegetable. 5. Consider an optional protein add-in. 6. Blend to ensure it has a creamy texture. 7. Serve it in something your child enjoys, whether it’s a frosted mug or a sundae dish with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Reason #3

There’s this psychological factor thing called “paired associative learning,” where children seek foods that provide a specific response, such as a birthday cake or candy that’s associated with happy memories. For them, veggies probably don’t elicit much in the way of fun memories.

Solutions: Time to pair veggies with a fun memory too. A good way to get started is by making a weekly or bi-weekly visit to your community farmers market to pick up eggs, honey, and some unusual vegetables they may not see at the supermarket. Here are some ways to make fun memories that your child will associate with the veggies they get there.

1. Let them carry a purse or wallet with their own cash for shopping. 2. Introduce them to the farmer’s that are selling their goods so they can build relationships. 3. Try to find a unique vegetable to try each week. Then, go home and search online for fun recipes that they’ll enjoy cooking with their purchase.

4. Offer them a weekly reward for finding and eating their vegetables, such as local honey for a sweet treat or some hard candy that might be sold there.

Let them use their veggies for fun art before eating. Whether it’s a hat of lettuce or artwork from different colored veggies, give them the opportunity to be creative so they’re associating fun with their vegetables.

Once you’ve worked through these scientific roadblocks, you’ll need to find ways to keep consistent -- and this means repeating exposure. Whether it’s weekly trips to the market or regularly making veggie artwork, keep your child engaged in trying veggies. On average, it takes 10 to 15 times to really figure out you don’t like something, so make sure they give each veggie a chance.


GET FIT at the Linden Farmers Market! In partnership with the Michael Nicholson, the Linden Farmers Market will offer Hip Hop Fitness class starting at 2 PM.

Our producers for market on Sunday, August 5 include:

Blueberried Alive

Columba’s Mexican Food

Columbus Canning

Craft Beer Biscuits

Crisp Greens

Dan the Baker


Fatto A Mano

Good Food Bakery / Foraged & Sown

Great River Organics

Happy Toes Homestead

Heirloom Produce

Kennedy Farms

Kombucha Bob

Midway Concessions

Rainbow Bee

St Stephens

Tiger Mushroom

Too Good Eats

Yia Yia's B.O. (Butters & Oils)

Our Food Trucks: 3DX Food Truck

Our Community Artists: Attitude by Aishata

Our Community Table: The Compost Exchange

Join us every Sunday through August from 1-4 PM, rain or shine!

For more information, or questions related to any of our services, please contact us via email at

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