How I Taught My Kids to Like Visible Onion Pieces: A Guest Post

A Guest Post from Jenna @ Food with Kid Appeal
I’m a recovering picky eater.  I just started eating onions in the past couple years, and as a gateway to large onion pieces I used to dice and mince very finely so I didn’t really notice them. As my ignorant discrimination waned and my fondness for onions grew, so did the size of my dice. As a result, my kids started picking onions out of dishes they’d eaten dozens of times.
The first time it happened my oldest located an onion and inquired, “Mama, what is this one?”  I’m not in the deceptively delicious camp, so I responded truthfully, “It’s an onion.” As you’ve probably already predicted, the response I got was “I don’t like onions.”
Sigh.  What now? I was determined that my kids wouldn’t celebrate their 30th birthday as onion avoiders as I did, but how was I going to get them to like onions?  Just like I did.  With practice and an open mind.
Step 1 Open Their Mind – I started out by telling them my onion story. I spent my whole life picking onions out of dishes. I enjoy eating them now and wish I’d tried to like them when I was a kid. Not only do they taste delicious, but they are super veggies that make me healthy.  I was a silly kid.  I thought I didn’t like onions, and never tried them to see if I liked them.
Then I told them their onion story.  I told them they did like onions.  That I’d been putting onions in spaghetti, stir fry and taco meat for years and they’ve been eating it.  I told them they’d already learned to like really tiny onion pieces, and with practice they’d learn to like big onion pieces too.  Just like mama, only they’d be smarter than mama because they’d learn to like them 30 years before I did.
Step 2 Make Onions Relevant – I did some onion research to find out what makes them a vegetable with super powers.  Making food relevant to my kids and linking it to their daily activities always gives them a reason to taste something they are initially averse to. We learned that onions
  • Are anti-inflammatory – helps reduce inflammation of upper respiratory congestion, asthma and arthritis
  • Contain quercitin that works with vitamin C to kill harmful bacteria – say hello to fewer and less severe infections!
  • Contain tryptophan to help us sleep better and elevate mood
  • Lower blood sugar, cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and 8 other cancer types
Cancer prevention is a hard sell for a kid. Antibacterial is one they get. Even little kids don’t like nasty viruses and infections getting in the way of attending a pal’s birthday party, or making the weekend soccer game.
Step 3  Practice Makes Progress – What better way to practice than on a dish where the onion is one of two main ingredients?

No sneaky onions in this kicked up a notch peas side dish.  With the assurance that I know they are capable of learning to like onions, the knowledge that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to, and plenty of dinners to practice on, they both learned to eat visible onion pieces of all sizes.  At times they pick them out, and eat them last, but they always eat them.  All it takes is a reminder that the onions will land in their tummy, quercitin will enter the blood stream and then seek out and destroy bacteria trying to make them sick.

— Jenna shares recipes and feeding the family strategies for picky and reluctant eaters at Food with Kid Appeal. Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s show Food Revolution, Jenna decided to make a big bold goal of finding 1,000 people in 30 days to sign up for the Recovering Picky Eater Challenge. Knowing that one huge obstacle to eating for better health is not liking the food, she aims to put a dent in America’s less than optimal eating habits, by teaching kids and adults how to learn to like food they think they don’t like. Check out the recovering picky eater challenge.

Do YOU like onions? Do your kids? What do you do to make onions easier to swallow?

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  1. I had to laugh when I read this! When I was a kid I used to eat whole onions raw as a snack. So the first time my son said to me, “I don’t like onions!” I freaked out. How could MY child not like onions? I’ve been slowly but surely trying to get his accustomed to them ever since. Now that he is getting older I think I may use some of the above reasoning to draw him into my onion world.

    Oh and no, I don’t still eat onions raw…at least not when my husband is home… (:

  2. Just found this on pinterest. Great article!

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