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Getting a 3 Year Old to Try Brussels Sprouts... Again

15 June 2012

A week and a half ago, I guest posted on Making Lemonade about my top tips for getting a toddler to eat.

With a very stubborn 3 year old in the house, I need to put these tips into action every day!

Tonight's Challenge... Brussels Sprouts.

The last time I made brussels sprouts, I cooked them with some butter and salt and they weren't very good. The memory was a still fresh in my kid's minds when I served them tonight.

However, I wanted to try a recipe that Five Little Chef's had shared at Food Adventure Friday- and I had a bag of frozen sprouts in the freezer that I wanted to use up before we move.

Knowing that they weren't really a favorite, I chose to start everyone with a small serving of just one sprout. My daughter asked for more, my older son ate his but said he wasn't a fan.

The three year old threw a fit.

He immediately started yelling, "I don't like those!"

I put it on his plate anyways and he started crying. I encouraged him to try it, but didn't push. I did tell him that he couldn't keep crying about it and that he would have to leave the table and sit in time out if he couldn't stop crying.

He chose to put himself in time out, but returned to the table fairly quickly and ate the rest of his food.

We had Salmon Cakes and Alexia Sweet Potato Tater Tots (which were dangerously good!) He quickly finished the tater tots and asked for more. I told him that he could have more after he finished the salmon and tried the sprout.

He finished the salmon but didn't want to try the sprout.

I peeled off some of the outside (which was the best tasting part) and also pointed out that it now looked like lettuce.

He still didn't want to try the sprout.

I suggested that I could do "Thomas,"which is when I turn the fork in "Thomas the Train," and feed it to him with train sounds.


I then let it go and didn't say another word about it, but I left his plate on the table. (He never got more tater tots.)

When it was time to go upstairs to get ready for bed, I asked my daughter to help him clear his plate.

When she did, she implemented one of my favorite tips (without my even asking!) She used positive peer pressure and made it fun.

Not only did he try the small pieces that I had pulled off of the outside, but after that, he ate the rest of the sprout, as well.

It just goes to show that the most important tip of all is to never give up!!

What tips or tricks have you used to get your little ones to eat?


  1. Hooray for a victory! You may be intersted in the giveaway I'm doing for healthy eating tips for kids a Copy Kids DVD.

    1. Thanks Mindi! I've actually been following Copy Kids on FB for a while because I think it's such a cook concept and I want to make sure to check it out, but I just haven't had the time yet. I'll definitely enter your giveaway!

  2. Oh, you just reminded me why I love your blog so much. Its like you're speaking just to me every time you post! Please could you tell me at what age you started 'time out' with your children and then learning from your experience when you recommend it be started? So far I've only seen recommendations to start at 3 but I'm worried about leaving it till then because a LOT of behaviour is going to become habit between now (2) and then. I'm a little worried that my daughter is too young yet but don't want to leave it too long.

    1. Awwww... Thanks! I started time out at @ 18 months. This was the age when I started feeling like I needed something. I'm not sure they fully "get" it yet, but it still stops, and calls attention to, the behavior. The first few times, I always feel like I'm one of the moms on Super Nanny because I have to keep putting them in the seat over, and over, and over but eventually they sit there on their own for a short period of time (maybe even LESS than a minute) and when they do, I make a big deal out of the fact that I appreciate that they stayed in time out- discuss (in toddler terms) the behavior, ask them to say sorry (it's the one sign language word I make sure to teach) and then give them a hug and let them out of time out. It doesn't always work perfectly but it's a "tool" I'm glad that I have and I don't think I would have made it to 3 without it.


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