Superhero Your Vegetables

Children | | May 13, 2009 at 12:55 pm
Photo by mkm photography.

Photo by mkm photography.

I’ll be honest.  The only reason I ate broccoli as a kid was because I thought they were little trees.  It helped that I saw a cartoon moose on a Sunday morning eating little trees that were made to look like broccoli (I nominate for vegetable with the zaniest name).  Maybe I’ll even admit that Popeye influenced a serving of spinach or two.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation just presented a study showing that kids are almost TWICE as likely to eat vegetables with cool names, and that they continue to do so even once the name is no longer used!

Worked for me in a way – I can see through walls, and scale buildings in a single leap – but only on Sundays.  So here’s a brainstorm of names for vegetables and some dishes – superhero style.  Send me your best ones, and I’ll update this list.

  • X-ray Vision Carrots - Carotenoids
  • Lion Heart Berries - Antioxidants, Vascular health
  • Better Run! Bananas - Potassium
  • Super Skeleton Greens – Kale, chard, spinach, parsley - Vitamin K for bone heath
  • Immortal Baby Trees (Broccoli) - Cancer protective
  • No Bruise Peas - Vitamin C for collagen production
  • Houses on Mars - Whole sautéed mushrooms standing on a bed of spinach.
  • Fish with Spikes - Fish with long carrot sticks

Reader submissions (I added a couple of health bits):

  • Dragonball-Zucchini – (via Melanie) great source of manganese and magnesium
  • Cucumberserker – (via @Nikeshshukla) potassium, silicon, sulfer – good stuff
  • Green bean snakes / fangs (via @holistica)
  • Dipping (via @holistica) dipping in general, dipping everything
  • Any long skinny veggie (via @holistica) fangs, snakes or worms!

Some other tips that I shamelessly stole from my mother (happy mothers day):

  • Cut veggies into TINY TINY bits and mix them into every day foods.  Lasagna for example with tiny bits of carrots, zucchini etc.  Impossible to pick out.  I tried and my sister tried even harder.
  • Play color games with the veggies
  • Decorate the plates
  • Involve kids in cooking. Stirring vegetables, peeling etc.
  • Don’t force kids all the veggies, mix them in with their favorites as well.  Assuming they have some!

What I would really LOVE is to start a list of names like these that you have all used, or that you can think of.  Drop it in the comments, or send me an email.

NishantDr. Nishant Rao is a co-founder of He is a well-traveled naturopathic doctor and new father, practicing an integrative approach to create wellness in and around Los Angeles. Become a patient or discover his practice.

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  1. Melanie says:

    This is great advice! My kids HATE kale, I’ll try the super skelly greens on them.

    How about “dragonball-Zucchini”


  2. dr sherman says:

    I am a big fan of playing with veggies to get kids to eat them! My sister and mom used the ‘trees’ trick with me to eat broccoli.

    When trying to get a five year old to eat green beans (or any long, skinny veggie), I pretend they are snakes or worms then I stick them in my mouth like fangs. She laughs, copies me & eats!

    This trick worked when she was 3 yrs old, too! Kids like to dip food into other foods, so healthy bean or yogurt dips can add fun & nutrition to any meal.

  3. Dr. Nishant says:

    good one!

  4. Dr. Nishant says:

    the broccoli trees worked on you too!

    Thanks for the tips

  5. dr sherman says:

    Pretending to be a dinosaur while eating trees works really well, too.