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The Great Brussels Sprouts Caper…

Perhaps a better title would have been: How to Get Your Kids to Eat their Brussels Sprouts…or not.

I don’t know about you, but I hate Brussels Sprouts!

Growing up, my mom used to boil them. I can’t imagine a worse preparation for this vegetable. I think it just enhanced the naturally bitter flavor and slimed up the texture. I still gag to this day when I think of Brussels Sprouts.

A few weeks ago, Sam and I ran into Whole Foods to load up on produce. Imagine my horror when Sam became intrigued by a Brussels sprouts stalk. He thought it looked like a funny Christmas tree, so he wanted to try them! My gag reflex wanted to say HECK NO! but the mom part of me said…your child wants to try a healthy vegetable, how can you NOT encourage this??? I bit my tongue and bought the “tree.”

My mom always said that we had to keep trying the vegetables that we did not like because our taste buds changed as we got older…I think she lied. 🙂

Trying to stay optimistic, I researched all sorts of preparation methods and recipes for Brussels sprouts. I settled on roasting them and used a recipe by Ina Garten of The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. The recipe got 5 stars and a lot of great reviews so I tried to have an open mind. I am a really big believer on not voicing my opinions and taste preferences on my sons. I do not want to influence their acceptance of a food, I want to encourage them to try new things and decide for themselves if they like something or not. When Sam was about 2, he came in the kitchen while I was chopping onions for a recipe. He got up on the stool and asked if he could try the raw onions. I said “sure,” and resisted saying “no, you wont like them.” He ate a piece of raw onion, and as I prepared a glass of milk to help him recover…I was astonished when he asked if he could have some more in a bowl! Sam ate raw onions for about a year!

So, I made a big event out of the Brussels sprouts…more for myself than for Sam and Luke.

Gluten-Free, Brussels Sprouts, How to Get your Kids to Eat Brussels Sprouts

We decorated the stalk with Christmas ornaments and tinsel. LOL!  I’m such a dork.

Gluten-Free, Brussels Sprouts, How to Get your Kids to Eat Brussels Sprouts

The Mission, should you choose to accept it: Get Your Kids (and Yourself) to Eat the Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Gluten-Free, Brussels Sprouts, How to Get your Kids to Eat Brussels Sprouts

Well, Sam said he really liked them!

Gluten-Free, Brussels Sprouts, How to Get your Kids to Eat Brussels Sprouts

Although, in this picture he does not look all that convinced!

Gluten-Free, Brussels Sprouts, How to Get your Kids to Eat Brussels Sprouts

Now this child, my little “mini-me,” is a little more dramatic than his big brother…

Gluten-Free, Brussels Sprouts, How to Get your Kids to Eat Brussels Sprouts

He is thinking about the taste…

Gluten-Free, Brussels Sprouts, How to Get your Kids to Eat Brussels Sprouts

This is not going to end well…

Gluten-Free, Brussels Sprouts, How to Get your Kids to Eat Brussels Sprouts

Yep, he is so me!  This is giving me a flashback to my childhood, gagging on Brussels sprouts!  I know this is a gross picture, but as a mom…it is one of the funniest parts of parenthood, getting to be on the “other side” of the yucky vegetable!

Don’t worry, no child was harmed in the making of this blog post. 🙂

Honestly though, Brussels sprouts are really good for you, and I would like to find a recipe that will help Luke and I eat them. The gluten-free diet can make it difficult to obtain certain nutrients without the addition of a multi-vitamin or fiber supplements. Check this out from the website How Stuff Works:

Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

No one knows the origin of Brussels sprouts, though it’s logical to assume they originated in Belgium. Like nearly all vegetables, Brussels sprouts are naturally low in fat and calories.

But unlike most vegetables, Brussels sprouts are rather high in protein, accounting for more than a quarter of their calories. Although the protein is incomplete — it doesn’t provide the full spectrum of essential amino acids — it can be made complete with whole grains. This means you can skip a higher-calorie source of protein, like high-fat meat, and occasionally rely on a meal of Brussels sprouts and grains.

Brussels sprouts are loaded with vitamin A, folacin, potassium, calcium. They have 3-5 grams of fiber per cup, and at 25 calories per 1/2 cup cooked, they give us a reason to eat them more often. Brussels sprouts are one of those foods that will fill you up, without filling you out.

Brussels sprouts are very high in fiber, and they belong to the disease-fighting cabbage family. Indeed, they look like miniature cabbages. Like broccoli and cabbage — fellow cruciferous vegetables — Brussels sprouts may protect against cancer with their indole, a phytochemical.

Brussels sprouts are also particularly rich in vitamin C, another anti-cancer agent. Whether you choose them for their healthiness or because you love Brussels sprouts, one thing is certain: You will be getting a good-for-the-body food that is high in protein and low in fat and calories.


  1. I laughed at this-because I had roasted brussel sprouts for dinner! I actually like them quite a bit, but I have them when my fiance isn't home. He can't stand them, and like you posted above-they have a high fiber content. We'll leave it at that 😉
    I do add a bit of garlic powder and cayenne to them in addition to the sea salt-perhaps that would help? I imagine you'd have to go lightly on the spices with the little guys.

  2. Hi Erin!

    That is so funny, I was just reading a post on Gluten Free is Life and Kim is making Brussels sprouts this week. I clicked on her post from a while back and she said it best, "You either love them or hate them, there is no in between!" They are so good for you though that I am going to keep trying to get to the point where I can get them down. They have to be especially good for celiacs with our increased risks of cancer, etc. I will try them with cayenne and see how that goes 🙂 I wonder if there is a sauce that would counteract the bitterness??


  3. Heidi,
    So funny, I was just thinking a balsamic vinegar reduction would probably make a nice sweet sauce!

    • Erin,
      Oh yes!!! I remember making strawberries with a balsamic vinegar reduction when I went on Weight Watchers after Sam was born… it was delightfully sweet and low points! Great idea!!!

  4. Heidi…..I have made them roasted & then topped with an apricot glaze and I bet that would help! I will see if I can find the glaze recipe & post it later on. 🙂 I think it was just Apricot Fruit Spread & lemon juice (only a little) warmed up in a pan & then brushed over the sprouts.

  5. What a funny, delightful post! I didn't know all that nutrition info about brussels sprouts. As a vegetarian (who lives and cooks with a vegan) while we are confident we're getting our protein needs met it's always good to find other great natural non-soy sources. We try to eat only organic veggies (we're lucky to live in the bay area where it's not too outrageous to do that) and brussels sprouts are almost never offered organic, so we hardly ever eat them. They are one of my favorite veggies, though, and I do miss them. After reading all those great nutrition facts I am going to make more of an effort to see if I can track down a farm that is growing them organically so we can have them more often!

    • Thank you for the comment 🙂 I did not know all of that info about Brussels sprouts either, and even though I am not currently a fan, it does make me want to keep trying to find a way to enjoy them!

  6. Hey Heidi,
    I came across this recipe for a dijonaise-type sauce for the sprouts. You could probably use less butter if you wanted too…

  7. Heidi –

    I am new to Brussel Sprouts too. Had them for the first time over Thanksgiving and I really liked them. We cut ours in half so they aren't so big and roast them then toss with a bit of balsamic vinegar or toss and then roast. Also try them with a bit of fresh shredded Parmesan cheese on top when they come out of the oven.

    I have some in the frig right now that I need to make…

    I have been learning to eat a lot of new veggies now as an adult, stuff my mom never made us. Broccoli was about as exotic as it got at our house. Green beans, peas and corn were the standby's.

  8. Renee,

    Cool, it is nice to know that I am not alone in this department! After having your Quinoa salad yesterday, I will try anything you make! 🙂

    I think I am going to try Brussels again this week (gulp) with a Balsamic Reduction…

    Maybe I better turn the camera on myself this time instead of Luke!

  9. Giggled all though reading this. Its hysterical ~ lol.

    • Thanks Lisa… Sam actually does love Brussels sprouts (much to my chagrin) so I have been making them on occasion. I recently used Erin's advice and made a balsamic reduction, but I first sauteed the sprouts in bacon drippings (which only seems to defeat the purpose of eating them in the first place!), then topped with crumbled bacon, the balsamic reduction and fresh Parmesan cheese. Luke ate TWO before gagging and I managed to get 4 down. I still didn't care for them, but they were manageable! 😉

  10. Elizabeth Molina says

    Hmmm…Brussel Sprouts. I’ve settled on an easy recipe that consists of roasting the sprouts (I cut them in half) with some sea salt until they’re tender and mixing up a glaze of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. A little goes a long way.

    • Elizabeth Molina says

      I don’t roast them with the glaze, but add it just before serving. My kids…well one of them anyway gobbles them up. (the other doesn’t like the looks of them and won’t try them) On time I made a batch for to eat with dinner and I put them in a bowl while waiting for the rest of the meal to finish. Well my son age the whole batch himself. So now I make plenty.


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