Nutrition Corner: Helpful tips to introduce new vegetables to your family

June 30th, 2016 1:44 pm

It’s almost farmers market time! New vegetables will be available along with the family favorites. Introducing new vegetables to your families as well as older adults can sometimes be a challenge. We get in a rut and at times don’t care to purchase, prepare and try new foods, especially vegetables.

The Totally Veggies Resource Guide is the name of a new publication, just released by Penn State Extension. It reviews why we should eat vegetables, how to get your family to enjoy them, how to buy good quality produce and how to prepare veggies using simple cooking techniques. It also contains kitchen tested recipes and gives the nutrition information for each recipe.

To help you get ready for the locally grown produce, here is a tip from the Totally Veggie Resource Guide. This tip will help you introduce new vegetables to yourself and your family:

“If two or more like it, serve it again. Often, if one of the adults in the family does not like a vegetable, it does not get served. If an adult and a child like the vegetable dish, then keep it in the family meal offerings, especially with younger children. It may take repeated offerings before a food is accepted — sometimes 10 or more times! Even adults can change their tastes over time.”

Personally, I have used this technique with our family and sweet potatoes. Our children are now young adults; however, when they were young, I prepared sweet potatoes in a few different ways. It was just until they reached their teen years did they know that my husband didn’t like sweet potatoes. Two liked them, so I served them again!

Here is a great recipe from the guide. It uses spinach which can be fresh or frozen and it’s great served on slices of cucumbers or summer squash.

Green Surprise Dip

1 cup steamed spinach (thawed frozen will work if you squeeze out the water)

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 cup cooked chickpeas i.e., garbanzo beans (canned, washed and drained also work)

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic (putting through a garlic press helps)

1/2 medium onion chopped

1 Tbsp. lemon juice or to taste

1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Optional pinches of cumin, garlic powder, sugar and/or dark mustard added to taste. Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor, or mash with potato masher. Let dish sit overnight in refrigerator. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

The “Totally Veggies Resource Guide” is available for $10 plus shipping and handling. The guide can be previewed online at

To order, call toll-free 877-345-0691 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. All major credit cards are accepted.

Nutrition Corner Mary R. Ehret Corner Mary R. Ehret

Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford Counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at