Brussels Sprouts on a stick your kids will love!
Updated: May 19
Will putting veggies on a stick make my kids eat them?
I’ve always had this theory that any food you put on a stick, whether toothpick, kebab, or skewer, makes it so much more appealing to children. I’ve tried it with fruit kebabs, watermelon on a stick, chicken skewers, and even cheese, and they’re always a big hit! But what about vegetables, would it cause the same reaction? We're about to find out... There is just something about putting food on a skewer- I guess that’s why cheese fondue became very popular and still is. Food becomes interactive, didactic, and fun. You almost feel like you're playing with food, something we have long been told not to do. So, I get it!
Using this technique to help introduce veggies or fruits can be a game-changer if you have a #pickyeater or what I call "selective eater" at home. Picky eating usually beings in the toddler years, and there is a reason why. Developmentally, kids ages 1-2 years are thriving for independence-They want to feel like they are in control. So, giving them the power to hold on to their own food in a stick cater to such needs.
Why this works:
So, I decided to test this theory once again, and I used Brussel sprouts on a skewer to see if it had the same reaction as it did with chicken, shrimp, and fruit kebab. Spoiler alert, it was a hit! #kidapproved There are various reasons why I like this recipe. First, it involves a technique I call "bridge food." This technique is simply using familiar foods to "bridge" unfamiliar ones. In other words, you give a new food with something they already like. In this case, the secret ingredient is bacon. Second, it all about the magic of the skewer/kebab. Having food on a stick which makes it fun and also gives them a sense of independence. Lastly, the Brussel sprouts are crunchy (which kids tend to like), and it combines sweet and salty flavors, works well.
Now for the recipe. Here is how I made these crunchy, bacon brussels sprouts.
You can use any Brussel sprouts from the supermarket. I used this microwavable bag of brussels sprouts I bought at ALDI, but you can buy the fresh ones as well (depending on the season) Just make sure you wash them before cooking.
So what else do we need? Besides our highlight ingredients: brussels sprouts and bacon, we only need olive oil, salt, balsamic glaze, and maybe half a dozen of bamboo sticks. I used short ones and larger ones to add some variety. You can cook these Brussel sprouts on the grill or the oven. I used the oven and cooked them at 345-400 degrees for about 15-20min. This leaves them nice and crunchy. If you are using the grill, I recommend you soak your bamboo sticks in water while you are washing and cutting the brussels sprouts, to avoid burning the bamboo sticks on fire when cooking.
When building the skewers, I like to leave some space a the bottom to make it easier for kids to hold them like a lollypop. The assembly can be a great way to have your kids help in the kitchen. Just be careful with the pointy tips!!
Once you have assembled them and cooked them, the last step will be to drizzle balsamic glaze, which will give it a sweet and tangy taste. This truly highlights the dish.
I can tell you, this is not only a fun way to make dinner, but it's also a great way to try something different that you and your kids can enjoy, and hey, why not? Maybe start liking veggies after all.
Here is what your kids can do in the kitchen:
Wash the Brussel sprouts
Drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle with salt
Assemble the Brussels sprouts and bacon
And remember: have fun, keep it positive and if they don't like it, just keep offering!
Let me know in the comments how it goes! I love to read your answers!
Brussels Sprouts on a Stick
Really easy to make. With this recipe, you will find an easy way to make your kids try new veggies.
Yields: 4 servings
Prep. Time: 45 min
1 bag Brussel sprouts cut in half
7-10 slice of bacon cut in half
1. Pre-heat the oven at 375°
2. Wash and dry Brussel spouts. If you are grilling them, soak your wooden skewers in water for a few minutes while washing.
3. Trimming and peel away the outer leaves of each Brussels sprout and cut them in half.
4. Place the sprouts in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
5. Cut the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.
6. Assemble the Brussels sprouts alternating one bacon and one-half of brussel sprout halves. Add about four to six halves of Brussel halves per skewer. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and place the skewers halved-side up.
7. Bake the skewers for about 20-30 minutes until they are cooked and crispy. Make sure to flip the skewers halfway. You can also increase the temperature to 400 after 10-15 minutes of cooking to provide a crunchier sprout (but make sure you don't burn them). Keep a close eye.
8. Drizzle the skewers with balsamic glaze for a sweet touch. ENJOY!
by Marina Chaparro, RDN