Yo Pearls of Wisdom for Trishia

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Dear Trishia,

Thanks for your email asking:

"To encourage preschool (3-5 year old) children to eat more fruits and vegetables, what might be a healthy dip for veggies to counteract some of the bitterness that naturally children avoid?"


To get this answered I checked in with Yo Pearl's newest guest blogger and our very own Resident Nutrition Expert, Dr. Melissa Wdowik,  Director of the Kendall Anderson Nutrition Center, Colorado State University.

Happy Cooking!
Yo Pearl the Science Girl


We all know vegetables are good for us, but there is no denying that some are just bitter!  To make matters worse, almost 1/3 of children are super tasters, meaning they really are more sensitive to the off taste.  The bitterness usually means the vegetable is high in antioxidants and other great nutrients, so it is worth the effort to figure out how to get your kids to eat them.  And parents, don't forget to model good behavior by eating your vegetables, too.


One tip for vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower is to cook them slightly; this reduces their sharpness but just watch out, because overcooking them will make them even more bitter.  Allow them to retain a crunch, and serve warm or chilled with a dip. Try these easy suggestions for all your preschooler's vegetables!


  • Soy sauce
  • Olive oil mixed with lemon, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Peanut butter mixed with a little milk to make it thinner
  • Plain Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon from a seasoning packet of ranch mix.



 1. Happy Hummus
Blend in food processor:
1 15-ounce can of chick peas (also called garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon salt 


2. Homemade Ranch Dip
½ cup nonfat yogurt
½ cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped parsley (1 tablespoon dried)
1/4 cup chopped chives (1 tablespoon dried)
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients well.


3. Cucumber Yogurt Dip
1 cup plain or Greek yogurt
½ cup cream cheese
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon lemon zest or juice
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped dill ( teaspoon dried)
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients well.



4. Avocado Dip
2 ripe avocadoes, peeled and mashed
3 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup onion, finely diced
1 small tomato, finely diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well.



5. Bean Dip
1 15-ounce can of beans, pureed (black, kidney, pinto, or even white beans work well)
2 tablespoons lowfat sour cream
1 tablespoon ranch seasoning mix or Mexican food spices such as cumin and chili

Mix all ingredients well.



6. Black Bean Salsa Recipe
1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained
1 15-ounce can of petite diced tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
Chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients well.


7. Celery Dip
1 8-ounce container of light cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons light sour cream or nonfat yogurt
20 green olives with pimentos, chopped

Mash well with fork.


8. Savory Ricotta Dip
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped parsley (1 tablespoon dried)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (or lemon juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well.


9. Sweet Ricotta Dip
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup vanilla yogurt

Mix all ingredients well.




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