Vegetable help? Sensory issues, I'm at a loss...

Cluelessmama1979 Posts: 129 Member
edited May 6 in Recipes
I need help figuring out what I can make.

Before we begin: I have been getting a small amount of produce in each day, and my daughter gets a good 5 full servings of fruits/veg, but it's all the same and we both want to branch out.


Feeding: me (42f), daughter (13f)

Issues, daughter: sensory issues due to autism: "slimy" textures and "tart" flavors. She tries, but physically cannot handle things like cooked mushrooms or eggplant (texture) or olives (flavor). Asparagus is "too shaky" (I don't know what that means).

Issues, me: past trauma, lack of experience, sensory issues...

As far as fresh fruit/veg goes, I had only eaten iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, corn, apples, watermelon and oranges before adulthood. Canned veggies I had peaches, pears, peas and cut green beans. (All of the above except corn was solely from school lunches). Never had fresh or frozen cooked vegetables as a child.

Food was often used as a punishment in my house as a kid so I struggle with anything that isn't familiar.

After leaving home I *did* get used to a few things that contain vegetables like salsa or pasta sauce.

After I had daughter, I did try to learn to eat some veg, and to give her as much variety as I can...

She can eat anything so far except what's listed under daughter issues above. But...

Like I tried making fresh/frozen green beans, peas, pears, peaches... things that I've had canned and well ... if they're cooked right, they taste *wrong*. Fruits and veg are mushy... this stuff is *crisp*. I can't eat it because I get sick thinking about it... like... I can't stop thinking it tases wrong cause it's rotten or something.

Some stuff I tried that I never had before, I have learned to tolerate in small quantities. Like ... I can eat raw or cooked broccoli or spinach sometimes... raw in salads or with a dip or something, and steamed with too much butter/salt ... but only like 1/4 - 1/2 cup at a time.

I can eat raw cucumbers now, bananas, and I can tolerate celery if it's slathered in something creamy. Daughter has tried strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, which are all too tart for her to eat alone, but she can eat them in other things. I can choke them down... they're just... weird, and I don't enjoy them.

I cannot tolerate cauliflower or cabbage at all. I get physically ill trying to.

I'm trying to find and learn to eat more things but produce has gotten insanely expensive and I can't keep buying stuff we won't be able to eat.

I guess I'm hoping there's some sort of pattern here that I'm missing and veggie lovers will know some things we can probably eat?

I am at a total loss, and open to any suggestions.



  • avatiach
    avatiach Posts: 212 Member
    edited May 6
    Well, first of all, I think it's ok to stick with a few vegetables that you like or can tolerate, and maybe experiment with different ways to prepare them. There's nothing wrong with sticking with apples and broccoli.

    My favorite way to cook vegetables is to roast them in the oven with a little bit of oil (I use olive) and salt and pepper. This really sweetens them up. Vegetables I like to eat this way include carrots, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, onions...but I would be willing to try almost anything that way, it makes them sweeter and dryer. Dried kale makes a nice satisfying "chip."

    The second thing I heard from a child development expert is that when you introduce new foods, sometimes it takes 20 times to start to like them. For myself, I like most vegetables but two things I have not really liked are peppers and olives. I have kept trying them, and now I am happy to eat peppers in certain preparations (roasted!) and I like some but not all types of olives. So if it's something you say "meh" about (not something you HATED but something you didn't like that much) try some different preparations and keep trying them to see if you get used to them.

    Last, but not least, there's the "sneak the vegetable in" concept--where you (for example) put some spinach in your lentil or chicken soup, etcetera.

    If you have a vegetable you want to try, you could ask for suggestions for ways to prepare it. I'm sure you would get a lot of recipes.
  • DancingMoosie
    DancingMoosie Posts: 8,585 Member
    You.lvcould try juicing or blending/pureeing veggies and then freezing in ice cube trays and adding them to dishes a cube at a time ...
    Frozen vegetables are easier to buy and try a little at a time without them going bad.
  • littlegreenparrot1
    littlegreenparrot1 Posts: 652 Member
    Do you/your daughter make soup? It can be a great way to use up and to try different types of veg. You can blend it so the texture thing isn't there.
    I made fennel soup for the first time this week, kept showing up in the veg box and didn't know what to do with it. Turns out it was delicious.
    If your soup turns out not to be delicious I find if you add enough paprika or curry powder it helps 😆.

    I would start from where you are and work outwards. So, for example - nectarines are similar to peaches. Iceberg lettuce is ok so different types of lettuce? Or leaves- rocket, lambs lettuce etc.
    Watermelon is ok, so different types of melon? Honeydew is the most common one I see.
    Grapes? Oranges? If you get the little easy peel ones they are usually sweeter.
    Butternut squash is lovely roasted, and will also sit happily in the fridge for a few days once cooked. I eat it cold in salads like that or chuck it into wraps.
    A fruit crumble is a good way to try to add some extra fruit in. I sometimes eat it for breakfast with yoghurt.

    Onions chopped small and grated carrot will basically disappear into mince based dishes- chilli, shepherd's pie and the like.

    I do not consider myself to have issues with food- but I will happily eat raspberries/blueberries/cherries/blackberries that have been frozen and thawed out because they go a bit squishy and jammy so their good on porridge or yoghurt. But I do not like strawberries that have been frozen because they go squishy! Don't like raw apple but will often cook them for breakfast/desserts. Would never occur to me to eat raw broccoli.
    Always worth trying things in a few different ways to see what works for you.
  • Cluelessmama1979
    Cluelessmama1979 Posts: 129 Member
    @avatiach @DancingMoosie @Cheesy567 @littlegreenparrot1

    Thank you so much for all the ideas!!

    Sorry I didn't reply longer/sooner... had a really bad flare and couldn't even text much at all.

    These are all amazing ideas!! Going to try some soups and purees and things. Also saw a few veg mentioned that I haven't tried!!
  • Cheesy567
    Cheesy567 Posts: 1,186 Member
    Some day when you have the energy, you can Google “fruit list” or vegetable list” and get tons of ideas for new things to try, too. Picture lists or printable word lists, pre-made shopping “standards”, etc.
  • ReenieHJ
    ReenieHJ Posts: 9,722 Member
    Smoothies! You can even incorporate spinach and you won't taste it. If the green color of a smoothie bothers you, mask it with blueberries.

    Some veggies, such as pumpkin, squash, and cauliflower can be used in pasta dishes, soups, and casseroles without even tasting the veggies. I remember when my firstborn came around, he wouldn't touch veggies so didn't touch anything he knew had veggies in it. I made a sweet potato pie that tasted more like dessert it was so good. I also made chocolate milkshakes with spinach in them. Until he saw how I made them. :) I'd much rather eat junk food any day instead of veggies but if I want to stay where I am instead of go back to where I was, I'll eat fresh veggies with hummus or a diet dressing such as Ranch or Raspberry Vinaigrette. There are also lots of quick bread recipes using squash, pumpkin, zucchini and maybe you could modify them to be less calories, such as using a sugar substitute.
  • allaboutthecake
    allaboutthecake Posts: 1,521 Member
    I think my kids ate green beans or corn for full straight several years while they were little. I used to put "anything green, blended" in spaghetti sauce. Blended whatever I had with a little Bullit Blender. Kids didn't see it, haha. For raw veggies, always had a "dip" ready for them. Like whatever "white" dip they wanted. Alas, I couldn't stand asparagus, okra, or avocado. So kids didn't get any till they were adults. they love that stuff (well, not the okra). So just try it sometimes. Asparagus is limp, and yes, shaky. So that is texture. You've have to just barely sautee in a pan to keep its shape. but ya know if ya don't like it, don't eat it lol. I wondered if your kid likes helping cook? Have them help cook. perhaps they would like to eat it, then. Have their own special apron, their own pans to use. A step stool so they are higher than the stove. its worth trying.
  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,130 Member
    You've gotten a lot of really good advice already, but I'll also say this: if, to you, canned fruits and veggies taste "right" and their fresh or frozen counterparts taste "wrong," that is 100% okay. This is primal stuff, and if your Platonic ideal concept of "green beans" involves a can with a big green man on it, that is okay. It is not a crime to eat canned produce.
  • Ronnvee
    Ronnvee Posts: 18 Member
    Sometimes it is just working out which way a vegetable tastes best. Canned asparagus tastes completely different to fresh and fresh is different if it is boiled in water, sauteed in oil/water, or roasted, Raw asparagus tastes like peas. I chop it finely and add it to a green salad.
    Maybe when you next try a new vegetable, try it raw and roasted as well as steamed/boiled to see the difference in taste.
  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 7,716 Member
    Usually fresh fruit and veggies can be expensive. A good alternative is frozen because they're "closer" to fresh and the price is better. You don't say where you live, but always try to buy fresh in season. It tastes better and is less pricey. The way you cook things makes a huge difference. I second the thought that you can keep eating the same fruits and veggies, if you don't like the taste or texture of others. Branch out once a week? Try something new, but just buy a small amount to try. I, also, blend vegetables fine and freeze in ice cube trays to add to sauces and soups.

    Don't give up. It sounds like you're doing just fine.

    The ideas you've gotten above are great.
  • ToffeeApple71
    ToffeeApple71 Posts: 101 Member
    What about sauces/dips etc made with veges? I make a dressing from blended roasted capsicums, olive oil and garlic. Hummus is a good base that you can add things to (carrot hummus, beetroot hummus etc).
  • naturallykat
    naturallykat Posts: 115 Member
    I'm another who thinks that what you already eat sounds fine for you, and if canned is the way you like it then keep calm and carry on :smile:

    I definitely also agree with trying soups and roasted veg - long and slow roasting, so that they are soft inside and they caramelise for sweetness... *drools*. Veg that are naturally on the sweeter side like carrots, beetroot, sweet potato, red bell peppers and squashes roast well. Slow roasted carrots with a little honey drizzled over 15 minutes before taking them out are divine, and if you prefer your veg with salt, butter and/or sweetened when honey, then as long as you have no health issues that mean those things are a no go, then so what? You do what makes them enjoyable or at least least objectionable to you!

    You might just also enjoy properly caramelised onions, too, done the French way - sliced and slowly cooked on the hob with a little butter and oil, until they are brown and soft and translucent, for at least 30 minutes to an hour. If you like them, it is a mere one step further to add a good beef stock and seasoning to make it soup - blending is optional, depending on preference.
  • naturallykat
    naturallykat Posts: 115 Member
    edited July 4
    Oh, and cooked fruit - have you ever made apple crumble? That would give you the soft fruit texture, and a crumble topping is very easy (and delicious!). Add sugar so it's sweet enough and not tart for your daughter. If you like it, blackberry and apple works well together, you might prefer blackberries if they are cooked?

    Lots of fruit works well when stewed with sugar to taste. You might find you enjoy stewed berries that way. If either of you find the pips and skins objectionable, then strain it through a sieve. Stewed fruit works well in crumbles but also on porridge, or with yoghurt and granola, or on pancakes with ice cream!

    You mention "properly cooked" veg is crisp, and recipes for cooked fruit might also try to keep them to have some bite to it, but honestly, if steaming or boiling your veg into a softer or even mushy texture is preferable for you, then don't be put off by it not being "properly done," just do what makes it work for you! Yes some nutrition is lost in over-cooking veg but not all of it by any stretch of the imagination. I for one certainly like my stewed fruit to be properly mushy!
  • docconnie
    docconnie Posts: 4 Member
    I add diced butternut squash to Mac and cheese. I dice a fresh squash or buy frozen already diced. I roast at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet after drizzle of olive oil until tender. I add it to my favorite stovetop Mac and cheese recipe. You can also mash or puree if you don't like the consistency. Chunks of squash are sweet.
  • mortgagegirl1
    mortgagegirl1 Posts: 9 Member
    I like a smoothie for breakfast. I use a protein powder and use frozen fruit instead of icecubes as it makes it more like a mildshake rather than icy milk if that makes sense. I sometimes put fresh spinach in the blender. spinach is fairly sweet and doesn't alter the taste.

    I use a bag of frozen vegetables and a box of chicken soup broth with left over chicken from dinner to make soup. the veggies are on the crisper side in the soup. If you don't like the textures, you could blend into a thicker soup with no chunks.
  • skj17
    skj17 Posts: 103 Member
    Hi, Kudos for making so much of an effort to recover from your own background with food and doing your best with your daughter.

    From what you said, here’s a few things I would suggest.

    Ideas for your daughter:

    Potatoes are actually very good, full of vitamins and maybe kind of overlooked as a healthy veggie. There are many kinds and ways to cook them too. Sweet potato is amazing. Have you made it mashed? It is like a dessert, to me. There is also butternut squash, which is similar but not quite as sweet.

    If your daughter doesn’t like flavours on the “tart” side, I’d go with those and also would suggest carrots. Steamed or broiled carrots with a bit of butter (or oil) are delicious. I top them with a tiny bit of brown sugar or maple syrup sometimes.

    Fresh peas are also mild and on the more creamy sweet side and not at all tart.

    Bell peppers are also very good, but their texture might be an issue for your daughter when cooked (unless they are totally puréed) as they do get kind of “stringy”. They are awesome and juicy crunchy just raw though and it’s my favourite way to have them with some dip.

    As for yourself: I’m sorry you had such a negative experience with food growing up. It’s definitely a challenge to get past. How about starting with making fun dips to try? You mention salsa and sauces, so you like tomatoes with some onion. How about making bruschetta? I’m all about making eating as pleasurable and stress free as possible and going from there.

    If you like iceberg lettuce, I would suggest a classic Cobb Salad or Wedge Salad (so good!) The great part about salads is you can put in what you like and omit what you don’t like or switch it up. You can put in another cheese if you don’t like blue cheese.