kid-friendly dinners with fall vegetables
Kids, Nutrition, Tips / How-Tos, Toddlers

The Best Fall Vegetables (and How to Make Them Kid-Friendly)

At Nurture Life, we’re all about sharing nutritious, well-balanced and creative meals with our kids. And there’s no better way to nurture a healthy appreciation for different flavors and textures than to teach your kids to eat seasonally!

Check out eight of our favorite fall vegetables below, along with wholesome recipes and easy ideas for serving in-season veggies that your kids will actually like.

meals for kids

1. Pumpkin

Everyone’s quintessential fall ingredient, pumpkin is packed with vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. The beta carotene in pumpkin turns into vitamin A to help keep your kid’s vision and immune system sharp.

Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Recipe

Pumpkin spice lattes aren’t the only way to enjoy a sweet serving of pumpkin! This pumpkin freezer fudge uses canned pumpkin, raw almond butter and medjool dates to serve up those perfect hints of autumn spice without added sugar.

2. Winter Squash 

“Winter” might be in their name, but winter squash—including acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash—are typically ready for harvest as early as September and October. Squash’s naturally sweet taste and vision-boosting vitamin A (among other essential nutrients!) make this fall veggie a win-win for parents and kids alike.

Kid-Friendly Winter Squash Recipe

To incorporate some winter squash into kid-friendly dinners for fall, try this roasted butternut squash soup. This recipe keeps things simple with just a handful of ingredients: butternut squash, olive oil, vegetable broth and a few spices/aromatics. A quick blend is all it takes to achieve that silky-smooth consistency.

Nurture Life Meal Recommendation

If you want all the butternut without so much meal prep, order Nurture Life’s Beef Butternut Squash Chili! Ready to nourish your kids in 3 minutes or less, this kid-friendly chili is inviting and homey on a crisp autumn night and is very thermos-friendly for a school lunch box.

3. Cabbage

With more than 2 grams of fiber per cup, cabbage helps support healthy digestion for growing kids. Red and purple cabbage also have special flavonoids called anthocyanins, which studies show may reduce cancer risk.

Kid-Friendly Cabbage Recipe

Cabbage’s strong crunch and fairly neutral flavor make it a great food for kids of all ages. We love these parmesan roasted cabbage wedges because instead of hiding the veggie, they make it the star of the show! 

These delicious cabbage wedges are also quick, easy and adaptable to your kids’ taste preferences. Just brush cabbage wedges with oil, salt, spices and Parmesan cheese, and then bake for about 25 minutes.

4. Cauliflower

The vitamins C and B6 of cauliflower are important for tissue development and nerve health. Like cabbage, the versatile texture and neutral flavor make cauliflower a great foundation for any fall dinner.

Kid-Friendly Cauliflower Recipe

Roasted cauliflower is great, but have you tried cauliflower rice? You can purchase pre-riced cauliflower in your grocery store’s frozen aisle, or you can “rice” your own cauliflower by roughly chopping, grating or pulsing it in a food processor. Once the cauliflower is riced, this cauliflower rice stir-fry makes a quick and light version of homemade fried rice. 

Nurture Life Meal Recommendation

mac & cheese with cauliflower

If your picky eater says no to any visible cauliflower on their plate, try serving Nurture Life’s Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower instead. The cauliflower is smoothly pureed into the sauce, hiding it from view while still serving up all its veggie goodness.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, with just a small serving providing more than a day’s worth of Daily Value (DV). Like many of our favorite fall vegetables, they’re also packed with fiber and have a naturally sweet taste that kids adore.

Kid-Friendly Sweet Potato Recipe

For a homemade side dish big enough to share, bake these quick sweet potato latkes. Using sweet potatoes, apples, eggs and Greek yogurt, they pack a helping of protein, fiber and nutrients. Since they’re baked rather than fried, they’re lighter and less greasy but still flavorful. 

Nurture Life Meal Recommendation

southwest sweet potato bowl

Short on time? Then serve up this bright orange veggie in minutes with Nurture Life’s Southwest Sweet Potato Bowl. With roasted sweet potatoes, black beans and rice, and creamy corn polenta, this bowl is a hearty, zesty and full of delightful fall flavors.

6. White Potatoes

White potatoes tend to get a bad rap, but they can actually be a very healthy food for kids! They have antioxidant vitamin C and energy-boosting potassium, and their light flavor pairs well with any of your kid’s favorite sauces, seasonings or condiments.

Kid-Friendly Potato Recipe

Forget the deep-fried French fries and serve these crispy baked curly fries instead! This recipe calls for nothing more than potatoes, olive oil, salt and herbs. Just oven bake until perfectly crispy and golden brown.

Although a spiralizer makes those curlicues that kids love, you can also use this recipe with regular thin-sliced potatoes. To make the meal even more fun, get your picky eater involved by having them sprinkle their own herbs on top.

Nurture Life Meal Recommendation

Nothing says fall like chicken and dumplings! Nurture Life’s Chicken and Potato Dumplings are hearty and homey with a garlic cream sauce that’s smooth but light. Along with the potatoes, it also has cauliflower smoothly blended in the sauce—giving your little ones twice the fall vegetables!

7. Broccoli 

Did you know that just one cup of broccoli provides an entire day’s worth of vitamins C and K? Picky eater or not, this little veggie tree is a great food for kids of all ages. 

Kid-Friendly Broccoli Recipe

Your little ones don’t have to fear broccoli any more! Change your picky eater’s mind by mixing blanched broccoli into your kid’s favorite pasta, soup or stew. 

For example, this stovetop broccoli mac and cheese is a great way to mix broccoli into something your kids already love. Using frozen veggies for a one-pot dinner that’s ready in just 20 minutes, it pairs broccoli with that classic mac-and-cheese flavor.

Nurture Life Meal Recommendation

chicken meatballs kids meals

You can also dish out the broccoli by serving Nurture Life’s Chicken Meatballs with Pasta & Veggies! Add cute character food picks or other picky eater tools to up the fun.

8. Kale

One of our top superfoods for kids, kale is packed with vitamins A, K and C. One cup of raw kale also has nearly 3 grams of protein, making it an ideal source of plant-based protein.

Kid-Friendly Kale Recipe

Of all the fall vegetables on this list, kale is the most bitter—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be kid-friendly, too. Kale chips are the perfect way to crisp up the kale and mask its slight bitterness with any of the spices and seasonings your kids like most. It takes just 15 minutes for homemade chips, fresh and hot from the oven!

Whether your kid prefers crispy chips or smooth cauliflower, fall veggies can be kid-friendly! All it takes is a little creativity and in-season grocery shopping. If you’re short on time, browse Nurture Life’s menu for babies, toddlers and kids to serve up all those classic fall flavors in 3 minutes or less. If you have any questions about our menu, please reach out to support@nurturelife.com.

meals for kids

Lara Field at Nurture Life

Lara Field

Lara has been working with Nurture Life since its inception, collaborating with the culinary team on the creation of all menus and recipes to ensure they are nutritionally appropriate and correctly proportioned for every age and stage of a child’s development and providing pediatric nutrition expertise to Nurture Life customers. Lara is the owner/founder of FEED—Forming Early Eating Decisions, a nutrition consulting practice specializing in pediatric nutrition and digestive diseases. Lara has over a decade of experience in clinical practice at two of the top ranked pediatric hospitals in the country, Lurie Children’s Hospital and University of Chicago Medical Center. Lara received her B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and M.S. and dietetic internship from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Lara truly enjoys the process of eating (and feeding!), from procuring the ingredients at various grocery stores and farmers markets, to organizing her pantry/refrigerator at home to make it easy to select healthy options, to preparing balanced meals with her children. Whether it be a decadent treat to a hearty, home-cooked meal, there is no greater satisfaction for Lara than enjoying food with her family.