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Kids Hate Vegetables

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"I hate vegetables!"
Caillou, Caillou
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In fiction, children tend to have a disgust for vegetables and dread the moment they're served for dinner or lunch. It could be that they're Picky Eaters, or their taste buds just are more sensitive to bitter tastes, which are found in many vegetables. Whatever the cause, they will devise a mischievous plot behind their parents' back to get rid of them, which usually never ends well. This can often be used as an exploitative device for parents or babysitters to torture disobedient kids, though in most cases they just want to ensure a healthy diet in children to assist in their growth. Oftentimes, the kids will resort to hiding the vegetables, feeding them to a pet, putting them on a sibling's plate, or using a junk food condiment to diminish the squeamish flavor.

Overlaps with Does Not Like Spam and Picky Eater. Subtrope of Stock "Yuck!". May involve Greens Precede Sweets if dessert is used as a bribe. Also possibly related to If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You and Disgusting Vegetarian Food.

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This can very much be Truth in Television, as anyone who remembers their childhood can attest to.


Examples:

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     Advertising 
  • A television commercial in the United States for Ore-Ida Frozen Crinkle Fries presents a father using the product as "payment" to encourage his daughter to eat her green vegetables in exchange for several cooked fries. When it works successfully, the entire family looks pleased and relieved.
  • A televised commercial for Sara Lee baked goods has two brothers at the dinner table. One boy finishes his vegetables, and is rewarded with a serving of Sara Lee pound cake. The second boy sees this, and begins trying to ingest a head of broccoli. It's a slow process, as if the thing is made of nitro.

     Anime & Manga 

     Art 
  • An art installation by Norm Magnusson near the convention center in Boston - a faux historical sign - is intended to humorously subvert this trope: "On this site stood Scottie Webb, age 7, who refused to eat his herbicide-resistant, pesticide-producing, genetically engineered vegetables."
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     Asian Animation 

     Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin, a Picky Eater in general, hates vegetables and vegetarian meals, claiming to be a a dessertarian. To be fair, most of his mom's cooking appears to be lumpy green sludge — but that might just be Calvin's overactive imagination. He also provides the page image for Does Not Like Spam, complaining about having to eat a "slimy asparagus".
  • The titular character of Dennis the Menace (US) is a five-year-old boy who hates carrots. In a few strips , he'd try unsuccessfully to get rid of them.
  • For Better or for Worse: April has a serving of peas on her plate, and her mother insists that she eat them. After much protest and negotiating, April appears to get the peas off her plate. It's not until Ellie clears away the dinner dishes that she discovers April had hidden her peas under the plate's rim.

     Fan Works 
  • Fate Unown: In a flashback, Spencer asks Delia for advice on how to get his daughter Molly to eat vegetables. Delia's son Ash has never had an issue eating, but Delia does know of a few tricks involving mixing foods together.

     Films - Animated 
  • Inside Out: Riley hates broccoli, as established in the scene that introduces Disgust, who thinks she's saving Riley from being poisoned by them. Later, a trip to a pizzeria is ruined when the pizza has broccoli as a topping.
    Anger: Congratulations, San Francisco! YOU'VE RUINED PIZZA! First the Hawaiians, and now you!

     Films - Live Action 
  • Daddy Day Care: Charlie Hinton comes up with a vegetable-flavoured cereal called Veggie O's. During focus group testing, it's apparent that the kids do NOT like it, causing the company's entire health division (which Charlie is a part of) to be shut down.
  • The Hobbit: Played for Laughs: the dwarves aren't exactly thrilled to eat Elvish vegetables and seem downright confused by the lack of meat. Ori openly states that he doesn't like green food.

     Literature 
  • American Girls Collection: In the book ''Meet Molly", Molly McIntire is disgusted by the sight of the orange colored blob of mashed turnips that the family's housekeeper Mrs. Gilford had made for dinner and refuses to eat it. Mrs. Gilford tries to shame Molly for being wasteful and unpatriotic, as this is taking place during World War II and the turnips came from their very own "victory garden".
  • Making Money: The Discworld novel inverts the stereotype. Protagonist Moist von Lipwig recalls how, as a boy, he used to hide his meat under the vegetables rather than eat the former. Justified, as Moist's grandfather ran a dog kennel and, apparently, had saved all the tastier bits of pigs or chickens for his dogs.
  • A Bad Case of Stripes: The main reason for Camilla's self-consciousness is that all of her friends hate lima beans and she doesn't want them to find out that she actually enjoys them.
  • Franny K. Stein: In The Fran That Time Forgot, it is mentioned that Franny invented broccoli that eats itself so that no kids ever have to eat it.
  • In the children's picture book How Martha Saved Her Parents From Green Beans, Martha absolutely hates eating green beans and fights tooth-and-nail to avoid them. But one day a gang of outlaw green beans invades her town and abducts everyone who ever told people to eat green beans, including her parents. Martha soon realizes that if she's going to defeat the green beans and get her parents back, there's only one way to do it...by, you guessed it, eating them.
  • In the second Pippi Longstocking book, Pippi Goes On Board, Pippi, Tommy and Annika "shipwreck" themselves on an island in a lake, and Pippi wonders if they might get caught and eaten by cannibals. Her only apparent concern about this is that the cannibals might serve her with stewed carrots, which she hates.
  • "The Etiology and Treatment of Childhood," a pseudoscientific spoof by Jordan W. Smoller names "legume anorexia" (i.e. the refusal of children to eat their vegetables) as the fifth out of five clinical markers of childhood to be used in a proposed DSM-IV definition. This condition was reportedly measured through a Vegetable Appetite Test devised by a researcher credited as Popeye, T.S.M., who is cited for articles on the subject of spinach.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Good Eats: Alton Brown posits the (woefully ignored) suggestion of, instead of breeding resentment by forcing your child to eat vile-tasting slop, finding a vegetable (or a way of preparing the one you're making) that your child will eat.
  • The title character of Leave It to Beaver hates Brusells sprouts. This became a plot point of an episode in which Beaver was promised to eat his brusell sprouts or he won't be able to see a sports game. He eventually bucks up and eats them when his family goes out for a meal. A later episode had Wally reveal that the Beav once hid his brussel sprouts under a couch cushion.
  • Nova ScienceNOW explored this in one episode. It turns out there's a genetic basis for this: some kids have a stronger expression of a gene for tasting bitter flavors that makes green vegetables unappetizing. It usually inactivates as the child grows older.
  • Shining Time Station: In "Double Trouble", after telling the story of the Thomas & Friends episode, "The Diseasel" to the children at the station, Mr. Conductor says he wishes he had a twin of his own so he could eat his peas for him, since he doesn't like peas. He then asks the children if they like peas, and Dan says, "Peas? Yuck!"

     Music 
  • The Preschool Popstars song "Wait Until I Cook It" features a little girl of preschool age saying that she's so hungry that she'd "even" eat vegetables, implying that she usually wouldn't.

     Video Games 
  • Rune Factory Frontier: When you ship fruits Rosetta likes she'll applaud you when she comes to pick them up, but if it's Danny's turn to collect shipments and you've got just about any vegetable in your bin he'll whine, expressing a desire to not even touch them.
  • Po Po Lo Crois: Gami Gami Devil kidnaps Jilva and tries to make her eat vegetables that she doesn't like because they're healthy. And these vegetables are Green Peppers and Carrots.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Downplayed compared to Felix, but Lysithea complains about eating vegetables and wishes she could eat nothing but sweets. Much to her horror, the much pickier Felix doesn't like sweets at all, but also and dislikes three out of the four vegetable-based dishes (with the fourth having a heavy cheese and fish component). It seems meat is the only food he actually likes.
  • In Fable II, an overhear-able conversation between a man and his son:
    Son: "Is that a vegetable!? Gross!"
    Dad: "I washed them. Honest."

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • In the Family Guy episode "I Never Met the Dead Man", Stewie spends the entire B-plot attempting to destroy his plate of broccoli Lois made him eat for dinner. He ends up trying to feed them to Brian, but Brian just dumps them back onto Stewie's plate.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: In "Pooh Oughta Be In Pictures", Christopher Robin has a melodramatic reaction to his mother asking him to eat his carrots. This inspires Tigger to make a giant carrot costume for the monster movie the toys were planning to make.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: In "Beat Your Greens", the Girls refuse to eat their vegetables, until Townsville is attacked by aliens that resemble them. They and the other kids eventually discover that the only way to defat them is to eat them, and after that they love vegetables.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Broccoli is hated by all of the kids (and the adults, but unlike the kids, they can handle broccoli if they have to eat some).
    • The episode " Operation IT" even has Numbuh 362 becoming comatose after eating broccoli.
    • Father gets made the leader of the Global KND in one episode, but in order to get in the KND's good graces, he enacts a plan to rid the world of broccoli once and for all, something all of the KND are overwhelmingly in favor of. Unfortunately, to everyone's horror, the only way to get rid of broccoli is to eat it.
    • In a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot episode, Numbuh Four accidentally eats a brussel sprout. The KND enact an entire ploy to get into Numbuh Four's body to destroy the brussel sprout before it begins to make him enjoy cleaning his room, among other things. Later on, he accidentally starts it all over with some liver.
  • Manchild example in Dan Vs.. The title character despises vegetables, and there is even an episode dedicated to him effacing vegetables off the face of the Earth after his favorite burger joint supplants burgers and fries for vegetables.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In the episode "Hunger Strikes", Dexter is shown to can't stand eating broccoli, which his family demands that he eats or else he can't have dessert afterwards. In order to avoid future denial of desserts, Dexter invents a machine that will genetically alter his taste buds that will make eating vegetables more palatable. Only problem is that this machine not only makes veggies suddenly delicious, he also happens to turn into a Incredible Hulk like monster that destroys everything in his path in search of the vegetables he craves.
  • Arthur: In "D.W. the Picky Eater", among the many other foods that D.W. refuses to eat, spinach is what really sets her off. She gets over this once she has a pie with spinach in it.
    D.W.: This...this is spinach.
    Waiter: ...Is something the matter?
    D.W.: This is spinach. And I! HATE! SPINACH! (slams her fists on the table until her bowl flies up and on the waiter's head)
  • The Simpsons: In the Treehouse of Horror XX segment, "Don't Have A Cow, Mankind", Bart is shown starving despite there being a bowl of fresh fruits and carrots beside him (which he refuses to eat).
    Bart: There's gotta be something yummy out there.
  • In the PAW Patrol episode "Pups Save a Toof", Ryder says that he fears Brussels sprouts. He then proceeds to eat one so that he can teach Alex about facing your fears. Unfortunately, Alex isn't convinced.
  • Rugrats: In the episode "Pickles vs. Pickles", after Drew and Charlotte send Angelica to her room without dessert for refusing to eat her broccoli, Angelica sues them. The surrounding media circus warps things and blows them out of proportion and the judge is taken in by Angelica's cuteness and sides with her. Drew goes crazy and is dragged off to prison screaming "I'm a good father!". Of course, it was All Just a Dream, but the episode ends with Angelica being apologized to and it is implied that Drew has a very weak will which Angelica can manipulate this way for every vegetable.
  • Muppet Babies (1984):
    • Lampshaded and averted in one episode. Gonzo threatens Kermit that he'll make Kermit eat all of his green vegetables. Kermit just points out that he likes green vegetables because they put color in his cheeks.
    • Additionally, a sketch about Florence Nightingale included a part where she advises all the troops be put on a vegetable diet, during which she takes away the burger Froggo was about to eat. His response to what she gave him in its place:
      Froggo: A turnip?!? Yeeugh!! Now I'm really sick!
  • Peppa Pig: Played with the episode "Lunch" in which the title character and her family visit her grandparents' house for Exactly What It Says on the Tin where George refuses to eat some vegetables (as seen in the page image). So Grandpa Pig then rearranges the vegetables to look like a dinosaur, and because of that George eats them and loves it.
  • In the Hello Kitty series Growing Up with Hello Kitty, the episode "Eating Our Vegetables" reveals that the twins hate tomatoes and bell peppers, their classmates all hate various vegetables, and none of them like bell peppers. However, the twins' mother always looks sad whenever they don't eat their vegetables, so they decide to force them down anyway.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In the short "Real Kids Don't Eat Broccoli", the titular mistake is all that Buster Bunny needs to see to know that he's dealing with robot replicas of the rest of the cast planning to Take Over the World.
    • In "The Return to the Acme Acres Zone", the androids posing as kids are found out by a Stock "Yuck!". The evil droids like broccoli, something real kids don't eat.
  • Ninjago: In "Rise of the Snakes," Bratty Half-Pint Lloyd Garmadon appears in Jamanakai Village and demands all the candy in town, but the villagers boo at him and throw fruits and vegetables, to which Lloyd exclaims that he hates vegetables.
  • My Big, Big Friend: In "Hippo-licious", Matt is none too pleased when his family has spinach for dinner. Later, he and Bongo are trapped in a forest of spinach, forcing them both to eat their way through. To Matt's surprise, it's not as bad as he'd thought it would be.
  • In The Casagrandes episode "Chancla Force", eight-year-old Carl hates asparagus, and tries to make it bearable by having his pet bird Sergio dump chocolate sauce and sprinkles on it.
  • Caillou: In "Caillou Hates Vegetables", a younger Caillou is less than enthused when he's given broccoli and carrots for dinner and would rather have cookies. Later, his grandmother has made peas and carrots (much to Caillou's chagrin), but his grandfather convinces him to eat them by telling him to pretend to be a bear eating berries.
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