Simple Ways to Sneak Veggies in Kids Meals

We have all been through it right? We are preparing the next meal and thinking how am I going to get this kid to eat their vegetables!? We have 5 kids that all range in age and with all the kids there have been phases and stages of their lives where they didn’t want to try a new vegetable or push away ones they loved at some point! Then we have the ultimate picky eater that wants nothing to do with anything that resembles anything outside of pasta or nuggets! What’s a mom to do right? Well it’s time to get creative! We will be discussing some simple tips and recipes to incorporate or sneak in those veggies!
Let’s start by saying continuing to introduce vegetables to kids is very important. You want kids to understand that veggies will help them be healthy and strong and are essential to their diet! Sometimes being creative and making fun shapes out of cucumbers or peppers, cutting them into straws and putting in a ranch cup or a funny dish will get them to dig in! But we don’t always have the time to be this fancy and it may not work, so let’s get to sneaking some in! So if all fails, continue to introduce and encourage and try these tips to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need.

1. Smoothies

Kids love smoothies, they love drinking them, sharing them, making them! So let the kids in on the fun of making their smoothie and adding some celery, spinach or green that they won’t taste once blended in with their fruits. Or for the extra picky child, sneak that vegetable in, once purées they will have no idea a veggie was included! Use lots of bright fruit like berries to keep the colors bright to hide the greens. You can also come up with clever names like the Frogger smoothie or Big Dino to get them to drink the green smoothies! Kids love that!!

One of my kids favorite smoothies is what we call the Princess smoothie after Princess Anna of Frozen since it’s purple!
Ingredients:

  • One date
  • frozen blueberries
  • banana (frozen or regular)
  • almond milk
  • spinach
  • Sometimes I add frozen peas
  • a quarter cup of instant oats
  • cinnamon

It tastes and looks amazing! The kids love it and often ask for seconds!

2. Sauces

Sauces are a great way to to sneak in those vegetables! My kids love spaghetti or any pasta for that matter and the sauce is a perfect place to get those veggies in. Chopping and mincing the vegetables and coking them down into the sauce will make them almost unrecognizable. I even purée them sometimes. They also love Mac and cheese – you can purée carrots or cauliflower into the cheese sauce and they will gobble it up! Let’s look at a simple sauce recipe.

Simple veggie sauce recipe that we love:

Chop up your favorite veggies, we use celery, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini… you can also shred in food processor. Cook the veggies down for 10-20 mins and then add to your favorite sauce. You can also purée veggies after for a smoother consistency and add to jar sauce or your homemade recipe.

You can do the same with cauliflower, carrots, zucchini for Mac and cheese or a casserole dish.

3. Make a soup
Kids love soups and that’s a great place to add veggies! Just like above, you can cook down vegetables and add to a tomato soup for that yummy grilled cheese and soup combo! Or a hearty chicken noodle soup with minced veggies. Also, if your kids enjoy Chili – add to the pot!! Yum!!

4. Bake in muffins, pancakes, waffles

There are so many great recipes online for baked goods with vegetable substitutes! In my experience it’s always great to get the kids involved in the baking to get them to see that veggies can be yummy! But for that picky eater, add the veggies in without them noticing and they will be non the wiser!!

Here’s a recipe for a simple Sweet potato Pancake with 3 ingredients!
– 1 cooked sweet potato – 2 large eggs – 1/8 kosher salt and a pinch of cinnamon…Puree ingredients in blender or food processor and cook on medium hot skillet about 3 mins! Done! Kids love them especially with a bit of syrup and banana slices.

5. Changing to something familiar

Kids love the their food items that they are used to, so making a vegetable similar to a favorite food may get them to try it and find out they love it! A great example is spaghetti squash looks like pasta or have them make their own veggies noodles! Also there are tons of recipes for tots with cauliflower or veggies tots! Fries made of zucchini or sweet potatoes are always a hit in our house!! And of course we can’t forget… Pizza!!! Pizza is favorite, substitute the crust for a cauliflower crust and add a few minced veggie toppings in the sauce. Better yet, get the kids involved in putting on the toppings and they will love the end results!!

We hope this article was helpful in giving you some fun and simple ways to keep your family healthy! Simple techniques are what all moms need to save their sanity while trying to get our kids veggies in! I have to say, over the years our kids have grown to love all types of vegetables! As they got older, I’d tell them what veggies were in their dish and then they were less hesitant to try it without it having to sneak them in! Happy cooking!!

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