Lips sealed, arms crossed, “I don’t like this.” Meanwhile, he’s never even tried it before. Sound familiar? Thankfully Liam likes to eat fruit and carrots, but other veggies – he likes to eat them once in a blue moon, maybe less. So, being that I want him to get the nutrients from vegetables like broccoli and spinach, I have to think of clever ways to get him to eat them. I thought I’d share the ones I’ve found that work!
1. Green eggs (minus the ham)! We read Dr Seuss’s book and then I made green eggs. Here’s how: I chop the broccoli, spinach, OR zucchini up small, or sometimes I puree them. At times I grate the zucchini instead of chopping it. I then cook the veggies for a minute or two in butter or a healthy oil first and then add the beaten egg. I often also add some grated cheese, as this helps to hide the flavor of the vegetables. When the egg is scrambled, it’s done! If your child simply can’t get past the green, then at least use a yellow squash, as he/she won’t even notice it! I find letting Liam dip his eggs in organic ketchup helps too.
2. Yogurt - what I’m about to tell you to do will probably not sound appetizing, but my kids LOVE it! I start with plain Greek yogurt, because I’d rather not give the kids unnecessary sugar and I sweeten it later. I then add finely chopped or pureed carrots AND kale (the kale is sweet like apples this way). To top it off I add granola and let the kids help with adding the honey. When mixed together, the kids don’t notice the veggies, though it is clearly visible. I think this is because they are excited about the fact that they added the honey and they love finding the granola chunks.
3. Having fish for dinner? Make a veggie filled fish salad. When I serve whole fish, Liam rarely eats it. However, If I take the fish off his plate, along with whatever veggie I serve it with, put it in the food processor with a tiny bit of mayo and serve it on rice crackers, he’ll eat the whole meal. Kids like crackers! I have also done this with turkey/chicken! Making tuna fish for lunch? Pack it with the nutrients of veggies in the same manner.
4. What kid doesn’t love mac and cheese? Whether I make it from scratch or I use Annie’s rice pasta mac and cheese, I always add pureed veggies. When making the home made version, I usually add either cauliflower or squash. I add it before I put the pan of pasta and cheese into the oven. If boxed, I use whatever vegetables I have, even if that means quickly chopping up some carrot and/or kale using the mini food processor and throwing it in the mac and cheese.
5. Pasta with red sauce – This is possibly the easiest way to hide veggies! Again, whether the sauce is home made or jarred, I use either pureed or finely chopped veggies, like carrots, celery, spinach, squash and/or mushrooms If it seems too lumpy, like my secret may be found out, I put it in the blender or use my super immersion blender to make it smooth so no one knows about the added delights! If your child doesn’t eat meat or poultry, you can add the already cooked meat in the same fashion.
6. Quesadillas – Kids love bread and cheese. I take it one step further by sneaking in the pureed or chopped vegetables. I make it easy on myself by cooking it in the toaster oven. The meal takes about 5 minutes to prepare!
7. Muffins - See my recipe page for my pumpkin/butternut squash muffin recipe. Of course you can also do carrot or zucchini as well.
So, happy veggie hiding. I hope at least one of these tricks work for you! Maybe your kids will surprise you! Mine did – One day I put broccoli on Liam’s plate and after many times of him not eating it, this particular meal he asked for seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths and finally sixths! Imagine my amazement!
Recipes for the homemade macaroni and cheese and the green eggs will appear on the recipe page shortly!