One of ongoing battles in my house is getting the kids to eat their veggies. Over the years I have tried many different methods of delivery to get those veggies into their belly, some being somewhat successful and others were flat out failures. Here are some of the things I have tried and the results.
- Dip, Dip and More Dip: Let them dip their veggies in some sort of sauce or condiment such as Ketchup, BBQ sauce, ranch dressing or marinara sauce. – The one negative of giving your young child a dip is it creates a BIG mess. Ketchup has been the only real winner in this category for me, with Broccoli being the favorite veggie used to dip with it.
- Cheese to the Rescue: Melt cheese all over the veggies and see what happens. Kids like cheese right? – Not so much. The kids didn’t go for this one.
- Hiding the Veggies in Food – Puree, shred and manipulate those veggies to hide them in common dishes your kids normally eat. – Winner, winner chicken dinner. This one so far has been my best bet for getting the kids to eat their veggies.
So your best bet like me, might be to get sneaky and hide those veggies. But where do you start? Here are two great books that will help you on your way.
- The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ favorite Meals – By Missy Chase Lapine
- Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food – By Jessica Seinfeld
The two books are pretty similar. Each author gives recipes on making different types of fruit and vegetable purees, such as combining Spinach, Blueberries and Broccoli for a “Purple Puree”. They then give dinners, lunches, desserts and breakfast foods mixing those purees into the recipes. I have to admit at first the idea of prepping and pureeing all this food seems daunting, but if you have the right equipment and time, then you eventually get the hang of it. While, not every recipe I have tried has been a gourmet dinner, for the most part the recipes have been quite tasty. Really though, the simple basics and ideas from these books have paid the most dividends. Such as using cauliflower puree or white bean puree in Mac and Cheese. What kid doesn’t like Mac and Cheese? As long as you don’t put too much puree in there, the kids will gobble it up without even knowing it’s there! Here are a few other tips from the books and from my own experience that have been successful in hiding veggies and nutrients into the kids food:
- Mix in pureed spinach and broccoli with your spaghetti sauce. It’s the perfect cover up. Also you can add the purees to your meatloaf mixture before baking.
- Use Flax Seed Meal! Mix in a teaspoon or 2 into all your baked goods. It has no flavor and it adds both fiber and Omega 3s into your kid’s diet.
- Substitute tofu for chicken in certain dishes. Works great in Chicken Fried Rice recipe or you can cut up tofu into squares and bread and bake just like chicken. Good source or protein!
- Shred carrots up and mix in with shredded cheese on tacos
- One word smoothies. You can add carrot, cauliflower or a host other purees in with fruit smoothies without the kids being any the wiser.
These are just a few of ideas. Get creative and try coming up with some of your own. You might not win every veggie battle with your kids, but you may just be on your way to winning the war.
Do you have any good tips on getting your kiddos to eat vegetables? Let me know!