Do you find it difficult to get your kids to eat their vegetables? Here are 14 sneaky ways to get vegetables into kids’ meals without too much fuss, and may even have them coming back for seconds!
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If your child isn’t a huge vegetable fan then you may need to resort to some tricks to get the veg in without them noticing!
How to Add Vegetables into Kids’ Meals
#1. Add Some Veggies to the Spaghetti Sauce!
When making up your spaghetti sauce reduce the amount of minced beef and add some finely chopped mushrooms to the mix.
The meaty texture of mushrooms is similar to the beef and they absorb the rich flavours of the sauce so the kids won’t suspect a thing!
You can also blend your sauce if you need to hide the mushrooms really well.
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#2. Homemade Gummy Snacks
This wonderful idea for homemade gummy snacks from Modern Parent, Messy Kids is great! Take your fruits and veggies, gelatin, honey, vanilla extract and combine to make some great fridge-ready snacks for kids.
Not only are the fruits and veggies filled with vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients, these gummies have the power of gelatin as well!
Gelatin is a source of dietary collagen and protein – it’s anti-inflammatory, known to improve digestion, promote healthy skin/hair/nails and more.
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#3. Add Some Broccoli or Cauliflower to a Cheese Sauce
A good cheese sauce made from scratch tastes wonderful, and this lightened version from Eating Well uses flour to thicken low-fat milk and a small amount of full-flavoured sharp Cheddar.
It’s then easy to add some steamed and pureed broccoli or cauliflower to it without the kids really noticing.
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#4. Kale Chips
Why now dehydrate some kale and make some kale chips? It’s such a clever way to get your kids crunching on their greens! Simply toss in some olive oil and salt and bake for 20 mins in a hot oven.
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#5. Make a Frittata
I find this is a great way to get lots of vegetables into my kids. I chop up tomatoes, ham and onions really finely (which they like), with some other vegetables like courgette and mushrooms that they don’t like that much and toss them all together in the egg based frittata.
Serve with some baked beans and they will clear the plate!
#6. Add some Green Veg to a Fruit Smoothie
Why not try adding a handful of kale or spinach to any fruit smoothie? These blend well and are well balanced.
Try the classic Green Monster by blending 1 cup milk, 1 frozen banana, 2 handfuls spinach, and 1 tablespoon almond butter. Easy and tasty!
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#7. Try Some Veggie Pasta
Instead of your usual pasta why not try veggies instead? You can get a spiral slicer or a mandolin slicer online or at most cooking stores, but failing that just use a vegetable peeler to create fun pasta shapes out of veggies.
Try courgette (zucchini), butternut squash, and aubergine (eggplant). Top with your favourite pasta sauce.
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#8. Don’t Forget the Herbs!
Remember herbs are leafy greens too! Add some fresh herbs to any rice, pasta or grain dish as a way of “hiding” the vegetables.
Another great one is to try is a homemade herb pesto and add this to scrambled egg or use as a sandwich spread. Caitriona’s kale pesto recipe is tried and tested on kids and is also vegan.
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#9. Make Soup
Embellish your favourite soups, fresh or canned, with added veggies. Just add raw or frozen vegetables while you’re heating or cooking the soup.
If your kids are really picky (like mine!), I steam up loads of vegetables with a focus on the ones they like best (e.g. carrots) and then liquidise the whole lot so they don’t even notice!
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#10. Load Veggies into Salads
I normally try and sneak a few extra vegetables into a tossed salad, especially in the summer time.
Why not try adding some petit pois or baby corn into your side salad? As well as adding colour, kids generally like the sweetness of peas or corn too.
Or add some sprouts or cress, as they give a more crunchy interesting texture.
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#11. Create Your Own Pizza
This is a great one that the kids actually really enjoy. I get some pizza bases (here’s a quick pizza dough recipe) and tomato sauce. Then I lay out a whole load of colourful chopped vegetables like peppers, corn, peas, mushrooms with some cheese, ham and pepperoni.
There is then a competition to make the most colourful and innovative pizza! Best fun!
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#12. Have Fun With Dips
Chop up some easy vegetables into sticks and put into individual cups. Use carrots, cucumber, celery, green beans and combine with a favourite dip like hummus or salsa.
We often have these as an afterschool snack.
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#13. Make Your Own Veggie Snacks
The potato chip as a snack is so hard to resist! The kids make a bee-line for them when available. Why not make your own healthier version by oven baking some thinly sliced potato in some light olive oil.
Even better – why not try sweet potato wedges, just as tasty and super nutritious.
#14 . Make an Avocado Chocolate Pudding
We saved the best til last! This is a really lovely idea.
Check out Erin Huggin’s take on a raw chocolate avocado pudding. It’s so easy to make and kids will love it!
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Do you have any other sneaky ideas for getting vegetable into kids meals you would like to share with us? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!