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 could also add some grated carrot or courgette, blending the sauce if need be.
For a pesto sauce, blitz in some cooked broccoli or spinach with the pesto.
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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.
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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
Yes, they’re green – but kale chips are surprisingly popular with kids, thanks to a crunchy, crispy texture. You could keep it super simple with just some olive oil and salt, or give a flavour boost like these parmesan and lemon kale chips from Once Upon a Chef.
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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, salsa or guacamole. We often have these as an after school 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! You can even transform dessert thanks to this chocolate avocado pudding from Donal Skehan. This sweet and surprisingly delicious little vegan pudding that will guarantee to have everyone guessing what the secret ingredient is!
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