It can be hard enough making sure the whole family is getting their recommended 5-a-day fruit and vegetables, but what if you are also feeding a picky eater?
It’s recommended that children eat at least 5 portions of fruit and/or vegetables each day. If your child is super picky then it can be a challenge to get them to eat those 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, so here are some helpful and effective tips to try.
Help Your Fussy Eaters Get Their 5-a-Day
#1. Add Vegetables to Sauces
Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce. Here are some ideas to inspire you in 14 sneaky ways to get vegetables into kids meals.
#2. Add Fruit to Breakfast Cereal/Porridge
Top cereal with berry or fruit slices such as apple, banana or grate some apple or pear into porridge.
#3. Grate Vegetables into Dinners
Blitz up your veggies and add to your main course. Do your children like plain tomato pasta? Try adding some red pepper to the sauce and blending.
You can also try grating courgettes, carrots or cauliflower into casseroles and soups. Here are soup recipes that kids will actually love.
#4. Puree Vegetables
Keep a supply of pureed vegetables in the freezer, stored in ice cube trays and use as needed. Sneak them into your child’s favourite dishes, for example:
- Mix in with pasta sauce
- Use as a spread on toasted cheese sandwiches
- Hide in cheesy mash potato
#5. Keep Offering
Have chopped fruit and vegetables on the table with every meal and at snack times. Even if most of the time you are the only one eating them at least you are staying healthy, setting a good example and on the day when your children want to try them, they are available for them.
Puree carrots, butternut squash or sweet potato and combine with the mashed potato on top of a cottage or shepherds pie. Pouring thin gravy over the top would disguise the colour a little too.
Find (or grow) some peas in pods, and get children to shell them. Not only is this really fun, but they may even taste a few. And nothing compares to the freshness!
#8. Raw Veggie Sticks
Dips like hummus and guacamole are often popular with children, and can be served with a variety of raw vegetables. Carrots, cucumber, pepper strips and baby corn are particularly popular.
#9. Grated Cheese
Grating cheese over vegetables works well, for example cauliflower cheese, although you don’t want to completely transform your vegetables into something less healthy so try to find a balance.
Experiment with cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella or whatever your child’s favourite is.
#10. Make a Tomato Passata
Make a good tomato passata with onions, celery, carrots and garlic and store in freezer and add to pasta when needed. Also throw in a few chopped sprouts when serving. This is an easy way of getting nutritious food quick rather than eating tinned spaghetti or other processed sauces.
Passata Recipe with Hidden Veg (Makes approx 1L)
- 15 fully ripened medium to large tomatoes, halved
- 1 large, finely chopped red onion
- 3 celery stalks
- 3 carrots
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 peeled and chopped cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp finely chopped basil
- 1 dessertspoon sundried tomato paste
- 1 dessertspoon tomato puree
- 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Using a large frying pan gently fry the red onion, celery and carrots in the olive oil until soft (usually about 15 minutes). Add to blender and also add tomatoes, garlic, basil and black pepper and liquidise until smooth.
- Pour the blender contents into your large pan and bring to the boil. Add the sun dried tomato paste and tomato puree and thoroughly mix. Now gently simmer, stirring frequently for 10 – 15 minutes and reduce until you have the perfect passata.
#11. Make Fruit & Veggie Pops
When you have spare time try to make some homemade fruit & veggie pops. It’s a fun way of your children getting their 5 a day.
Fruit & Veggie Pops Recipe
- 300g low fat vanilla yogurt
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
- ½ cup apple juice
- In a blender, place ½ vanilla yogurt and strawberries. Blend until smooth. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the mixture into ice pop moulds.
- Put remaining mixture in a bowl; cover and refrigerate.
- Freeze pops for about 2 hours or until frozen.
- In blender, place remaining yoghurt, spinach and apple juice. Cover and blend until smooth.
- When first layer is frozen, pour about 1 ½ tablespoons of the spinach mixture in ice pop mould over frozen strawberry and vanilla layer. Put remaining mixture in bowl; cover and refrigerate.
- Freeze about 2 hours or until frozen.
- Repeat with remaining strawberry and spinach layers, freezing at least 2 hours between layers.