No joke, as I write this post I am digesting a bowl full of zucchini noodles while also noshing on a Halloween-sized chocolate bar. So while my lunch makes me a candidate for nutrition saint-hood, my after meal treat is really not the best thing for my body. Sugar, uh … we love it, and yet it hates us so much. And our kids love it, and want to eat it at 7am (or is it just my pre-schooler)?
This time of year is hard – Halloween has left us with piles of candy, zipped up and cranky kids, but germs in abundance just ready to snack on sugar-defeated immune systems. As a realistic parent, I know my kids will be eating some of their Halloween candy. I know also that I am the only member of my family who thinks a steaming bowl of bok-choy is comfort food and who gets excited over already sliced up carrot sticks for snacking. My kids are not overly picky, and yet veggies are not high on their list.
Now I do believe we need to encourage our kids to see, smell and taste new foods including vegetables without pretending they are lego blocks or “pizza,” but as a realistic parent I know that also sneaking in extra servings of veggies is smart.
Here’s our round-up of kid friendly recipes to hide vegetables in.
Pasta Sauce Can Be Chock-Full of Veggies
I almost squealed with delight when my son came home from cooking class to report that his veggie-filled pasta sauce was delicious. He was ok with chunks of veggies, but I pureed the recipe for the more piece-sensitive members of our family. And because we love Jamie Oliver, here’s his version: Full of Veg Tomato Sauce.
A Healthy Mac and Cheese
My all-time favourite mac and cheese recipe contains butternut squash. My kids aren’t big on it, so I can’t wait to try this version from The Bewitchin’ Kitchen that includes roasted vegetables in the sauce. A mix of pasta and broccoli ups the health factor too.
A Turkey-Veggie Burger
Hide extra veggies in your burger recipe. This recipe comes from The Nourished Home and the ground turkey, a leaner alternative to ground beef, is mixed with both carrot and zucchini. Adding vegetables also makes for a moist patty.
The Easiest Way to Get Kids to Eat Greens
My kids turn their noses up at most “green” things. But a smoothie? Yes, please. Mix greens with sweet and delicious fruit and they’ll never know the difference. Crystal’s been perfecting a recipe that contains both spinach and zucchini but picks up the flavours of strawberry, coconut and more. Try her Strawberry Mocha Monster Milkshake recipe and check out her Instagram post.
Kale and Aged Cheddar Quiche from Family Food and Travel
Amidst egg and cheese the kids will never know that this quiche by Family Food and Travel contains kale! This is a great way to hide some greens.
A Delicious Soup
I love soup and when the cold weather hits it becomes my favourite comfort food. My kids are big on broccoli soup and I know many more kids love a homemade tomato soup, or even a squash soup. Here are three ways to enjoy veggie-rich soups.
Roasted Tomato Soup by HelloCreativeFamily.com
Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup by The Picky Eater Blog
Easy Butternut Squash Soup by Once Upon a Chef
Now that’s a lot of sneaky and yet delicious ways to get your kids to eat more veggies! Enjoy.
Victoria Ess says
That mac n cheese recipe looks delicious!
I actually just sent a friend to this website to check out some recipes for her son who is at that picky stage. I will share with you guys what I shared with her.
My mom always is keen on making sure her children (and grandchildren) eat their veggies and fruits! So one recipe my mom chatted off to me became my mainstay when making a marinara sauce to go with pasta. First of all, you can purchase veggie-pasta. It can be purchased at any grocery store but of course, you will have better luck at a health food store like Trader Joes, Sprouts or Whole Foods (and your local co-op, support local!)
Okay, you want to get the following ingredients together. Just measure out as needed, I am not going to list cup or tbsp size.
One large can of tomato sauce (I like Newmanʻs garlic and basil, pick your favorite. Make sure there is no CORN SYRUP!
One can of diced tomatoes
One red onion
One bell pepper (pick the color you like best)
Two regular sized carrots
Five cloves of garlic
Two-Three TBSP Red Wine or 1 TBSP Balsalmic Vinegar
Italian seasoning (or if you have fresh: thyme, rosemary)
Salt & Pepper to taste
One package of Veggie Noodles of your choice
Cheese of your choice! (Feta, Parm, Romano, Mozzarella)
Boil a pot of water and add a tsp of olive oil and a small handful of salt to the water. Once boiled, strain with a mug at the bottom to collect starchy water and do not rinse. Keep the mug of water on the side and cover pasta for now.
Heat up a deep skillet pan with a tbsp of olive oil. Add diced onion and carrot with a pinch of salt to sweat the onion out (if you shredded carrot wait to add into the sauce. If you chopped finely add with onion). Now, add the garlic for a couple minutes, stirring. Next, add in shredded zucchini (you can shred half and dice the other half or shred the whole thing). If you shredded the carrot, add that as well. Add in black pepper and herbs/spices to taste (wait to add basil since it is delicate). Now pour in the sauce, can of diced tomatoes and about 1/2 cup of “starchy pasta water” and allow to cook down.
Once the sauce has cooked down with the lid on for about 10-15 minutes, add red wine or balsamic vinegar (wine cooked down removes alcohol, however, balsamic vinegar does the trick just as well). Taste your sauce for flavor, add what you need (salt? more pepper?) and then add chopped up basil, stir in.
The sauce should be finished. If your child does not like pasta and sauce mixed together, just dollop sauce ontop of his/her pasta. If you are unsure or your child likes it mixed together (or for the adults), you want to mix sauce into pasta. The starchy water you saved and added to sauce will allow the pasta and sauce to bind together better.
Wa-la! You just hid about eight or more different veggies and herbs! You can even throw in spinach or kale into the sauce and that can cook down pretty good as well! Enjoy!