The Other Way to Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

spinach_brownies_250-impMashed cauliflower in your hair, broccoli all over the floor, avocado dried to the high chair and peas up the nose. Sound familiar? Trying to feed a toddler vegetables?

Getting kids to eat their vegetables can be a very messy job when they are young and a frustrating power struggle when kids get older . . . both resulting in very little vegetables actually getting eaten.

Studies have shown it takes many many tries of one food before most kids will even discover they actually do like the taste. The struggle of getting kids to eat vegetables only seems to get worse as the kids get older and before you know it, food is flying and kids are crying in protest.

If frustration is setting in and you wonder how you will ever get your kids to eat vegetables, why not try another way.

Rather than spinning my wheels trying to get my family to love cauliflower, I created meals where I could easily include cauliflower without it being obvious. Most of the time it is not even noticed. I’m not hiding it so much as finding a way to make it taste good while making our everyday meals a bit healthier!

It would be great if the kids would eat a spinach salad, but they think the green stuff is gross . . . until it is put into the brownies they take to school for lunch. Zucchini? Forget it. But in cookies it works. Here are some ideas you can try to get your kids to eat more veggies.

The Other Way to Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies

Squash and Cauliflower
Chopped small cauliflower can be included when making scrambled eggs, or cooked and pureed and added to almost anything – soups or stews and its white colour makes it undetectable in any sauce. Squash when cooked and pureed works best as a thicker for homemade soup and is perfect in the cheese sauce for this Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

Zucchini
Shredded zucchini is perfect for adding to spaghetti sauces, home made meatballs and even baking but my kids don’t like seeing the green bits of the skin so pureed works in these Chocolate Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies and even these healthy Carrot, Apple and Zucchini Muffins.

Spinach & Carrots
It takes 6 cups of spinach leaves, cooked down in a small amount of water then pureed to give me enough spinach for these Spinach Brownies. That is a lot of spinach and my kids love these brownies. If your kids are not opposed to the green colour, baby spinach leaves can be chopped and added to soups or layered in a lasagna.

Beets & Kale
Smoothies are the best for getting a few extra vegetables in both you and the kids! The dark red colour of beets and the dark purple of blueberries make them a great cover for the green Kale in a morning smoothie. Start with ingredients you know the kids love – milk, yogurt, berries, peanut butter, banana then add in some colour with beets and blueberries and a handful of frozen or fresh kale. Experiment to find just the right amount of each ingredient for a smoothie everyone loves.

I still serve a side of beans, broccoli, carrots, corn or peas with all meals because those are the vegetables the kids do like. The rest, I get creative with.

Don’t be afraid to add cooked, chopped or pureed vegetables to everything you bake and cook, it certainly won’t hurt them and you might just find out it is a little easier to get your kids to eat their vegetables when they don’t really know they are eating their vegetables.

Raising Healthy Kids
Deb Lowther is a writer, runner, mom of 3 and wife of a very driven entrepreneurial husband in the health and nutrition field. When not running after the kids, Deb is running in the trails, climbing mountains, training for a triathlon, doing hot yoga and enjoying her evening glass of wine. She ensures her own family has fun while eating healthy & staying active together. After selling their first company in 2015, the Lowthers' launched Element Nutrition with Stuart focusing on creating nutritional products for the baby boomer generation with Boomer Nutrition and kids with IronKids Nutrition. Deb inspires healthy families through numerous articles in print and online, encouraging others to enjoy a healthy diet, staying active and not being afraid to flex a little muscle.

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Comments

  1. Great ways to include veges, I just didn’t sweat it and put it on their plate, if they ate it they did, if they didn’t no desert.

  2. some great tips here, thanks for sharing. I must admit as a child I hated cauliflower but wasn’t allowed to leave the table until my plate was empty – hence we had a bumpy linoleum on the floor until my mother discovered what I’d done. Strangely enough I do like it now, what a difference 60 yrs makes 🙂

  3. Yum! The recipes look tasty with the added kick of veg. Luckily my kids have never baulked at food (except olives!) so healthy eating is no trouble. We all do love baked goods though so adding the extra veg couldn’t hurt!

  4. I have a 4 year old who saw the picture of the brownies ‘I like brownies’ me ‘ theyre made with vegetables’ him’i like vegetables!’ so, guess i have to make them now

  5. Great tips to hide the veggies. Useful for older kids and hubs too (he hates kale for example so I hide it in lasagna roll ups and tell him it is spinach) 🙂

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