Vegetables are really good for you!
They’re rich in vitamins and minerals, not to mention fiber. But unfortunately, veggies aren’t particularly appealing to many kids (or even adults).
So how do you get your family members to eat their vegetables?
We can sneak them in! As it turns out, the reason for eschewing veggies sometimes has a lot to do with the texture. By mimicking the texture of other favorite foods, we can have better luck with serving them to pickier eaters.
Try some of these ideas when you make dinner for the family and see what happens!
It’s important to keep trying to offer vegetables over and over again. As the flavors and smells become more familiar, children are more comfortable trying new foods. Keep on buying them and trying even if they don’t eat them all right away!
Here are 19 super-easy ways to sneak more veggies into every meal!
19 Ways to Sneak Veggies Into Meals:
1. Make Pumpkin Pancakes.
Pumpkin is so sweet and delicious that it’s set apart from other vegetables. It makes a great addition to baked goods and sweets – including pancakes! Just replace some of the wet ingredients in your favorite pancake recipes with pumpkin puree. Cinnamon and ginger are great additions, too.
2. Add Pureed Cauliflower
Puree cauliflower and add it to mashed potatoes (or the potatoes in your shepherd’s pie.) It tastes and looks so similar that you’d never know the difference. Yes, potatoes are already a vegetable, but cauliflower is a little easier on the glycemic index and doesn’t have as many simple carbs.
3. Add Greens to Smoothies.
Spinach, kale, and chard are all packed with nutrients. Try blending some spinach leaves (or other green of your choice) into your morning fruit smoothie. Green smoothies taste like fruit but have all the nutritional benefits of a serving of greens.
4. Add Vegetables to Sauce
Puree vegetables to add to your pizza sauce. Hide whichever vegetables you’d like in your pizza sauce by blending them together first. You’ll add loads of flavor and nutrients. Try mushrooms, celery, carrots, summer squash, spinach, and onions.
5. Add Shredded Zucchini to Baked Goods
Add shredded zucchini to muffins, breads, and pancakes. You can sneak zucchini into any recipe by adding grated zucchini. Don’t worry, you won’t taste it – and your guests will never know they’re there!
6. Add Pureed Veggies to Soup
Puree any extra vegetables you have and use them as a base for soups. You can make a puree out of any vegetable you’d like. Start with something mild – like carrots, onions, celery, or tomatoes – and add some herbs and spices to make it taste great on its own. Then use this base for soup recipes!
7. Add Mushrooms to Meat
Add finely diced mushrooms burger meat for a more complex flavor and lower fat. The texture is excellent, and the mushrooms absorb a lot of flavor from the beef and spices in your hamburger recipe.
8. Mix Carrots With Cheese
Shred carrots and use them as a topping for tacos. They’ll blend in with the cheese and add extra crunch. You can also cook shredded carrots in your taco meat if you want to hide them even more.
9. Add Beans to Meat
Add refried beans to your taco meat. Beans are another healthy vegetable packed with fiber. Try mixing some refried pinto beans into ground beef for tacos – it blends together seamlessly.
10. Use Zucchini Noodles
Replace pasta with zucchini noodles. The zucchini noodles have way fewer carbs and a ton of flavor. Use a spiralizer to make them. Other vegetables work too! You can make noodles out of sweet potatoes, too.
11. Puree Black Beans
Puree black beans and add them to sauces/soups/stews for extra fiber and protein. When blended, black beans take on the sauce’s flavor and serve as a thickener.
12. Make Veggie Burgers
Make your veggie burgers with shredded vegetables and quinoa or rice – use an egg to bind everything together and then cook it like a regular burger.
13. Make Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Make a pizza crust out of cauliflower. To make a cauliflower pizza crust, just puree cauliflower and squeeze all the water out. Add cheese and an egg to bind it together. Form this into a circle and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, then remove from the oven and add your favorite toppings.
14. Sneak Vegetables Into Meatballs
Sneak vegetables into meatballs or meatloaf by adding shredded zucchini, carrot, onion, bell pepper, spinach, broccoli. Any veggies will work if you chop them up finely.
15. Try Cauli-Rice
Try cauli-rice, or cauliflower rice, instead of regular rice. Cauli-rice is a great substitute for those on low-carb diets. Simply grate the cauliflower, so it’s in tiny chunks, then sauté it quickly with a bit of oil or butter and serve it in place of rice. You can also mix it with rice if you want.
16. Make Veggie Fritters
Make veggie fritters with grated vegetables and eggs. Fritters are a great way to sneak veggies into a meal. Simply mix some shredded vegetables with an egg and spices of your choice, form them into patties or balls, and fry them up in a little oil. Fritters are a lot of fun, and you can make them with lots of different ingredients.
17. Add Pureed Spinach
Add pureed spinach to pancakes or muffin recipes. Want to add some greens to your baked goods? Pureed spinach won’t affect the flavor but will add a ton of nutrients and a little extra protein.
18. Include Mashed Carrots
Include mashed carrots in your mac-n-cheese. Roast carrots until they’re very tender, then mash them until they’re completely smooth. Add the mashed carrots to your cheese sauce for a unique flavor and loads of color when making mac and cheese.
19. Make Avocado Chocolate Pudding
Make avocado chocolate pudding. Get some healthy fats in your diet by combining avocado with chocolate. Simply blend together cocoa powder, avocado, stevia, and a dash of sea salt, then serve this as a pudding or mousse.
Keep Eating Veggies!
Stay positive and keep offering those veggies! Sooner or later, your picky eaters will realize that they do like vegetables.
You’ll never realize you’re eating more veggies when you try these tips. So give some of them a try to improve your whole family’s nutrition and well-being.
Have you ever snuck veggies into a meal successfully? How did your family respond? Share your stories in the comments below!