Smart and Sneaky: Trick Your Kids Into Eating Vegetables
If you are someone who strongly dislikes parents who brag about their kids who “just love vegetables!” you are not alone. It’s OK if you hide those folks from your Facebook newsfeed. Yes, pictures of their children eating spinach is just as nauseating as the mommies you blocked because they somehow manage to make Pinterest-worthy meals EVERY. DAY.
Good news: Your kids are normal for disliking vegetables, no matter what those social outlets tell you. Many kids are picky eaters by nature, and forcing food down their throats isn’t fun for anyone. Instead of having a big fight over eating vegetables every night, you can sneak nutrition into foods they already like.
Here are five ways you can be SuperMom without your kids ever knowing the difference.
Situation: Your kid loves having a muffin for breakfast
Sneak Attack: Make zucchini muffins
Throw some zucchini in a food processor until it is shredded. This keeps the texture from giving you away. Zucchini is rich in a number of nutrients, like fiber and magnesium. Bonus: Zucchini packs a punch with vitamin B-9 – or folate. Folate not only boosts metabolism but also contributes to brain development.
Situation: Your son wants pizza for dinner
Sneak Attack: Puree some green stuff and add it to that sauce
Sweet potato and carrot purees are easily masked in pizza sauce. If you have an infant, grab a baby jar for a last-minute addition to the tomato sauce. You can be brave and finely chop up bland veggies – like green beans – and add them under the layer of cheese. Your child might bite in to wholesome goodness without every knowing it.
Situation: Your daughter wants a milkshake for dessert
Sneak Attack: Make it a veggie-laced smoothie
Nothing hides vegetables quite like a high-powered blender. Spinach and kale are packed with immune-boosting nutrients, and sweet fruits like mango or strawberry easily mask their taste. Just don’t let your child see you throw anything green in the blender. Add another distraction and put the smoothie in a “fun” glass or use a twisted straw.
Where’s the Beef?
Situation: You want to fire up the grill
Sneak Attack: Shred veggies into hamburgers
There is no shortage of ways to get vegetables into ground beef. Try shredding squash and mixing it into the beef before you throw the patties on the grill. Alternatively, you can chop onions, carrots or other vegetables and sauté them before adding them to the uncooked meat. Try this with meatloaf, tacos and meatballs as well. Bonus: Use ground turkey instead of beef for an even leaner, healthier option.
Situation: It’s Italian night and your husband is asking for lasagna
Sneak Attack: Ditch the noodles for layers of zucchini
Thinly slice your zucchini and substitute it for all or some of the layered noodles. Between the sauce, meat and cheese, your kids might not even notice the difference. You can go another way with this recipe and add finely chopped or pureed peas, spinach, carrots or even broccoli. Most vegetables take on the flavor of the sauce.