Are you tired of battling with your finicky child over untouched broccoli? Many children are picky eaters, particularly when it comes to vegetables. There is actually a very good reason why kids often turn up their noses at veggies. Mother nature prevents kids from swallowing poisonous plants by making them dislike flavors that are sour or bitter. Though it is great that children are naturally inclined to spit out stuff that might make them sick, it is frustrating that this same instinct will cause them to reject many vegetables too. You know that your growing child needs the vitamins and minerals found in veggies, but stubborn six year olds are rarely convinced by such arguments.

Tasty Tricks That Turn Meals into Healthy Treats

So what is a concerned mom or dad to do? You can feed your child a variety of vegetables with some sneaky creativity in the kitchen. Recently we gave you a recipe for tasty veggie burgers made from wholesome beans and vegetables. One easy tip to add extra nutrition to meals is to add shredded or diced dehydrated veggies to the foods they already love!

Here are 5 kid-approved meals and snacks that are easy to sneak vegetables into:

  1. Smoothies - Your blender can be your secret weapon in the battle to get kids to eat more greens and is an easy way to get kids to ask for a second serving of spinach (without showing them old Popeye cartoons). Add a couple of tablespoons of dehydrated spinach along with your favorite smoothie ingredients: juice, milk, yogurt, and fruit. Of course you can add in more spinach and it will still taste great. If they ask about the color, just tell them it’s green because it will make them big and strong, like the Incredible Hulk!
  2. Spaghetti - You may already add traditional vegetables such as mushrooms, onions, and peppers to your spaghetti sauce, but don’t just stop there. Any tomato-based sauce can be made more nutritious and delicious with the addition of chopped broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and even butternut squash. Blend the vegetables in a food processor before adding to the sauce. They will never know the difference!
  3. Macaroni and Cheese - Mac and cheese is a simple dish that kids often beg for at lunch and dinner. The creamy cheese sauce that kids love can hide any yellow orange veggies such as squash, corn or carrots. The trick is to puree the veggies before adding them to the sauce.
  4. Quesadillas - Don’t just put cheese inside the tortilla the next time you make quesadillas for dinner. The inside of a tortilla is the perfect place to hide all kinds of beans and veggies such as peppers, onions, corn, spinach, and zucchini. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Sweet potato quesadillas are delicious!
  5. Sloppy Joes - Like spaghetti sauce, a typical tomato-based sloppy joe recipe can hide a cornucopia of vegetables. You can make a vegetarian version of this dish by substituting Texturized Vegetable Protein for ground beef. TVP has a meaty texture but lacks the unhealthy saturated fat found in ground beef. One of our varieties of beef flavored TVP, Beefish Bits, contains only .36g of saturated fat in every ¼ cup serving, whereas ¼ cup of actual ground beef contains over 4 grams!

We hope these tips help put an end to arguments over uneaten vegetables. After all, our name is Harmony House. If you would like to share any of your own ideas for how to get kids to eat more veggies, please comment below. We (and many other parents) would love to hear your thoughts!

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