This is by far my most-requested blog topic to date: how the heck to feed toddlers their fruits and veggies without losing your mind. We are very lucky that Jane is a great eater, but even our foodie-baby goes through ups and downs at meal time. I’m always trying to think of creative ways to pack more vegetables into our meals in sneaky ways that won’t deter her from eating. Truthfully, these tricks help me get in more fruits and veggies too! Here are a few of my favorite ways to hide veggies (and fruit!) in tasty meals that even the pickiest toddlers will enjoy:Sneak in smoothies. Smoothies are my number one way to hide fruits and vegetables. Strangely, it is actually hard to get Jane to eat fruit than almost anything else – she just doesn’t love it the way most kids do. I prep smoothies in mason jars and freeze them so that when we wake up in the morning, all I have to do is transfer the ingredients to the blender and add the liquid. Our favorite smoothie recipe is a half a banana, some berries, a big handful of spinach, and a chopped up date or two.
After I blend them, I screw on these mason jar straw lids so that she can drink it right out of the jar – it’s her favorite part! In the summer when I had some extra smoothie left in the blender, I’d freeze it in fun ice pop molds for even more hidden fruits and veggies.
Concealed in Pastas.Pasta is a great way to conceal veggies! I make a hidden-veggie “Bolognese” sauce that has tons of chopped up carrots, spinach and squash inside. I also make my classic mac and cheese recipe and fold in riced cauliflower or rice broccoli, or try this mac and cheese recipe with roasted butternut squash. They’re all delicious dishes that both kids and parents can look forward to eating!
All the Riced Veggies.We have gotten on the riced veggie train over this past year, and fold them into so many different recipes. I keep our freezer stocked with a variety of riced vegetables – broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower are some of the ones I’ve used most often. I have incorporated riced cauliflower into stuffed peppers, made it into a veggie fried rice, and added it into meatball or meatloaf recipes. We also used the riced vegetables in tator-tot form as an easy side-dish that Jane will inhale if we pair it with ketchup or another dip!
Buried in Breakfast. I find that one of the easiest ways to high veggies is in eggs – either chopped up finely in omelets or baked into mini egg cups (which are great to make ahead in mini-muffin tins and have on hand for quick meals!). If I have a bit more time on the weekends, I’ve also made waffles out of shredded zucchini– it’s a great recipe for savory summer brunches when zucchini is plentiful!
Hidden in Pizza. I am not below using pizza as a vehicle for veggie-delivery! I thinly slice up peppers and mushrooms and sneak them under the cheese – it’s serious mom-trickery, but it works! I also use my hidden-veggie Bolognese sauce to make flavorful pizza that has lots of finely diced vegetables mixed in
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