8 Easy Ways To Sneak Veggies Into Kids' Meals
Nearly every parent has had to struggle with getting their children to eat the recommended servings of vegetables each day without a fuss.
A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables from a young age can help lead to a decreased risk of a range of health issues later in life, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Why is it important to eat vegetables? Because of certain vitamins and minerals that you only get from vegetables. Wouldn’t it be amazing if mealtimes were less stressful when children ate their vegetables without it turning into a power struggle?
Here are some easy (and sneaky) ways of boosting kids’ meals with more veggies:
1. Add puréed vegetables to soups and sauces
Making a creamy chicken soup or spaghetti bolognaise? Add a shot of extra vegetables using tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, pumpkin and even celery for a healthier meal. You get the idea - almost any vegetable is perfect when blended down and mixed in with other foods and this trick never fails.
2. Get creative with veggie noodles
Invest in a spiralizer and get the kids involved in making zoodles, poodles and coodles – zucchini noodles, potato noodles, and – you guessed it – carrot noodles. Not only is it a fun activity, but it’s also healthy too, so kids will be enthusiastic about making vegetable spirals again in the future. While zoodles are best eaten raw as a salad, lightly sauté the other vegetable noodles and eat as spiral chips.
3. Slurp a smoothie
Carrot juice is easily available in Singapore, so add a shot of it to your next smoothie blend. Its natural sweetness will be an added welcome treat, as will the lovely orange colour that it brings. Want to go green? Blend baby spinach and celery with a smoothie that has raspberries or blueberries to mask the green colour.
4. When in doubt, go Mexican
Mash up avocados to make wholesome guacamole; whip up some tacos and serve it on the side of shredded cheese, lettuce and tomatoes; and better yet, turn those chicken quesadillas into a veggie punch by hiding grilled vegetables and baking over with cheese. It’s really that easy.
5. Mix and match potatoes
Sweet and regular potatoes are perennial favourites and go great together. To add some extra nutritional value, mix them when making wedges, fries and mashed potatoes. Better yet, sneak in some mashed steamed cauliflower into the mashed potatoes for an added healthy boost.
6. Bring on the meat
Minced meat is really versatile and is perfect for hiding extra vegetables. Mini-burgers, sausage rolls, quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas, lasagne, meatballs – the list is almost infinite. Add steamed or puréed vegetables into the minced beef mixture and the kids will never know the difference.
7. Hide the greens in chocolate
It’s true. They exist. And they are delicious. It’s not just carrot cake that sneaks vegetables into baked goodies. Spinach brownies, chocolate avocado pudding, chocolate beetroot cake and zucchini mud pies are not only easy to whip up, but most of the recipes are vegan-friendly too. Baking your own cookies? Upgrade your chocolate chip cookie dough by adding carrot or sweet potato purée.
8. Bake veggies into bread
Add grated carrots, pumpkins or zucchini, and cherry or sundried tomatoes into a loaf of homemade bread. Even better, make olive bread so that the strong flavour of the olives masks the subtle flavour of the grated vegetables.