If your kids willingly eat their veggies, kudos to you. But let’s get real; Most of us aren’t raising a posse of natural born broccoli-biters like the Gwyneth Paltrows of the world. For most families, maybe there are a few “safe” vegetables. You know, the ones you can serve without having them fly at your head, but the rest is really a toss-up.
Even if we make an honest effort to have a variety of healthy food on the table most nights, kids aren’t always the easiest bunch to please. And it doesn’t help that when they decide they actually do like something one week, it could be totally out of the question the next. It’s incredibly frustrating, but it happens to the best of us.
If you’re in major freakout mode about the nutrition your child isn’t getting, stay calm. All is not lost. Instead of slamming your head against the kitchen table night after night, try some of these surefire ways to get them to eat their veggies, no questions asked (except maybe “can I have seconds?”).
1. Popsicles. Oh, the appeal of the popsicle. It’s cold. It’s drippy. It’s delicious! But the best thing about them is that you can practically put anything in there and kids will willingly scarf them down. All you need is a blender, a popsicle maker (a glorified ice cube tray) and whatever fruits and veggies you like. They key is to go heavy on the fruits for sweetness and then toss in the veggies. Carrots and mango make a great combo, as do kiwis and cucumbers but feel free to get creative (and by creative I mean sneaky). Just blend with 1 cup of water, pour into the tray, freeze and wah-lah- delicious, frozen veggies for all!
2. Smoothies. Same sort of idea here, but you can be a little more liberal with the veggie servings. Try a cup of plain greek yogurt, 2 tbsp honey, 1 whole banana, 1 whole avocado (peeled and pitted), 5 or 6 ice cubes and a ½ cup of milk. If you’re feeling daring, drop in a handful of chopped spinach, as well. Again, the possibilities are endless and as long as there’s enough sweetness, you’ll surely get requests for more.
3. Dips. The thing about dip is that nobody really cares what’s in it, kids included. As long as it’s warm and involves cream cheese, you’re pretty much good to go. Try simmering a 10 oz. bag of frozen spinach with 2 tbsp olive oil and half an onion. In a separate pot, melt one package of cream cheese with a cup of milk, then add the spinach mixture. Cream them together, pop it into a baking dish and top with mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Bake until golden brown (about 20 minutes) and let the kiddos dip away. Now, if you can get them to dip with an actual veggie instead of a chip, well that’s just a beautiful thing. But whole wheat pitas are a nice go-to, as well.
4. Pizza sauce. This is one of my sneakiest tricks. We typically do pizza night every Friday. My daughter is all “woo-hoo! Pizza!” and I’m all “woo-hoo! You have no freaking idea what you’re eating!” I start with a store-bought whole wheat dough and top with a jar of pizza sauce. Then I get choppin’. Mushrooms, red and green peppers, spinach, even onions have graced our sauce with their presence. As long as they are securely hidden under a hefty layer of cheese, the secret is safe with me.
5. Make it into a fry. Did you know you can turn pretty much anything into a fry? Well, it’s true. I don’t just mean regular potatoes and sweet potatoes, although, YUM. But you can cut squash, zucchini and even avocados into fries. Just top with olive oil and breadcrumbs, bake and deliver. Knowing my own love of anything “fried” I would suggest you make a lot or else you’ll have to fight the kids for them. And nobody likes a fry-snatcher!
Got any other sneaky veggie tips? Leave them in the comments!