I know I’m not the only mom out there who struggles to get their picky eaters to eat their fruits and veggies every day. Whether it’s due to our crazy busy schedules or just lack of creativity when it comes to brainstorming meal ideas I know first hand how tricky it can be to try and get our toddlers eating better. Don’t worry mamas, there’s hope! I’ve discovered some great ways to sneak more veggies into your toddler’s meals to get them eating a healthier diet.
I know growing up I was the exact same way as my daughter is now. I was an extremely picky eater and I wanted cheese in some form with every meal. But don’t worry, there are definitely ways to disguise sneak more veggies in your kiddos favorite foods where they’ll never know the difference.
- Mashed Potatoes – A great way to give your mashed potatoes a healthy facelift is to use half mashed cauliflower. Steam and mash the cauliflower as you normally would and then just mix into your mashed potatoes. The texture remains the same, nice and smooth and creamy but your kiddos will be getting the added health benefits of the cauliflower.
- Hidden veggie spaghetti sauce – This one’s pretty simple. Use whatever veggies you have leftover in your house. I suggest trying a combo of things like carrots, zucchini, mushroom and/or spinach. Cook them up and puree them in a blender or use an emulsion blender and then just cook them right into your spaghetti sauce. And voila! This kid friendly spaghetti sauce will soon become a staple in your house!
- Veggie meatballs with Zucchini – When making your homemade meatballs add in a cup of grated zucchini (and the key is to use the smallest sized grate you can and make sure to squeeze out all of the liquid you can). You can also use yellow squash as well. Your meatballs will be nice and juicy and your kids won’t know the difference.
- Veggie pesto pasta sauce – All you need for this one is spinach, basil, garlic, cheese and peas. This one’s a staple in our house. It’s packed with nutrients but also lots of flavor that kids love. Add the ingredients to a food processor or Vitamix (I personally couldn’t live without my Vitamix and think it’s the best appliance in our house hands down), blend it up, slowly stream in olive oil and stop when the spinach pesto has reached your desired consistency. You can add this to pasta, chicken, you name it! It’s sure to be a winner.
- 5 ingredient pancake alternative – These are one of my daughter’s go-tos! All you need is 1 banana, 2 eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and oatmeal. Mix them all together with an emulsion blender (this one is my fav) and pour to make some delicious healthy pancakes. I actually sometimes will sneak in some spinach or blueberries right in this mix too. And for a sweet treat add dark chocolate chips!
- Avocado chocolate pudding – This recipe is to die for!! All you need to do is blend 2 large avocados, ½ cup cocoa powder, ½ cup brown sugar, ⅓ cup coconut milk, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, and a pinch of cinnamon in a blender or Vitamix until smooth. Refrigerate pudding until chilled, about 30 minutes and your kids will be requesting this daily!!
- DIY “Go Gurt” pops w/ veggies – I’ve always been hesitant to give my kids the “kid branded” yogurt you see in the stores because it often can be loaded with sugar. All you need for this alternative is 1 cup plain greek yogurt, ½ cup fresh spinach, ¾ cup berries ( strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) and 1 banana. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend and use a funnel to get the mixture into a yogurt bag like this one here or a popsicle mold like this one. And enjoy!
- Mini Cauliflower pizzas – These are so super easy and very fast to make. Simply grab a large bowl, toss in grated cauliflower, oil, eggs and seasonings. Then toss in all your favorite pizza toppings (mushroom, sausage, peppers, you name it). You’re going to grease a non-stick muffin tin and then fill it with your cauliflower mixture. Bake at 30-35 minutes at 400 degrees until golden brown. Dip these in your favorite marinara sauce and they’re sure to be a hit!
I hope you enjoyed this list of 8 different ways to sneak more veggies into your toddler’s meals in some recipes that your whole family can enjoy (especially your kiddos). Which is your favorite? I’d love to hear which ones you’re going to try in the comments below.