I wish I knew the secret of parents whose kids love vegetables. We tried everything to get ours to learn to love their vegetables, but we were never really successful. If you need to find ways to get vegetables into your picky eater's diet while they are developing their taste for healthy foods, try these ideas.
The Blender Is Your Ally
Kids can spot an onion at first glance; and heaven forbid that they should bite into a something that is slightly crunchy. Here's a trick. When you add vegetables to a soup or dish such as lasagne, saute the veggies until soft and puree the cooked vegetables before adding to the dish.
Though tomatoes are a fruit, they are a great source of healthy vitamins. Again, picky kids don't like chunky tomato sauces on spaghetti or pizza. Make your own marinara sauce with fresh or whole canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, and carrots; then give it a whirl in the blender to make a smooth, kid-friendly sauce.
Here's my recipe for Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup that your kids will swear is only chicken and noodles.
Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup
1 small onion, chopped
3 stalks celery including leaves, chopped
1 cup mini-carrots, chopped
3 T oil to saute vegetables
2-3 boneless chicken breasts, boiled in water just to cover chicken
1 32 oz. box chicken broth
8 oz. thin spaghetti
Bring chicken breasts to boil in water seasoned with salt; cover and simmer until done. Saute chopped vegetables in oil until soft. Cool slightly and puree vegetables in blender. Tear chicken into small pieces. Places in soup pot with broth from cooked chicken and 1 box of chicken broth. Add spaghetti noodles and sauteed vegetables. Cover and cook until noodles are done. Season to taste.
You Can't Hide Green
Dark green vegetables are the healthiest of them all, but you just can't hide that color from picky kids. Here are three tricks I've learned from other moms.
Cut them into tiny pieces. Finely chop broccoli before adding it to rice with cheese. Do the same with spinach and add to pizza or lasagne.
Keep it plain and simple. Picky kids like plain foods. Peas, green beans, asparagus and other green veggie sides served plain in small quantities will sometimes be the first real vegetable that a child will try. Remind them that it takes trying it ten times before people start to like a food.
Make it fun. Serve kids a rainbow of colors every day. Try a salad face with a lettuce leaf head, two cherry tomatoes for eyes, a carrot stick for the nose, and green pepper strip for the mouth. Let them dip the pieces in a kid-friendly dressing such as ranch-style as they eat the face. Or, serve bright green broccoli 'trees' dipped in cheese sauce.
Try these sneaky vegetable recipes from around the web...
Macaroni and Cheese made with pureed winter squash
This is a great healthy recipe for macaroni and cheese from Ellie Krieger.
If your kids like spaghetti 'noodles', give spaghetti squash a try. We love it with butter, salt and pepper, and parmesan cheese. How to cook spaghetti squash.
I can't vouch for these, but I plan to try them soon. Recipe from About Low-Carb Diets