Do your children run at the sight of spinach or Brussels sprouts, turning you into a covert agent to trick your veggie haters into loving this food group? Don’t worry, I won’t tell your secret! In fact, I have collected three deceptive recipes to help you along your healthy food mission.
So, why sneak vegetables into your child’s meals? It’s simple—they are extremely important! Since our bodies cannot produce essential vitamins on their own, we rely on absorbing them through the daily food we eat. Guess which food has the most vitamins—yes, vegetables! They have enough vitamins to keep your children’s body healthy for growth and development, and due to their high nutritional value, the U.S. Food Pyramid encourages 3-5 servings per day.
Ensure that you give your little ones the healthiest food to help them grow big and strong! Check out these fun recipes and put healthy into your next meal!
“It’s morphing time!”
Mr. Mashed Cauliflower
What child doesn’t love a meal filled with starchy foods? Never fear—you can avoid the beloved yet unhealthy mashed potato dish by substituting potato with cauliflower. Your children will never see it coming!
Yields four servings in under 20 minutes.
1 medium head of cauliflower
1 tbsp cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/8 tsp chicken base or bullion
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp chives, chopped (for garnish)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
Boil water over high heat
Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces
Cook cauliflower in boiling water for six minutes
Drain and dry well, but do not let it cool
Puree the hot cauliflower with cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic, chicken base/bouillon and pepper until smooth
Garnish with chives and serve hot with pads of butter
Secret Sauce Lasagna
One of my favorite meals to cook when watching my neighbor’s children is this secret sauce lasagna. It’s a great dish to feed the young crew because I could throw in extra vegetables without them ever suspecting me of doing such a “crime.”
Yields six individual casseroles and takes an hour and a half to fix!
1/4 large sweet onion
1 large zucchini
1 large red bell pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, no salt added
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp low-fat Parmesan cheese
Pinch of dried basil
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup 1% cottage cheese
8 whole-wheat lasagna noodles, cooked, drained and cut into thirds
150g low-fat Mozzarella cheese
Blend the onion, zucchini, pepper and carrot in a food processor
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add shredded vegetables
Cook for five minutes until the vegetables soften (stir often)
Pour in tomato sauce and water, add the ketchup, Parmesan cheese, basil and salt
Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer. Stir occasionally for 40 minutes
Transfer mixture to the food processor and add the lemon juice
Puree until smooth, set aside
In a large bowl, beat together the cottage cheese and egg until combined
Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease six individual casseroles
Place layers of sauce, noodles, cottage cheese, sauce, Mozzarella, noodles and sauce in each vessel, finishing with a sprinkle of Mozzarella
Place vessels on a baking sheet and cover with foil
Bake covered for 30 minutes
Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until brown
Let stand 10 minutes before serving
This healthy eating recipe is my absolute favorite! I could eat a pan full of these vegetable brownies and not feel guilty. Try it with your picky eater as a healthy after-school or dinner snack.
Yields 15 brownies and takes about two hours!
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 coconut palm sugar (can use brown sugar)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350°F
Boil large pot of water
Once boiling, add sweet potato and let cook for 10 minutes (until soft)
Pour into colander to strain the water
Run cold water over potatoes for one minute to cool them down
Add potatoes to a food processor and add in baby spinach, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth
Add in eggs and blend until combined
Add in coconut palm sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. Blend until smooth
Grease muffin tin with non-stick spray and pour batter into cups, filling only 1/3 of each cup
Bake for 18-20 minutes (bake less if you want to have fudgier brownie)
Let sit for 20 minutes before removing from muffin pan
I hope you have a successful vegetable mission! Check back with us to find some more ways to covertly add healthy to your children’s menu.
Did you love learning how to disguise vegetables into your meals? Let us know how you feel in the comments below or email us your own blog to share!
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Allyson Miller is a bookworm, history nerd and outdoor enthusiast who loves writing creative and informational content for SBT in Rock Hill, SC. Depending on the day, you can find her with her nose in historical documents, shopping for trendy exercise outfits or trying new cooking recipes. Allyson dreams that one day, engineers will figure out a way to build roller coasters sans the incline, ridding her of coasterphobia.