50+ Simple Ways to Sneak Fruits & Vegetables Into Kid Favorites

50waysI’m a big believer in offering my kids fruits and vegetables at every meal. Research has definitively shown that if you keep offering and keep offering, children will eventually try the produce you put in front of them. I know from experience! It does work, but it takes months and sometimes years of diligence.

My 5-year-old, for instance, has HATED fruit his whole life. He’ll eat veggies but hates fruit (huh?). A month ago he came to me and said, “Mom, I think I’d like to try an apple.” (I almost cried, but instead remained calm and cool so as not to scare him off.) He’s eaten an apple almost every day since!

While we wait for the “lightbulb” moment when our kids will try and like fruit and vegetables, though, how can we get that much needed nutrition into them regularly?

One of the ways I ensure my kiddos, who can certainly be picky at times, are getting enough produce is to sneak extra fruits and veggies into just about every meal. It’s been a fun challenge for me over the years to figure out all the ways I can do this. In fact, my first blog was born out of the concept.

I’m excited to share with you today 50 ways to sneak fruits and vegetables into your kids’ favorite foods.

Use pumpkin, sweet potato, or butternut squash puree these ways…

1. Make homemade Mac and Cheese with Sneaky Sweet Potato.

A better mac and cheese with sneaky sweet potato

2. Serve a Tropical Pumpkin Smoothie.

3. Make Sweet Potato French Toast.

Sweet Potato French Toast Recipe

4. Make Pumpkin French Toast.

pumpkin french toast

5. Add any of these purees into marinara sauce, and blend if needed. Start with a small amount and taste as you go, so you don’t add too much.

6. Make our favorite Pumpkin Banana Bread.

whole wheat banana pumpkin bread

7. Spread a little puree on a PB & J sandwich before adding peanut butter.

8. Spread a little puree on grilled cheese sandwich before adding the cheese.

9. Make Sweet Potato Biscuits. My kids request these often.

Sweet Potato Quick Biscuits

10. Make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. These are the most popular recipe on our site!

healthy pumpkin muffin

11. Stir 2-4 tablespoons of puree into Annie’s Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese sauce. I often blend the sauce in the blender and then pour it over the Mac, so there is no visible chunks. This makes for a nice yellow sauce that your kids will love.

12. Make Slow Cooker Easy Cheesy Mexican Chicken with sneaky butternut squash. It’s delish over brown rice!

Easy Cheesy Mexican Chicken - A delicious and healthy slow cooker recipe!

13. Use any of these purees in 5 Minute Chocolate Oatmeal.

14. Make Whole Wheat Chocolate Pumpkin Waffles.

healthy waffle recipe

15. Make Blueberry Pumpkin Baked French Toast.

healthy baked french toast recipe

16. Make Brownie Baked Oatmeal.

baked brownie oatmeal recipe

17. Make Pumpkin Protein Waffles.

Pumpkin Protein Waffles

18. Make Seriously Sweet Potato Pancakes.

Sweet Potato Pancakes recipe

19. Make Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes.

whole-wheat-pumpkin-pancakes

20. Add some puree into applesauce. Stir in cinnamon and your kids will never know.

Sneak in spinach or other greens these ways…

21. Make a Green Smoothie.

Green Smoothie Recipe

22. Chop spinach finely and add to cheesy scrambled eggs, an omelet or a frittata. My kids love it this way, especially if they get to help do the chopping! An easy way to do this is by making a super simple Oven Omelet (below).

Easy oven omelet recipe

23. Sprinkle finely chopped spinach or basil on top of pizza before or after baking. Or try making a Pizza Stromboli and adding whatever veggies you think your kids would like.

freezer friendly pizza stromboli recipe

24. Make Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups.

freezer meal spinach lasagna roll recipe

25. Make Baked Cheesy Spinach Tortellini.

Baked Cheesy Spinach Tortellini

26. Add a few small spinach or lettuce leaves to a Roll-Up. Here are some roll-up ideas. Chop finely and mix in with the cream cheese or hummus, if needed.

Turkey, Hummus, cheese, and spinach roll up

27. Using the blender, add in some spinach leaves to marinara or meat sauce. If you don’t overdo it, the color and taste won’t change.

Mom Hack: Sneak Spinach Into Meat Sauces

28. Make Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs.

Mini Chicken Burger with Herbs Recipe - Kid-friendly, healthy and tasty!

Use shredded zucchini or summer squash in these ways…

29. Make Zucchini Flaxseed Muffins.

Zucchini Flaxseed Muffins

30. Make this healthy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Squash (or Zucchini) Cake.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Squash Cake

31. Make Chocolate Zucchini Waffles.

Chocolate Waffle recipe with zucchini

32. Make easy Whole Grain Zucchini Pancakes.

whole grain zucchini pancakes recipe

Use fruit (like bananas, blueberries, etc) in these ways…

33. Make Baked Oatmeal with Fruit

healthy breakfast: baked oatmeal

34. Make Fruit Pizza Roll-Ups.

Fruit Pizza Roll-Ups recipe: An easy lunch for kids!

35. Make Banana Brownie Waffles.

banana brownie waffles

36. Make Banana Bites.

peanut butter dark chocolate banana bites

37. Make Flourless Banana Muffins.

Flourless Banana Muffin Recipe

38. Make Breakfast Cookies.

healthy breakfast cookies

39. Make Chicken and Apple Bites.

Chicken, Brown Rice, and Veggie Casserole

40. Make Chocolate Banana Muffins.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Pumpkin Banana Muffins

41. Make Copabanana Cake for breakfast, snack or dessert.

copabanana cake

42. Make Peanut Butter and Banana Baked Oatmeal for breakfast.

peanut butter baked oatmeal

43. Make Healthy Strawberry Shortcake for breakfast or dessert.

Healthy Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

44. Make a Power Breakfast Smoothie.

Power Breakfast Smoothies

Use avocado this way…

45. Make Chocomole (chocolate pudding make from avocado!).

46. Throw half of an avocado into a fruit smoothie. It doesn’t affect that taste at all and provides a creamy consistency.

Hide onions, carrots, and other veggies in…

47. Make Super Sloppy Joes. These are delish!

Super Sloppy Joes - A much healthier and tastier version of the canned stuff!

48. Make Meatball Subs (filled with Meatballs with Sneaky Veggies). This is our favorite sandwich!

healthy meatball sandwiches

49. Make Fried Rice with Sweet Soy Sauce. With the sweet sauce, it makes the veggies go down a lot smoother.

fried rice

50. Make Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes.

Salmon and sweet potato cakes copy

51. Make Slow Cooker Pot Roast and cut back on the seasoning so it’s not too spicy for the kids.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with no processed ingredients. Just real food that's really good!

Looking for more ways to include produce in your life? Check out this one…

50+ Delicious Recipes for Summer Produce

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Comments

  1. Pingback: 50 Easy Ways to Sneak Vegetables & Fruits Into Kid Favorite Foods

  2. Shonda says

    Thanks for all these new ideas and recipes! Yummy!

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  10. Wendy says

    I put frozen cauliflower in when boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes and no one even notices!

    • Rachel says

      I love that idea, Wendy!

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  12. Aman says

    My son 14 months is allergic to wheat and eggs. Can I substite wheat with say rice flour or chickpeas flour? What can I substitute eggs with?

    • Rachel says

      Aman, I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s allergies. I know it can be quite challenging to find healthy foods that don’t contain these ingredients. I don’t have a lot of experience subbing eggs, so I would google that. And I’ve mainly experimented with coconut flour and almond flour (both of which are delicious!) in baking as a non-wheat source. I would suggest checking out my friend, Kelly’s, blog over at The Nourishing Home (http://thenourishinghome.com/) for healthy, family-friendly, and wheat-free recipes.

    • Jill says

      You can sub eggs in most recipes with a flax egg… Buy ground flaxseed at the store. Mix one tbsp. ground flaxseed with three tbsp. water, let sit in the fridge to set for 15 minutes. Voila. :) My kids have a long list of food allergies and it is definitely do-able once you get used to it. I like the detoxinista blog, lot of allergy-friendly recipes. Check out the comments for each recipe, lots of substitutions mentioned there by readers. Good luck! ;)

    • Esther says

      We don’t do grains I like coconut flour, sub 1/4 for grain flours (very low allergy) or almond flour. And I agree with substituting flax eggs or chia seed (pseudo grain but has some health benefits)

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