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Creative, fun, and sneaky ideas and recipes for helping your kids eat more fruits and vegetables each day.
I’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.
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.
Here are some ideas and recipes that have worked for me…
Tip #1: Take advantage of baked goods.
What kid doesn’t love a muffin, a sweet bread, or a cookie? Baked goods are a fantastic way to sneak in extra fruits and veggies, plus you can bake, cool, and freeze them to have on hand anytime. Try some of these favorites.
I have found that these are a great way to use up ripe bananas or cooked sweet potato. You can always toss either of those items in the freezer until you want to make these muffins.
The avocado is virtually tasteless and replaces the oil and butter that is usually found in muffins. To hide the hint of green that might throw a picky eater off, simply add the sweet and zesty crumble topping. These are a popular recipe in our cookbook,From Freezer to Table.
This was the first muffin recipe on Thriving Home! I still make this recipe 10 years later, especially when zucchini is in season. There are lots of tips and tricks in this article, so be sure to hop over and read up.
The mini chocolate chips will take care of your taste buds while the other parts of your body will be thanking you for the healthy ingredients. All ages in my family liked them, and I think yours will, too. I use these silicone muffins liners for this recipe every time.
This is probably one of my favorite pumpkin recipes to date. Since canned pumpkin is always in stock, you don’t have to wait until fall weather hits to make this one. I like that this recipe uses up a whole can of pumpkin, too. They are SO good!
Tip #1: Call something “cake”. Tip #2: Put mini chocolate chips in said “cake”. My kids request this much healthier “cake” regularly. It includes pumpkin, banana, and whole wheat flour, among other nutritious ingredients.
Whether your kid wants a sweet bread or muffin, this real food recipe delivers great taste and some extra pumpkin and banana into their diet. I’ve been making this recipe for years!
This sweet bread is a reader favorite! Believe it or not, you’ll be sneaking in some sweet potato (or sub pumpkin puree).
Cookies + chocolate chips = you can hide zucchini in it.
Tip #2: Sneak finely chopped or pureed veggies and fruits into kid faves.
Here’s another fun way to add sweet potato to your little one’s diet. The blender is key to getting it pureed into the cheese sauce.
These are highly requested around our house. Add in finely chopped baby spinach or any other veggie your child likes. The cheese and sauce will do the trick to hide it.
Tomato Bisque with a Grilled Cheese
My kids request this soup regularly, especially if I make grilled cheese for dipping. There are SO many pureed veggies in this bisque! Try passing it off as a dipping sauce to begin with, if your child turns his/her nose up at soup.
Tip #3: Cheese covers a multitude of sins, I mean veggies.
Each of these recipes incorporates cheese (and sometimes bacon and cream, if I’m being honest) which takes the edge off almost any veggie.
Mix in fresh chopped herbs and shredded cheese to ground beef for a kid fave.
Baked Cheese Tortellini (with sneaky spinach)
Tip: Finely chop any veggies for these pizzas and cover them with cheese.
Tip #4: Work fruits and veggies into tasty breakfast foods.
Tip #5: Make the food fun!
Fun, healthier Halloween treats!
Tip #6: Smoothies for the Win
Many kids enjoy smoothies and they are a great way to sneak in virtually tasteless veggies (and of course lots of fruit). Try one of these delicious flavor combos. Use some fun straws like these to make them even more attractive.