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Creative, fun, and sneaky recipes for helping your pickiest eaters eat more fruits and vegetables each day. Here’s how to hide veggies in food to help bolster your child’s nutrition.
My Family Feeding Philosophy
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 in a neutral way (source) 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 hide fruits and veggies in all kinds of food. It’s been a fun challenge for me over the years to figure out all the ways I can do this.
How to Hide Veggies in Food
Here are some ideas and recipes that have worked for me to sneak veggies and fruit into meals…
Tip #1: Take advantage of baked goods.
What kid doesn’t love muffins, sweet bread, or cookies? 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.
Chocolate Banana Muffins
These Chocolate Banana Muffins are not only moist and delicious, but they are packed with sneaky nutrition. They are a kid-favorite and freeze beautifully. Serve as an easy, make-ahead healthy snack or breakfast.
Banana Breakfast Cookies
Banana Breakfast Cookies are jam-packed with nutrition and flavor. All ages love them, and they make a great grab-and-go breakfast. Double the recipe so you can stock the freezer with them!
Blueberry Avocado 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 popular from our cookbook, From Freezer to Table.
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
These healthy Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins are one of the best ways to use up zucchini and eat some sneaky veggies. They turn out moist and decadent but are filled with all real food ingredients you can feel good about. Kids and adults love these for breakfast, snack, or dessert.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
These healthier Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are moist, sweet, and absolutely delicious for breakfast, snacks, or dessert. Plus, you can make a big batch and freeze them for later using our instructions.
Blueberry Banana Bread
This recipe for Blueberry Banana Bread is a classic sweet bread with a healthy twist. It’s the perfect breakfast, snack, or even dessert option and can be frozen for later use!
Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
These healthy, whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins are YUMMO. Seriously. Don’t let the whole wheat factor make you think they are going to be compromised. 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.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Crumble Topping
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. Imagine all the delicious flavors of autumn packed into a fluffy, moist, nutritious muffin. The sweet and slightly crunchy crumble topping takes these to the next level.
Make Ahead Banana Breakfast Cake
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.
Banana Pumpkin Bread or Muffins
Whether your kid wants sweet bread or muffin, this real food recipe delivers great taste and some extra pumpkin and banana into their diet. It is moist, nutritious, and delicious. I’ve been making this recipe for years!
Chocolate Sweet Potato Bread
Ah, sweet breads. Forgiver of all added-in leftovers and hidden fruits and veggies. Your family is going to love this pretty darn healthy Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread!
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies
Zucchini for breakfast!? Yep. And bananas, oats, and nut butter, too. All in one transportable, super nutritious, tasty COOKIE. Cookies + chocolate chips = you can hide zucchini in it.
Sweet Potato Quick Biscuits
Discover the perfect blend of comfort and flavor with these heavenly Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Biscuits. They are perfectly moist, made with a tender crumbly texture, and have a subtle sweetness that takes a classic biscuit recipe to the next level.
Tip #2: Sneak finely chopped or pureed veggies and fruits into kid faves.
Healthy Mac and Cheese (with Sneaky Sweet Potato)
Finally! A healthy mac & cheese recipe that your whole family will love. From added sweet potato to less fat and more fiber, this more nutritious baked pasta is STILL creamy and comforting. Easy to make gluten-free and freezing instructions included!
Our Cheese Calzone recipe is simply the best! This portable pizza pocket has been tested over and over and is made with a blend of creamy ricotta, gooey mozzarella, and savory Parmesan cheese. In case they aren’t devoured on the spot (doubtful!), we’ve also included freezing instructions.
Or try our Pepperoni Calzones instead.
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. Pro Tip: Take your own grilled cheese up a notch with our Gourmet Grilled Cheese!
Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs
I’ve been making these Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs for well over a decade now. In fact, my Freezer Club deemed them a “home run” recipe and it became one that we made for our group several times per year! Which means kids and adults both loved them.
A fun way to eat your veggies, this Broccoli Bites recipe works as a side dish at dinner or a quick and healthy breakfast in the morning! Only 6 main ingredients needed. Be sure to make extras and freeze for later using our instructions.
Super Sloppy Joes
This homemade, veggie-rich Sloppy Joe recipe with a tangy-sweet tomato sauce is a family favorite. They truly are SUPER!
Here’s a twist on your average meatloaf recipe: Meatloaf Muffins! Prep ahead for healthy lunches, whip up for a quick dinner, and even make a double batch so you can freeze one for later. All ages love this meal!
Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes
These salmon and sweet potato cakes are packed with nutrition and flavor! Enjoy them as a sandwich or a la carte. I love them because they are super nutritious, my kids will actually eat them(!), and they freeze nicely so I can make a big batch for later. Don’t worry, there’s no fishy-ness in these cakes.
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.
Spinach Lasagna Rolls
Spinach Lasagna Rolls are individual vegetarian lasagnas filled with a mix of cheeses, marinara, and spinach. You can put cooked chicken in the spinach lasagna rolls if you want to add in more protein. Either way, they make a nutritious and delicious family dinner.
Potato Corn Chowder
This chowder is full of vegetables, yet has a creamy, richness thanks to a bit of crispy bacon, milk, and freshly shredded cheddar. This soup is easy to assemble and the leftovers can be easily frozen. A one pot comfort food that you’ll be making all winter long!
Cheesy Chive Burgers
There’s nothing quite like a big juicy homemade burger, eh? The fresh herbs and shredded cheese inside these patties take them over the top in taste and texture.
4-Ingredient Baked Tortellini
Need a super easy 4-ingredient dish for dinner that everyone will love? Baked Tortellini (with sneaky spinach to up the nutrition) is it. This comforting casserole is the perfect weeknight meal!
Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole
This chicken and rice casserole is healthier than most–filled with veggies, brown rice, and chicken–but still creamy, cheesy, and comforting!
English Muffin Pizzas
These English Muffin Pizzas are something all ages enjoy. They are freezer-friendly and can be customized so easily! An easy, healthy twist on pizza that kids love.
Tip: Finely chop any veggies for these pizzas and cover them with cheese.
Tip #4: Work fruits and veggies into tasty breakfast foods.
Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
This baked oatmeal with vanilla glaze has it all. It’s healthy, easy, freezable, and delicious. It’s also gluten-free & dairy-free! I feel great about filling my family’s tummies with this first thing in the morning.
Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal (With Chocolate Chips)
Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal is a wholesome, warm, comforting breakfast for any day of the week. Kids love the sweetness and chocolate chips; parents love the sneaky pumpkin and other healthy ingredients. I feel great about filling my family’s tummies with this first thing in the morning.
Cheddar Chive Egg Bites
Want a high protein, low carb, on-the-go breakfast option that will keep you satisfied all morning? These are the perfect solution for a healthy breakfast on busy weekdays.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles
These healthier pumpkin waffles are delicious year-round but especially in the fall! Made with whole wheat flour and pumpkin puree, they make for a nutritious breakfast. We recommend doubling this recipe, so you can freeze a batch to use throughout the week.
Banana Baked Oatmeal
Looking for a delicious and healthy breakfast option? Look no further than this tasty Banana Baked Oatmeal recipe! Made with ripe bananas, oats, peanut butter and a handful of other simple ingredients, this freezer-friendly dish is the perfect way to start your day.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
These pancakes are a part of our family’s regular breakfast rotation for good reason. They have sneaky vegetables (i.e. pumpkin this time) and 100% whole grain in them but retain their light, fluffy texture.
Chocolate Zucchini Waffles
Indulge in the rich, chocolatey goodness of these whole wheat Zucchini Waffles that are the perfect combination of healthy and delicious. These waffles are made with wholesome ingredients like fresh zucchini, white whole wheat flour, and coconut oil. They are perfect for a sweet breakfast or brunch treat.
Pumpkin French Toast
Pumpkin French Toast is such a nutritious and hearty way to start your day. Like most of our easy breakfast recipes, we’ve included instructions for how to make french toast as an easy make ahead freezer meal. Plus, you are sneaking in extra nutrition to a kid’s favorite breakfast.
Brownie Baked Oatmeal
Brownie Baked Oatmeal tastes and looks like dessert…but it’s actually a fairly healthy breakfast (or lunch or dinner or snack). This recipe is a fan favorite!
These crowd-pleaser whole grain zucchini pancakes pack a yummy punch. The zucchini adds nutrition that even the pickiest kid won’t taste. They come together fast and are easy to freeze for busy mornings.
Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
This Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal is hearty, healthy, delicious, and fairly adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand. Plus, leftovers keep well in the fridge for several days. Serve it up as a tasty start to your day or as a “breakfast-for-dinner”, along with bacon and a fruit salad.
Tip #5: Make the food fun!
Fruit Pizza Roll-Ups
Healthy fruit pizza roll ups are a kid favorite! Top them with your favorite fruit, roll them up, and drizzle some honey on top. Delicious!
You may associate a Banana Boat with the s’mores version that’s filled with marshmallows and chocolate. But, our version is a healthy, quick snack that the kids can make for themselves. Great for after school or when you have the mid-afternoon munchies.
Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Banana Bites
The perfect fix for that afternoon sweet tooth: Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Banana Bites! These easy-peasy banana snacks are a kid fave and come together quickly.
Ghost Bananas or Orange Pumpkins
Fun, healthier Halloween treats!
Breakfast Cereal Parfait
This easy breakfast idea packs in fruits, whole grains, and yogurt for a healthy and delicious start to the day. Not to mention, it’s fun!
Bonus: 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.