I have to confess, I hide veggies in some of my kids’ favorite meals. I know I’m not alone on this one and some other moms face the same issue. We want to give our kids the best nutrition, but they might not always want to eat all their veggies.
And let me tell you, my kids are tweens and it’s still a problem! The only thing that has changed since they were young is the negotiation time. Now, it takes me longer to make them finish their dishes. So these are some of the ideas I’ve come up with to sneak veggies into their meals and stop the fighting.
Roasted Cauliflower Hummus
My kids are at the age when they think store-bought foods are cooler. My homemade hummus used to be a hit among them, but not anymore. So what do I do? I get them the best and cleanest hummus I can buy and blend it in a food processor with roasted cauliflower. This gives it a creamy, nutty flavor and makes it extra delicious.
- 1 (10-ounce) container store-bought hummus
- 1/2 a head of cauliflower
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Za’atar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Top cauliflower with EVOO and a pinch of salt. Place on a pan and roast for 10-13 minutes. Remove when the cauliflower edges start to brown.
- Mix the hummus and cauliflower in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until creamy.
- Serve with a drizzle of EVOO, a dash of salt, and some za’atar, if desired.
Broccoli Pesto Grilled Cheese
I had this thoughts: if we can make kids eat broccoli with cheddar cheese, why not include the broccoli in grilled cheese sandwiches? Well, they were a success!
Directions: I blend about a 1/4 of a small head of blanched broccoli with store-bought pesto, and make the cheddar grilled cheeses with it.
Hidden Green Ice Pops
This is my sneakiest trick! When the kids come back from school just before their activities, they’re always starving. They go through the pantry and fridge and want to eat everything they find that’s junky. I came up with the idea of mixing yogurt, blueberries, and greens into ice pops. They feel like treats but in reality, they’re packed with lots of nutrients.
- 2 1/2 cups yogurt
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup (or other sweetener)
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1-2 handfuls greens (such as kale)
- Ice pop mold
- Blend yogurt, sweetener, banana, and milk.
- Add to the ice pop molds filling about 1/3 of each.
- With what is left in the blender, mix in blueberries. Pour this mixture into the ice pops, again, just 1/3 of the mold.
- For the remanding mixture, blend greens, until well mixed. Finish filling up the ice pop molds. Freeze until firm, for about 3-4 hours. Enjoy!
Spaghetti and Mushroom Meatballs
It doesn’t matter if you make your meatballs with beef or a vegan version like rice and beans. If you add finely chopped mushrooms to them, you will greatly enhance the flavor and nutritional value.
Directions: To make it work and get the best flavor, sauté about 1 pound of mushrooms until tender with olive oil and a pinch of salt. When ready, pulse in the food processor until finely chopped, with some texture. Add to your meatball mixture as you wish. You could even go half meat, half mushroom mix.
Nachos with Cauliflower Cheese Sauce
This treat has given me the title of “coolest mom of the year!” When he comes home for an after-school snack, I offer up baked tortilla chips topped with nacho cheese sauce and secret ingredient, cauliflower. He gives me a hug AND a kiss!
Directions: I cook 1/2 a cauliflower head in boiling water until completely cooked and smooth. Then, I puree in a blender with some of the liquid I used to cook it and the nacho cheese sauce. I reheat and taste it for seasoning before adding to the chips. Adjust seasoning by adding more salt, some grated cheddar cheese (if needs), or a bit of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika for a kick. You could even blend some red bell peppers in. (This trick works best with homemade cheese sauce but it will work with your favorite brand as well.) To finish the nachos, I top everything with cubed avocado and chopped cilantro, plus some pickled jalapeño on the side.