Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Veggies Our Kids Don't Know They're Eating

Our picky eaters make mealtimes a challenge sometimes. 

It wasn't always a problem though. Back in our macaroni-and-cheese with hotdogs days, they had no arguement with what I served. White bread, sugary cereals, and meals from a box. What's not to like? 

But as I've been changing us over to a more healthy diet, it's become difficult to get them to eat vegetables. They refuse to try anything other than that ONE they'll eat. (however begrudgingly) One of our kids won't eat fruit either. 

It's been a year or two, and we're finally off of white bread and white flour. I just recently stopped buying boxed breakfast cereals. And they're okay with the brown bread, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs for breakfast. But the veggies (and fruit and nuts and seeds) are a no-go.

So I've had to get creative.  And sneaky.  I hide those veggies in anything that I can. Sure, I put some in their plate, and on pizza, just to keep it in front of them and thinking about it as a healthy option. But mostly, they don't know they're already eating it.  (Until I tell them afterward at least!) 

Here are a few sneaky ways I feed them veggies, legumes, seeds and fruit: 

Tomato Sauce:
I puree the sauce with mixed beans, lentils and even add some spinach or kale (or both). (I also add a bit of seasoning as needed to mask the kale/bean taste).
Uses: pizza sauce, meat sauce for pasta, tomato sauce in casseroles/lasagnes

Meatballs / Burgers:
I add pureed beans/lentils to the ground beef before mixing. I added too much the first time (40% beans), and it ended up tasting a little dry, but we'll tweak it and try again. A vegan friend gave me some great advice: when replacing meat with alternatives (like beans), making it TASTE like meat is important. So I add BBQ sauce and taco seasoning when using beans in  meat dishes. Works great!

Larabars and Cookies: 
There are a few sites listed below that offer some TASTY desserts that have little to no sugar, yet taste like chocolate. Magical, AND HEALTHY snacks and desserts!? All natural, all veggie/legume, no sugar, and pure yum. 

The kids didn't mind these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Truffles (Made from chic peas!!!)  (here's a recipe for baked ones I'd like to try)
And they also enjoyed this Fudge Larabar recipe that really does taste like chocolate. (and it's just fruit and nuts!!! Crazy) (though mine look smoother and more uniform than hers... which is good for my texture-fussy family)

I'm still working to get veggies into them (and reduce sugar). Actually, I'm working on that for me too :) 

How do you feed veggies to your picky eaters?


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