Do you have vegetable haters in your house hold? By Hannah Sweetnam

Vegetables are an essential part of every healthy diet, especially for the growing minds and bodies of children. However getting them to eat enough and try new varieties can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, so here are a few tips to make this a bit easier and save your sanity a little.

Sneaking them into their favourite meals is a great way to boost their intake for the day, so here are a few meal ideas that can easily disguise new fruit and vegetables that your children may otherwise be a bit funny about trying.

Spaghetti: Whether it be a creamy based or tomato based sauce, this is a great opportunity to add some veggie substance. Some children will pull out the grated or chopped vegetables from the sauce, so try pureeing them so they mix in well and the children will never know. Start with a small amount (1/4 cup) so there isn’t a big difference in flavour, usually they won’t notice a small change in flavour. Zucchini is a great one to try first as it doesn’t have a strong flavour.

Lasagna: another great way to incorporate pureed vegetables, you could even try thin slices of sweet potato instead of pasta. This pureed vegetables trick can be adapted to any hot meal really, including casseroles, soups and mild curries.

Meat with vegetables: try adding a little bit of honey to vegetables such as carrots or zucchini when baking or a small amount of cheese sauce to vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli to cut through the taste.

Stir fry: made with a sauce that the children think taste great can be a strategic way to get them to eat vegetables without having to disguise them too much. A lot of the time the flavour of the sauce is enough to win them over. Try adding a range of different coloured vegetables to make for a nice vibrant meal.

 Frittata: not only is this a great source of protein for growing children, it is also another great opportunity to hide grated and chopped vegetables. Depending on the age, mini frittatas are great finger food and are fun to eat. Try roasting the vegetables first before adding them.

 Sweets and desserts: can also be a great opportunity to add vegetables. Give these a try and see if they notice the added ingredients:

  • Zucchini brownies

  • Eggplant brownies

  • Carrot cake

  • Banana and pumpkin bread

  • Chocolate and beetroot cupcakes

  • Pumpkin pancakes

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