15 Recipe Hacks to Hide Veggies and Help Kids Get Their Daily Servings
Vegetables are colorful, delicious, and healthy, but in the eyes of a child (and to be honest, most adults), they’re not always as satisfying as a bowl of creamy vegan mac and cheese or a rich, chocolatey brownie. Luckily for health-conscious parents who want their young ones to enjoy what’s on their plates, eating vegan can mean eating delicious foods (like mac and cheese or brownies) while eating vegetables. Yes, that’s right! Here are our favorite hacks to get picky eaters all the servings of veggies they need without raising any suspicion that they’re not eating from the typical kids menu.
Classic Dishes With Hidden Veggies
Now, we’d never bash potatoes for not being nutritious (since they’re loaded with potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and complex carbs), but we would mash them up with some cauliflower and cashews to make them even more nourishing. ?
The cashews make it creamy, the onions make it savory, and the butternut squash makes it look like pure liquid gold.
This sauce is made with onions, leeks, carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, and tomatoes, but it looks just like a classic marinara. Bonus points if you can get away with using chickpea pasta, zoodles, or spaghetti squash for the noodles.
Fruit Smoothies With Sneaky Greens
The key to making delicious smoothies is using frozen fruits instead of ice. The key to getting kids to eat green smoothies is telling them they’re slime-flavored. ?
This smoothie may not be the color of liquid salad, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have leafy greens—they’re just well hidden.
If your kiddo isn’t a big fan of bananas, try this banana-free recipe! The Medjool dates, mango chunks, and avocado make this smoothie just as creamy as a typical banana-based one, and your youngin’ will have no idea it also contains spinach.
Veggies Hiding in Desserts? Welcome to the Future
Zucchini slips totally under the radar in these sweet, moist muffins! And if you want to toss in some vegan chocolate chips, we’re sure no one will complain.
Try this recipe for all the health benefits of black beans and tastiness of chocolate—and none of the support for the egg industry and its confining and killing of hens.
Creamy Sauces Packed With Goodness
Not only can you make delicious Alfredo without supporting the forced artificial insemination of female cows, you can even make it without using any vegan cheese or butter! This healthy yet heavenly recipe calls for loads of cauliflower and just a bit of oil, so you can feel good about loading the creamy, flavorful sauce onto your fettuccini.
Dare we say this pesto is the besto? Well, we do, because it’s made with spinach and avocado and no one will be the wiser.
Dips So Good, Kids Forget Veggies Are the Vehicle
Made with potatoes and carrots, this queso is super-creamy—and the best part is that it doesn’t contain dairy, which comes from farms where farmers take mother cows’ babies away from them.
If your kids like peanut butter, they’ll love dipping sliced carrots, tofu, bell pepper, and maybe even raw broccoli into this sweet and tangy Thai-style dip.
OK, so you wouldn’t dip veggies in this, but making sure your kids get their daily servings of fruit is just as important—and this dip makes eating apples, bananas, and pears fun!
Veggies in the Form of Chips and Fries
Potato chips who? Nutritional yeast, cashews, and sunflower seeds are full of healthy vitamins and nutrients, and did we mention there’s kale in these crispy baked treats, too?
© Minimalist Baker
We’ve all heard of sweet potato fries, but carrot fries deserve their time in the spotlight, too, because they’re possibly even healthier and they taste great!
These recipes are delicious and healthy for adults and kids alike, but remember that kids aren’t innately averse to vegetables—the more diverse foods you give them to try, the less picky they’ll learn to be. And while eating veggies is important, it can be equally important to throw caution to the wind sometimes. Does your little one have a sweet tooth?