Sneaky Vegetable recipes for kids are a great way to increase their daily intake as most are a long way off their recommended daily serves. 2-8 year olds need 2 1/2 serves of vegetables daily, 9-18 year olds need 5- 5/12 serves of vegetables a day. That’s no small feat for picky eaters. That’s in addition to daily fruit intake, and remember potato should not be counted as a vegetable serve due to it’s high starch content, I always use it instead of other starchy carbohydrates such as rice or pasta.
Its always great to present chopped up vegetables to your kids at meal times. But whilst they are still learning how to eat them and the quantities are quite small, you will want to try and get as many vegetables as possible into their daily diets. I like grating up zucchini, cauliflower and carrot in as many baked goods as possible. It helps to peel the zucchini first if your child is still very anti green 🙂
If you haven’t already read my post on ways to get your kids to eat vegetables, it’s worth a read here https://nourishe.com.au/turn-that-veggie-frown-upside-down/
Click on each header for the recipe:
Carrot Zucchini Mini Muffins I always use wholemeal flour now and the kids can’t tell the difference, but it makes me feel a lot better that they’re getting that much more goodness. Carrots will supply an excellent source of Vitamin A for vision, bone growth and to help your kids fight infections. They also supply a decent amount of Vitamin C which is necessary for your kids to build a healthy immune system, repair red blood cells, bones and tissues and increase iron absorption. Zucchini is another wonderful source of Vitamin C as well as Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is really important for your kids for the continuous release of energy from food, the production of red blood cells, a healthy immune system and for energy metabolism. Your kids need a continual supply of Vitamin B6 in their diet as their bodies can’t keep long term stores (it’s water soluble).
NOTE*As to the choice of maple syrup or honey see my post comparing the two, for children I would lean towards maple syrup as it contains less calories and sugar, more minerals, a only a negligible amount of fat. It has less vitamins but you are supplying those in the carrot and zucchini).
Parsnip Fries are a great replacement for french fries. You can leave out the rosemary if your kids aren’t into herbs (although as a side note I find that my kids will eat herbs more readily than vegetables, so it’s worth trying… I also sneak a lot of spinach into their meals and say it’s a herb). Parsnips are a great alternative to potato and provide a wonderful source of dietary fibre. One 100 g root of parsnip provides 4.9 mg or 13% of fiber. They contain a lot of antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-cancer properties. Just like potato they are another great source of Vitamin C, again great for your kids tissues, teeth, and gums and wonderful antioxidant and immunity boosters as well as increasing iron absorption. Parsnips are also rich in B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, B6, Thiamine, and also vitamins K and E. Finally they also have healthy levels of minerals like iron, calcium, copper, potassium, manganese and phosphorus. Potassium is important for controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering the effects of sodium which can be high in a lot of kids diets.
Sweet Potato Chips are a great alternative to potato chips or crisps as they are known elsewhere in the world. I’ve found that the pickiest of kids will still eat Sweet potato and the good news is that it’s great for you. Sweet potato are a low GI so their energy is released slowly into your blood stream resulting in a balanced energy level without spikes. For this reason alone I prefer them to potato for our kids. They have a ridiculous amount of Vitamin A and carotenoids for vision, bone growth and infection fighting properties. They are jam packed full of dietary fibre, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. They also contain Vitamin D, particularly important during winter or for kids in indoor childcare all day when they aren’t getting enough sunlight. They contain iron, magnesium the anti stress and relaxation mineral, and potassium which again helps counter the effects of sodium intake. Remember, they are still covered in oil so they’re a healthy snack not a regular meal substitute.
One Ingredient Mango Rollup technically not a vegetable but a fruit recipe. Given the ONLY ingredient is mango you can’t beat these for lunchbox alternatives to the packet bought, additive and sugar loaded, variety. And what a great activity for your kids if they like to help you bake.
Zucchini Banana bread Recipe I use wholemeal flour, replace the butter with avocado or sunflower oil, and tend to peel the zucchini first so they don’t look AS green. After my kids declare how delicious anything is that contains zucchini, I always tell them that it was an ingredient so that they can appreciate that vegetables don’t actually taste bad. They now equate zucchini to a vegetable that they can live with in their baked treats/ pasta etc. I feel that without too much ‘hiding’ you aren’t then shaming the vegetables to the bottom of the pecking order. After all, hiding a vegetable is just a way to get them to eat the goodness up the first time so they’ll try it again, rather than pretending it’s not there at all.
Baked Cauliflower Fingers I always replace parmesan cheese with regular cheese for kids. Parmesan contains a high level of free glutamate which is known to cause some kids nervous systems to over fire making them quite hyperactive. If your kid tends to get over excited and can’t sleep or wets their bed after parmesan cheese, fish stock, chicken or any bone stock, soy sauce etc it could well be the free glutamate content. This has the same effect of MSG (sodium glutamate) and can cause my sons hands to shake, have nightmares, bedwetting, burning feet, restless legs. I myself get terrible restless leg syndrome after eating foods high in free glutamate. Now onto cauliflower. It might look like a nothing kind of vegetable but it has a ridiculously high amount of Vitamin C (so in addition to a healthy immune system it will assist in their iron absorption) and it’s low GI. perfect for kids!
Cheesy Broccoli Bites Progress to the green once you have persuaded them above that vegetables blended into their food is ok. Again I replace the parmesan with normal cheese finely grated and half the amount. This one works well with zucchini or any vegetable. If you use broccoli try to cut as much of the stalk as possible as it can tend to give them bad wind. Broccoli is an excellent source of Fibre, Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
Healthy Baked Broccoli Tots once they are really getting into the ‘green is ok’ as long as it’s mixed into something gig, you should try these. It’s a nice way for them to appreciate broccoli without eating straight out broccoli. Also I’m of the view that a little tomato sauce (it’s high in sugar) is ok with their vegetables if it means they will actually eat some.
Photo Credit: www.superhealthykids.com