If your kids don’t like spinach, then why try to feed them spinach? Why would you put yourself through the hassle of preparing the food and making it look great, only to have it turned down due to ingredient choices? Not only turned down, but probably causing a major upheaval at meal time. Make life easier on yourself and use recipes that you know they will love. There are better ways to get your family the nutritional balance of certain foods. No, I’m not above hiding foods to get that nutrition.
Depending on what you are trying to hide, there are certain techniques to disguise almost any food. Here are some possibilities:
Almost everyone loves pasta. Why not grate some carrots or finely dice a couple of mushrooms or green peppers into the sauce? The red color will hide any evidence of vegetables and the tomato taste will mask anything that is small enough. You can take this a step further and hide veggies easily in lasagna. I like to roast the veggies a little first so they don’t make the lasagna soggy. Dice up that spinach and hide it within the noodles quite easily.
Chili and soups are a great way to hide vegetables. Take a chicken noodle soup and experiment with adding different vegetables to see which one your child likes the best. Chili is a giant mix and match of ingredients, so adding another one to the mix is no big deal.
Any ground meat is begging for some veggies. Mix some shredded carrots, squash or beets into a hamburger or meatball for some added nutrition and also some extra moist meat. It is amazing what a little well-ground vegetable can do to even the driest hamburger.
Pizza is a win-win situation for kids and parents. Kids love to eat it and parents love to hide vegetables within its gooey goodness. Take a little of the tomato sauce described above as well as some finely chopped veggies under a layer of melted cheese and you have a slice of pie that is as nutritionally dense as a full salad, not to mention a winner for everyone.
When all else fails, you will be surprised how far raw veggies with a little dip will get you. There are numerous children, and adults too, who strongly dislike cooked vegetables, but when offered a veggie tray, will devour it in a second. A simple rule is, offer the veggies as-is first to see the initial reaction, then try incorporating them into different foods.
To get some grains into your family, try making grilled cheese with whole grain bread. They will adapt quite easily to the new texture when it’s ooey-gooey with cheese. Another possibility is making toast with wheat bread. The color will be masked when the bread is toasted or grilled and who doesn’t love bread smothered with butter and jelly or with a piece of melted cheese slapped in between.
There is no child that will refuse to eat his or her own baked goods. By letting your little one participates when it comes to baking and throwing in a few whole grains, some unbleached flour and some dried fruit. The kids will have a blast making and then devouring their creation.
No matter what you choose, try and keep the recipes simple. While incorporating different fruits and veggies in, to see what your family prefers. Maybe they like softer vegetables or those cooked with butter and brown sugar. The point is you will never know until you start trying, and there is no better time to start than the present.
Never worry about what's for dinner again. I've got you covered with the meal plans in the Once a Week Cooking Club. Cook once, eat all week.
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