Sneaky Veg: Recipe Ideas for Picky Eaters

13 July 2017, Tanya Perdikou

So they think they don’t like vegetables?

Remember the good old days of five a day? Those heady times where the mid-morning carrot sticks, lunch piece of fruit and sides at dinner could just about cover the full fruit and vegetable requirements? Somehow that doubled overnight, and now experts recommend ten a day.

If you’re struggling to get your little ones to look an avocado in the eye, don’t despair. Here’re our tips for smuggling vegetables into their diet without them even knowing.

Let them eat cake?

There are an increasing number of tasty, healthier recipes for veg-based baking around. These cupcakes are low in sugar and contain both carrot and courgette. Or you could rustle up these muffins with blueberries and beetroot.

Pumpkin is naturally sweet and works really well in cakes – here’s a healthy recipe with cream cheese frosting.

Blend, my friend

Four essentials your blender can help with: smoothies, soups, dips and sauces.

Smoothies are a great way to pack in a huge variety of fruit and veg. Slip some carrot in with your orange, pineapple and banana smoothie and there’s no way they’ll notice. Spinach and cucumber are also easily disguised by pear, apple, guava, lime and mint.

The other ideal dish for sneaking in variety is soup. This recipe for lentil soup includes five types of vegetable. Likewise this tomato soup recipe has five vegetables in it (sadly, potato doesn’t count; sweet potato does though!).

Here’s a great homemade rocket pesto which includes broccoli, and as it is vegan misses out the parmesan which can be heavy on the wallet here in Thailand. Boost the veg levels by adding some garlic. Then there’s the option of spiralising some courgettes to mix into your pesto-pasta dish.

For dipping, you can’t beat hummus. Of course there’s already a healthy helping of garlic, but this list of kid-friendly recipes includes options with spinach or sun dried tomato. Red pepper is another great option for blending into it. Prepare cucumber sticks, or veg crisps, for dipping in it.

Veg up your mac’n’cheese

Mac’n’cheese makes the perfect getaway vehicle for your vegetable schemes. There’s the obvious techniques – adding some spinach, peas or cauliflower to the sauce when you’re mixing it all up. Or if they’re wise to this and pick the veg out try pureed cauliflower or sweet potato. This mum is master of disguise and sneaks three veggies into her macaroni.

The old classics

Don’t forget the kids’ favourites that count towards ten a day. Both baked beans and tinned spaghetti count as one portion thanks to their tomato content, but they can be high in salt and sugar so it’s important not to rely on them. A surprise contender is popcorn which is high in antioxidants. Preparing it at home means you can limit the sugar, salt and oil content. Parsnip, carrot and beetroot crisps count too – a cupboard stash of these might be helpful for when you’ve run out of fresh veg for the kids to snack on.

Enjoy preparing and eating your ten a day – hopefully the variety will help you discover some delicious new, healthy recipes.

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