Thursday, 31 May 2012

Ideas for getting kids to eat vegetables

It is a universal parenting truth that at some point in their lives kids realise that they aren't supposed to like veggies. All of a sudden your little darling who used to devour pumpkin, beans and mushroom all pureed together won't even eat sliced tomato.

At various times all my kids and step-kids have disliked veggies. Princess is being particularly painful about it at the moment.

I have pretty high expectations of  their veggie consumption so here are a few tricks that I have come up with to make sure they eat even just a little bit

Please post any tricks that you have in the comments section. The more veggies the merrier!!

Hide them: Well-cooked, pureed veggies can be hidden in most things, just choose a mild flavoured vegetable like pumpkin or sweet potato, steam well, puree and add them to your favourite recipe.

If you are making a curry or spagetti bolognaise you can add peeled and grated eggplant, pumpkin or sweet potato and then simmer it for a long time. The veggies will decompose and just become part of the sauce.

One of my favourite versions of this involves cheese sauce - cut some florets of cauliflower and thoroughly peel a zucchini (there should be no green left at all), steam them both until they are very soft and then puree them well. Add to cheese sauce when making lasange or macaroni cheese. No one will ever know. 

Frozen peas: If Wild Man is hungry in the lead up to dinner I often let him have a little cup of frozen peas, still frozen. He loves them and eats heaps.

Grated or finely diced onion: It counts as a veggie but your kids probably won't think of it take way. Same with tinned tomatoes.

Meatloaf or rissoles: I include half a zuccini, two carrots and half an onion when I make meatloaf. I grate them all as finely as possible and mix them in with the mince. When the big boys were in their anti-veggie phase I would act as though there were no veggies in the meatloaf and encourage them to eat some salad too.

Mushrooms added to taco mince: Finely diced mushrooms are undetectable in taco mince. I only use two thirds of the beef mince I used to use when making tacos or burritos and I make the rest up with very finely diced mushrooms. Seriously, the taco flavouring means no one can tell the difference (and most of my kids HATE mushrooms).

Creamed corn: If you are making scrambled eggs or an omlete add a tablespoon or two of creamed corn. The corn is the same colour as the yolk and the kids will never know. My Mum also used to make corn fritters using creamed corn, just make a savoury pikelet batter and add a couple of tablespoons of creamed corn.

Baked beans on pizza: If you are making pizza or cheese on toast for the kids use mashed baked beans instead of tomato paste. They have more fibre and less sugar.

Tofu mince: OK, this isn't exactly a veggie but if your child is all about meat and carbs it might provide an alternative. I just make it into spagetti bolognaise sauce and none of my family can tell the difference (yes, I did run an experiment to see if my meat-loving stepsons would notice and they didn't).

A volcano: Sometimes I make Wild Man a 'volcano' for dinner. It is often made of meatballs on the bottom but if can be whatever you like. The important part is the lava on the top which is made of diced tomato, grated carrot and grated cheese all mixed together.

A herb garden: Grow some parsley in a pot and encourage your kids to grab a handful when they are playing outside (or perhaps forbid them from eating them, whichever works!). Weirdly, for Wild Man and Princess this has worked so well that they can regularly be found eating handfuls of basil and corriander!

Do your kids eat veggies? And if not, what have you done to try and hide them?


  1. Stop it - you are making me hungry!!!!
    Jamie Oliver has the most fab lasagne recipe - in it he states that the family won't realise they are eating a vegetarian dish - they will think it is mince. He was right. It was beautiful - full of veges and the family honestly thought it was mince - hee hee - and I still continue to let them think that.

    1. It's suprisingly satisfying when you fool them, isn't it. I love it!
      I'll check out the Jamie Oliver recipe - my little boy picks the veggies out of my current lasagne recipe which is profoundly irritating.

  2. When Hughie was little he would eat NOTHING but pasta, chicken nuggets and chocoate mousse.
    I used to mash pumpkin and hide it in the chocolate mousse... that worked for a while, and then we gave him ravioli - he loved the beef ones ONLY (and spat out any others) but sometimes you could find identical size and shaped ones that were vegetable and mix them together in the cooking water so he really couldn't tell, and then I found that if I engaged him in dinner conversation he could be tricked into eating a few of them...


    he has gradually grown out of it...

    1. That's hilarious!! Little Hugh ... so naughty. And Mums are SO devious about veggies!!!
      One of my friends has a recipe for the most delicious chocolate cake, and it includes 2 grated zucchinis. Amazing x


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