Parenting Confession Time…I’m not big on vegetables! I eat a select few but I need to do BETTER in this area! And when I say better I mean we need an overhaul in the vegetable department. Which is crazy because my husband and I often eat meatless meals but since we don’t eat a big variety of them then the meatless meals start to rotate too frequently and we go back to eating meat. The bad part in all of this is we have passed it on to our children.
If your child won’t eat vegetables, don’t panic. There are ways to get your child to eat vegetables without them even realizing they are doing so. These tricks to disguise vegetables in favorite everyday meals have been known to get vegetables into grown-up kids too.
Super Spaghetti With Vegetables
You’d have to go a long way to find a child who doesn’t like spaghetti. You can transform your spaghetti into a vitamin-packed super-spag without your child suspecting a thing. When frying your onions and garlic, try adding some finely chopped carrot, or spinach. In the later stages of cooking, add a selection of sliced or diced mushrooms, sweet pepper, or whatever you have on hand.
Spaghetti is the BEST when it comes to adding hidden vegetables. I have an electronic chopper and I usually chop the vegetables until they’re in puree form and add them to the sauce! This works like a charm each time! Usually sweet peppers and spinach are my go to’s for adding to my sauce!
Fruity Smoothies for Breakfast
If your children aren’t in the habit of eating breakfast, you might have more luck by offering them a smoothie. Kids will enjoy the novelty of having something different for breakfast and are sure to like the idea of swapping toast and cereal for something that looks like a milkshake.
For maximum effect, ask your child to choose which fruits they want when you go shopping and get them to help you to make it, too. Aim for a variety of fruits such as strawberries, bananas, apples, and blueberries. You can help your child to learn about where their food comes from by buying fruits that are in season.
Emma and DJ eat breakfast daily so usually when we make smoothies for ourselves, we make them some too. Or even when we stop to get smoothies we buy an adult small and split it between the two of them.
Many children will turn their nose up when a bowl of vegetable soup is placed in front of them, but you can easily turn it into something they’ll find a lot more appetizing. You can put whatever you like into your soup to make sure that your child gets all the goodness of a variety of vegetables.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
carrot and lentil (recipe below)
leek and potato
tomato and orange
pumpkin and butterbean
pea and mint
watercress and potato
I have learned if you add some noodles to a soup, your children will eat it ALL! I know some might not find adding noodles healthy, but if I can get my children to eat spinach noodles with everything…so can you!
Mum’s Carrot and Lentil Soup Recipe
This recipe for carrot and lentil soup is packed with nutrients and has proved successful with even the most veggie-phobic children. The soup is tasty and, best of all, it’s incredibly easy to make in just three simple steps.
Red lentils are a superfood: low in fat, very high in nutritional value, and a proven cholesterol reducer. They contain plenty of carbohydrates to provide energy, protein and amino acids for growth and repair and fiber for a healthy digestive system. They are an excellent source of iron, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and a number of other essential minerals.
Carrots are famously high in vitamin C and carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. It might not be quite true that they give you super night vision, but they do stop you not being able to see in the dark, so telling your child that eating carrots makes you see better in the dark could be a good ploy! Make sure you don’t peel them too vigorously because most of the vitamins can be found just under the skin.
1 onion, diced
225g/8oz carrots, sliced
115g/4 oz red lentils
Salt and pepper
1.5 pt stock
Knob of butter
Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear.
Put all of the ingredients except the butter, salt, and pepper into a large pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes.
When the vegetables and lentils are all tender, remove the bouquet garni and liquidize the soup. Add seasoning and butter to taste, and enjoy!
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Difficulty rating: Very easy