You can either convince your kids to eat veggies. Or get that nutrition in without them realizing. Here’s 3 ways to get it done.
By Elana Soleimani-Aminoff
The holidays are over, and gone are the fried foods, candy, and sugar-laden snacks. Time to get our health on!
There are different schools of thought on veggies and kids. One says they shouldn’t be hidden, since you want them to eat veggies. The other advocates stealth measures of every caliber to deliver the maximum nutritional benefit to their young, growing bodies.
Irregardless, if your kids will chomp down on some broccoli, go for it. I, for one, believe in the latter—get it in them anyway you can. So that’s what I do.
Here are 3 ways you can add veggies to some everyday items, and have your kids eat them!
Mix ‘Em into Meatballs
- This is my super-secret weapon. Take your regular meatball recipe, and swap the breadcrumbs out for cauliflower rice! This has the obvious benefit of adding veggies to your kids’ food, and making them gluten-free. (This works best with beef meatballs. If adding to turkey meatballs, I would omit any eggs).
Hide Them in the Sauce
- You can use this sauce for the aforementioned meatballs, delivering a double-veggie whammy, or pizza, pasta, etc…anywhere you use red sauce!
- 1 carrot
- 1 rib celery
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed very, very dry
- 5 ounces white mushrooms, optional
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (I like to use the one with the basil added—if you don’t have that, throw in 1-2 cubes of the frozen basil, or 1 tablespoon dried basil)
- In a food processor, chop the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and mushrooms, if using.
- Heat oil in a 2-quart sauce pot. Add chopped veggies. Cook on medium heat until soft and mushy. You want them to be able to disappear into the sauce.
- Add tomato paste, and stir around. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add in spices.
- Pour in tomatoes and ½ cup-1 cup water, depending on what consistency your family likes. We like it fairly chunky, so I use less.
- Bring to a boil, then lower and simmer for about 20 minutes. If you want a smooth sauce, you can also use an immersion blender at this point. Enjoy!
Melt ‘Em Into the Macaroni
Photo for illustrative purposes
- This will look like it came out of the box, and they will be none the wiser!
- 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 pound frozen pureed butternut squash, defrosted
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (buy a block and grate yourself, the pre-grated ones have a coating that doesn’t let it melt well)
- 1 cup grated Gruyère or mozzarella cheese
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1-2 teaspoons salt to taste
- In a 6-quart pot, melt butter. Add flour, and stir until lightly browned. Slowly add milk, stirring continually. Stir on medium until just at a simmer. Add in squash, and stir until blended. Slowly add in the cheeses, and continue mixing until melted. Add seasoning, and adjust to taste. Add pasta to sauce, and mix to coat.*
- You can serve it as is, or put into an ovenproof baking dish, and bake for a crunchy top, with the option to top with crushed cheese crackers, and dot with more butter.
- Bake uncovered at 375ºF until browned to your liking.
- *At this point, score an additional veggie hack by adding in 1 cup defrosted frozen broccoli.
Elana Soleimani-Aminoff is the creator of the Blog Glitter and Spice (glitterandspiceblog.com). She is the (sometimes) harried, but always grateful, mother of four active children on Long Island, New York. To keep things interesting, she is also an attorney. She created the blog as an outlet for her love of cooking, eating and food-related dreams and aspirations. Follow her on instagram @glitter.spice