Sneaky Recipes

mamabear1114 Posts: 140 Member
So I have a toddler, need I say more?
My journey towards a healthier lifestyle has really opened my eyes about crappy junk food, and then I realize... that’s all I’m giving my kiddo, because that’s all he will eat. My parents did the same for me, and that’s why I’ve had so many problems with food in my adult life. I don’t want that for my son. I realize in these stages of his life, I am responsible for teaching him those healthier habits. So, with that said, today I tried making zucchini noodle spaghetti for him, and he ate all of it?! He even ate the couple florets of broccoli I snuck in there. I was in shock. I was sure he would be able to tell the difference and rebuke it. I’m thinking he was more focused on the spaghetti sauce, because he likes that. So I’m wondering, are there any other moms out there that have a couple tricks up their sleeve like this? Any suggestions on how to sneak fruits and vegetables into their meals, I would welcome!


  • enterdanger
    enterdanger Posts: 2,447 Member
    I have 3 kids that are ages 6, 4, and 1. The oldest and youngest eat anything I put in front of them...the middle child, not so much. What I do is to always have either two veggies or a veggie and a fruit at every meal. My rule is that you don't have to eat both, but you have to at least try 1.

    I served those kids spaghetti squash last week and they both still had peas and apple sauce. Little buggers didn't know the difference.

    @crazyrvr is correct. You can sneak a whole bunch of veggies into sauces. I made Chicken tikka masala last week and snuck in 3 onions and replaced the heavy cream with pureed white beans and cauliflower.

    I also put a couple of different colored peppers, finely diced, in our beans and rice (cuban style). I think the kids just think those yellow, green, and red things are colored rice or something. They never ask.
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    My dd only eats vegetables when they are in something like a soup, stew, stir fry or casserole. She will eat hroccoli with alfredo sauce. She does not like salad or raw vegetables. She loves most fruit.

    With a toddler if you keep offering it and act like you enjoy it they probably will eat it too. I don't think you need to sneak it in j7st be persistant and positive.
    Try different ways of making things. A roasted or grilled vegetable can taste pretty different than boiled or steamed. Use herbs and spices or citus to add some flavor. Cut things into different shapes.
    Maybe do things like make a rainbow or other fun things with fruits and vegetables.
    Plant a garden together or go to a u-pick farm.
    Let your child choose fruits or vegetables from the store to try.
  • rosebarnalice
    rosebarnalice Posts: 3,494 Member
    Shredded/pureed carrots and cauliflower are both easy to sneak into a lot of different things. They can both be cooked and pureed with a little liquid (water, broth, sauce) and added to soup, spaghetti sauce or gravy, macaroni & cheese, or to anything you'd make with ground meat (e.g., meatloaf, meatballs, hamburger patties, etc. ).
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,277 Member
    My kids were actually good about food when they were babies and toddlers...they only got picky after 4 years old. They will rarely touch a vegetable these days, but love fruit. My oldest rarely wants meat which is fine, but he refuses to eat things like legumes to compensate...he'll eat eggs once in a blue moon...left to his own devices, he'd live off of pasta with red sauce. My youngest will eat pretty much any meat you put in front of him.

    I'm not too worried at this point as I was the same way and grew out of it and now there's not much I don't like. I'm focused mostly on making sure they eat enough in general...they're both rails and non stop active...
  • AndOne8675
    AndOne8675 Posts: 151 Member
    I have a 5 and 3 yo. The 5 yo eats all her fruit and veg, prefers them over alot of other food. 3 yo took a bit more effort, she would prefer cheese and milk and nothing else, alot of time she says it's the texture so I try my best to cook same things different ways.
    I have a no thank you bite rule, they have to try something even if they don't like it or think they don't like it. I don't serve anything super strange usually it's the veg or maybe a new casserole. They have broadened their palates this way and I also get to see what things really are a no go.
    Their favorites, that I never have to beg them to eat are anything stewed veg with meat, and almost any soup. I make a veg puree of any veg the family likes and use it as a soup base, thinking it out with water.
    They also pick some of the fruit and veg we will eat over the next couple days and help cook/ prepare during meals, this has made a huge difference.
  • apullum
    apullum Posts: 4,888 Member
    edited January 2018
    Not a parent, but the sauce idea worked for me when I was a kid. My parents would puree veggies or chop them very finely (use an electric chopper/food processor) and add them to sauces I liked. I wouldn't eat cooked diced onions, but I was totally okay with finely chopped cooked onions in spaghetti sauce.

    My sister liked fried okra (not necessarily the healthiest, I know) because she thought it was a "green chicken nugget." Same with breaded, fried squash. If it was breaded, it was a chicken nugget. If you have a little chicken nugget fan, you might bake breaded veggies to make them a little healthier than fried versions.

    And if your little one likes zoodles, try spaghetti squash. The texture isn't the same, but it might work if he's just interested in the idea of a noodle.