Vegetables are healthy; they are natural, and colorful, and just plain good for you. However, children don’t always think that, mostly because health doesn’t matter all too much for them in the way that flavor does, and with entire food corporations out there cashing in on your kids’ veg aversion by supplying your grocery stalls with more and more junk food, you would find yourself at wit’s end.
Trying to convince them to eat spinach because Popeye does isn’t going to kick it anymore because firstly they might not know who Popeye is anymore, and secondly who wants to eat doubly icky vegetables from a can?
You really don’t want to betray them, but you don’t really want to waste the effort of preparing healthy meals either, so sneaking vegetables into their meals is a tactic you should keep ready.
Secret Veggie Pasta Bake
Foolproof: all you have to do is bake pasta how you would normally bake pasta, following a family recipe or just winging it. Only, you add vegetables! You can do this by blending your choice of vegetables with the tomato sauce; some recipes call for a whole aubergine, courgette, and two whole bell peppers all into the sauce! The lovely thing about vegetables is that once cooked they can be pleasantly sweet, and sweet is good with tomato sauce, and with children as well.
You could also opt to blend in carrots, which are rich in beta carotene and excellent for the eyes. After baking in the oven, you might wonder what it tastes like…just like a nice ol’ pasta bake. But this time you can laugh maniacally as your children eat it up, unknowingly consuming a healthy serving of their most abhorred vegetables.
Cheesy Veg Pops
Okay, so they’re not exactly hidden. More like blanketed. Under a layer of melty cheesy goodness. And it’s so easy you wonder why you never thought of it before: your run of the mill steamed/roasted/boiled/fresh vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrot sticks etc., under a sheet of gooey cheese singles.
It could be tempting to just flat out offer a cheese fondue which would be completely besides the point as your children would most likely forego the vegetables and dip their spoons and fingers instead. The cheese singles would control the cheese intake, all the while covering enough vegetable to seem interesting and tasty. Remember to serve in bite sized pieces so as to avoid the derelict looking leftover veggie bites later on.
Sneaky Mac n’ Cheese
It might not be possible that there is a child that would say no to a bowl of mac n’ cheese. If anything, they’d have this for a day. A week. A month! Preferably the ones that come from boxes, unfortunately for you, which would probably have you tuck away the vegetables for now.
Nay! Veggie Puree is your new best friend. You could still keep on with the boxed mac n’ cheese, but sneak in the vegetables by means of puree. But because the color of a traditional mac n’ cheese could be quite limiting to the choice of vegetables, you should stick to mild and pale colored vegetables, like cauliflower and zucchini to puree, or sweet potato and carrots, to add a more vivid orange color. Add more cheddar cheese to mask the strong carrot flavor, though.
Remember the vegetable puree blended into the tomato sauce? Yep, you can use it on here. Go completely nuts (but pray, taste your crazy experiments; remember the vegetables have to be incognito!), all that sneaky sauce is going to be hidden under a layer of mozzarella cheese anyway. Prepare decoy toppings and have your children put on their topping choices. It’d be funny to bring out diced vegetables for toppings too; you’ll be surprised at how they put some of those in too, for color!
Although…not so sneaky. But they will be blended beyond recognition. Go with the more naturally sweet vegetables like carrots, sweet corn and squash. You can go with one vegetable at a time, or combine many! Imagine the plethora of flavors! Serve in a cute bowl or mug. Never forget presentation!
Author Marc Webster works at All Time Medical, a health and medical supply company which specializes in wheelchairs and walkers with seats. Read his latest article on 5 Health Hazards Pet Owners Should Watch Out For on GeneralHealth.comli.com.