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Unless you're one of the lucky few whose kid devours salads, you're probably always on the lookout for new ways to feed your child more vegetables and fruits.
Many children are finicky eaters, particularly when it comes to produce. Fruits and vegetables protect your child against illness and disease while supplying the energy and nutrients your child needs to grow healthy and strong.
For tips on how to sneak more fresh produce into a child's diet, we looked to the our site community, where parents of all stripes share their strategies. Read on for easy recipes, sample menus, website and cookbook recommendations, and more.
How parents get their kids to eat more produce
I grate zucchini and carrots and saute them until they are super soft, then I sprinkle them in any food where they can be disguised. Grilled cheese, quesadillas, etc. He eats them up no problem. Zucchini when cooked doesn't really taste like anything and pretty much turns to mush so it hides easily!
We [make smoothies] and DD [dear daughter] loves them! I add zucchini because it's essentially flavorless plus spinach, banana, almond milk, peanut butter and some chocolate protein powder (one with only like 3 ingredients so it's not full of junk), and she will chug it and beg for more.
You can puree veggies (like sweet potato, spinach, carrot, etc.) and use it as a pasta sauce.
Try real veggies and fruits your LO [little one] can pick up. Watermelon and banana are favorites for my LO. Dice up a sweet potato and roast it. Freeze the leftovers. Canned pumpkin purée can go in pancakes, sauces, muffins. Frozen chopped spinach can be thrown into anything simmering on the stove. I buy a lot of steamable bags of veggies for quick meals. The only thing I spoon feed LO is yogurt or unsweetened applesauce.
Buy bags of frozen veggies (or fresh) and just add a little water to steam them until they're soft. Sweet potato fries are pretty easy. Just peel and slice a sweet potato into sticks, toss in a little olive oil, and roast on a baking sheet until they're soft. You can add whatever seasonings and spices you like too. I like adding cinnamon to sweet potatoes.
My kids love zucchini sliced into sticks, tossed in olive oil, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese.
You can use any drop dough biscuit recipe or packaged biscuit mix, and add in whatever veggies (broccoli, spinach...) and cheese, then bake in a muffin pan.
Same with the muffins. Add in whatever pumpkin, squash, banana ... and bake as usual. I cut the sugar significantly though.
Order the cookbook "Little Foodie". Super simple but heathy and delicious recipes broken down by age range. Ages verify from 4 months old to 24+ months old. It has all sorts of creative ways to make fruits and veggies delicious and edible for little ones.
Oven roasted veggies are awesome and easy. And you can make fruit salad for dessert. I also make popsicles for DD [dear daughter] from fresh fruit I puree, sometimes I mix it with vanilla yogurt. So yummy.
I started making smoothies to get my toddler to eat more greens. If you mix strawberries and blueberries with anything green, they won't notice.
Sweet potato and zucchini both are delicious in bread! Also, if LO [little one] likes mashed potatoes, you can mash carrots/or parsnips in with the potatoes.
There are tons of recipes on Pinterest. I've made pancakes with spinach, pancakes with carrots, lots of different breads as mentioned with zucchini and sweet potato. You can also even make mac & cheese with hidden veggies.
Banana muffins, zucchini brownies, fruit mixed in pancakes, macaroni made as usual except stir in some pumpkin or sweet potato puree, zucchini bread, black bean burgers (technically a bean, but it works). You're only limited by your imagination.
Banana egg "pancakes" are great!! Take a banana and mush it, crack an egg in with the mushed banana and stir together. Then fry it and voila, a pancake that's good for you! It has a sort of bread like consistency and it's SO easy. I usually add a couple berries.
My LO [little one] will eat a ton of canned green beans when they are the only thing on her plate. I usually let her start eating her vegetables while I finish cooking dinner. She loves cucumbers sliced thin, raw red and yellow peppers, canned mixed vegetables (depends on the brand), steamed salted carrots, and now that she has a few more teeth, raw carrots sliced thin.
I [give my child] veggies first while I cook everything else. I just cut peppers into strips and let her snack on them, or I microwave some frozen peas or carrots.
Breakfast: eggs (hard boiled; you can make several in advance), look up high protein pancake recipes [to] make in advance, yogurt parfaits, fresh fruit.
Lunch: turkey & cheese roll ups, cheese and black bean quesadillas, cherry spread crackers and cheese of their choice, grilled cheese with avocado, pb&j. Usually served with fresh fruit or carrots or cucumbers. Handful of chips or something crunchy.
Snacks: frozen watermelon on popsicle sticks, plums, nectarines, peaches, melons, yogurt pouches, tzatziki and pretzels and veggies, cucumber dip or ranch dip and veggies.
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