We all know that, sometimes, kids don’t like to eat their vegetables. They whine, they cry, they gag and do any of number of things to avoid eating them or show their distinct pleasure in attempting to eat them.
My kids are the perfect example of this.
My daughter will eat select vegetables but most she completely turns up her nose to. My son has had massive eating problems throughout his life. In fact, we had to take him to food therapy at one point (Yes, that’s a real thing.) because he was averse to eating most things in general. I couldn’t even get him to eat a French Fry at one point so things like peas, spinach and beets were completely out of the question.
All their lives I’ve taken to stealth nutrition in order to get them to eat the things they need for their little bodies.
What is stealth nutrition? It is the latest buzz phrase to simply say, “Hide their veggies (or whatever) in foods they love.”
There’s a division of thought on this in parenting and scientific circles. Critics say things like:
“You just need to feed them to them over and over until they start eating them.”
“They should love vegetables as vegetables and hiding them in foods discourages them to try them as whole foods.”
Those people have clearly never met my children, and perhaps your’s.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have a few friends who have children that eat all their vegetables. I ate all my vegetables as a kid, even Brussel sprouts. In my case, I was just a weird kid, but most of the time when you see a child happily eating spinach or beets, they are the exception and not the rule.
So, for my life, stealth nutrition is a necessity. It gets my children the nutrients they need, in a way they love and can slowly introduce them to new flavors along the way.
I’ve partnered with Stonyfield to share some of my favorite foods to feed the kids when I secretly need them to eat their veggies.
My kids will eat yogurt 10 times a day if I let them, so it makes sense that yogurt is my No. 1 go-to when I want to sneak some veggies into their diets. Stonyfield Organic has recently introduced a new line of products called Stonyfield Kids Veggie Pouches that combines kids’ favorite yogurt flavors with veggies.
The new flavors include Whole Milk Apple Cinnamon Sweet Potato Yogurt Pouch and Whole Milk Blueberry Apple Carrot. These have been added to an already great line that includes Whole Milk Pear Spinach Mango and Whole Milk Strawberry Beet Berry.
Made with organic milk and without the use of toxic persistent pesticides or GMOs, the pouches are portable and perfect for on-the-go snacks.
On top of it all, they’re delicious. My kids like all of the flavors and my son (the pickiest child in the world) loves the Whole Milk Blueberry Apple Carrot and Whole Milk Strawberry Beet Berry. Ordinarily, he wouldn’t touch a beet – even if I promised him a trip to Disney World and a shopping spree in the Target toy aisle.
The yogurts help to get the kids familiar with the tastes of these vegetables in a food that’s already acceptable to them and something they love. It’s so much easier for me as a parent to picky children to introduce flavors this way versus handing them a vegetable and asking them to taste it – and this applies to all of these foods the list.
You can learn more about these at the Stonyfield Organic website.
These are one of the easiest ways to get leafy greens into your kids’ diets. Kale and spinach were made for berry smoothies made with Stonyfield Organic yogurt, a little OJ or even water. I created these smoothies a few years ago and today they remain the most popular post on this site.
Spreads & Dips
These are a great way to use vegetables like avocado, peppers, olives, onions and even broccoli. Usually they mix the veggies with something creamier and sometimes kids might not even notice they’re there at all in something like this avocado spread made with Stonyfield Greek yogurt. Or, if your kids aren’t completely averse to trying vegetables then you can make a roasted vegetable spread and maybe mix it in with some hummus (which my daughter loves). If you can pair these with mild veggies like cucumbers (my son loves these) or carrots, then you get a double dose of veggies. If not, bread also works – without the crust of course.
Mac & Cheese
This childhood favorite is an easy hiding spot. Cauliflower blends in well here. Broccoli can also be added if your kids are cook eating it smothered in cheese.
They’ll never notice if you blend some spinach into the beef or some broccoli or cauliflower. It’s a great way to completely cover the flavor of something if your kids can’t stand it. This one isn’t so much about getting them used to the taste as it is about getting the nutrients into them.
This is another easy way to sneak in vegetables like zucchini, carrots and again avocado. My children love my zucchini bread but won’t eat zucchini in any other form. Both kids also love carrot muffins with a little cinnamon. (Full disclosure: Carrots are one of the veggies both my kids will eat raw.)
This is a wonderful place to add in some extra veggies that your kids will never notice. Cauliflower is a big one, but you can also add broccoli and spinach too. Once the crust has pizza sauce and cheese on it, your kids probably won’t even notice the difference in the crust.
Make it fries
I’m not saying this is the healthiest solution, but most kids will eat almost anything if it’s in fry form. Try sweet potatoes, green beans, onions and maybe even zucchini strips.
Celery juice is all the rage. While I haven’t tried this yet, juice is one of the easier places to include flavors and to start getting kids used to the tastes of certain vegetables. I know most kids won’t be trying celery juice anytime soon but certain juices can be great places to start introducing those tastes. Specifically, a beet lemonade is delicious (I had this last week at a restaurant), or maybe they’ll drink tomato juice or an apple carrot juice.
I have a friend who is notorious for putting vegetables in her popsicles. It’s really easy to do if you already have the juice! If not, you can puree anything and put it into the popsicles. Think sweeter flavors like cucumbers and watermelon with lime, spinach and pineapple (the pineapple will take the edge off the spinach) and chocolate pops with banana and avocado.
Most kids love pancakes and this is an easy place to hide things like sweet potatoes, which is probably one of the most loved vegetables right now – unless your my kids. These are a good way to just introduce them to the taste.
Marinara sauce is a great place to hide a variety of vegetables. Basically, pick one and you can hide it in here.
Chili is a good place for chunky starchy vegetables, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, onions, kale and more! Like marinara sauce, the chili flavoring, thickness and texture will hide almost anything.
Frittata or scrambled eggs
If your kids are okay with vegetables, combining them with things like green pepper, tomatoes, onions, spinach and broccoli in eggs are a good way to get them more interested in these vital veggies. Or, hide them all together. Dice onion and cauliflower up really small (or even toss it in a small blender first) and then mix it with your eggs. love my zucchini
Once you throw enough apples into the mix, you can puree almost anything in and kids will eat it. From sweet potatoes to broccoli to spinach and more, this is one of the easiest ways to add in a variety of vegetables.
You can make brownies with sweet potatoes, avocado and even puree some spinach into them. See which one tastes the best and let your kids be the taste testers.
What else would you add to this list? Where else do you hide veggies?
For more information on Stonyfield Organic’s mission and industry, click here. To understand the differences between organic and non-GMO click here.