“Slip some cauliflower puree into a bowl of instant mac and cheese, and aren’t you also inadvertently cementing a kid’s belief that cauliflower does not exist in a beneficent universe?” – Dara Moskowitz Grumgahl (Experience Life Magazine)
I want to start by commenting on those naysayers of ‘hiding’ veggies. I fully support “hiding” veggies in meals in conjunction WITH other veggies on the plate OR when adding them to something you wouldn’t normally add them to. Fruits and vegetables provide us with the vitamins and nutrients our bodies need, so why not maximize the ways we get them into our families? For instance, below I recommend adding vegetables to English muffin pizzas. What does this do? It adds nutrients to a meal that generally doesn’t have a whole lot. In the macaroni and cheese recipe from my first post on ‘hiding’ veggies, I serve the mac and cheese in conjunction with a side dish of veggies – that way the family is getting a double dose! Kids need to know about the power of fruits and vegetables, so let them in on the secret – let them help you ‘hide’ them and explain why you are adding them!
And now for some more Veggie Tricks
1. English Muffin Pizza – what child doesn’t love this? It’s so simple to add veggies to! I use spelt muffins instead of the traditional wheat ones. I get an organic tomato sauce, some organic Mozzarella or Munster cheese and I use my mini food processor to finely chop some veggies, like broccoli and yellow squash. I spread the veggies, (sometimes sauteed first, sometimes not), on the muffin and then put the sauce over it and toast it. Once toasted, I put cheese on top and broil it for a couple of minutes. It’s a quick and easy meal for when you don’t have a lot of time to cook.
2. Oatmeal – Breakfast is the most important part of the day, so start your family off right. Make sure that the oatmeal is the old fashioned, slow cooking kind (which doesn’t actually take all that long to cook!). The reasoning for this is that “the time it takes to cook the oatmeal commensurates with how it will deliver energy to your body. The energy given from the slow cooked kind will ‘simmer’ in your body, dispersing it in even and balanced amounts, while the kind found in the instant oatmeal will deliver it all at once, thus spiking your blood sugars before sending them and your energy crashing”(Lorenz). Also, the instant kinds contain added refined sugar. If you buy the slow cooked you can add your own healthy toppings, which is where the fruit and veggies come in! I add raisins, apple, and peanut or almond butter for protein. If I feel I need more veggies on a particular day, I add pureed sweet potato or butternut squash. I top it with a little bit of honey.
3. Stew – I have recently discovered the power of the crockpot and try to use it once a week. Stew is one of the easy meals to make in it, especially since I use a recipe that skips all of the extra steps so that I am really only using one pot – the crock pot! When I put the meat in, I add cubed butternut squash, chunky cut carrots, and cauliflower pieces. Because my kids are still small, I puree their portions, so that their stew is more of a soup. You can view the basic recipe that I use here: Easy Stew Recipe. I add the vegetables I list above in conjunction with the other ingredients listed.
4. Ground beef, chicken, turkey and lamb – You can include veggies in just about anything that you make with these meats, including lasagna, meatloaf, stroganoff, chili, and hamburgers. Just finely chop or puree the veggies you want to use and mix them in with the meat before cooking. I find that squash blends well into just about anything!
For more Veggie Tricks, see my first post on this: Getting Kids into Veggies and Veggies Into Kids