Be a sneaky Chef – Hide those Veggies

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“I have tried everything to get my child to eat! My child won’t eat….the only veggie she eats is cucumber, bhindi  or potatoes. I try to make interesting foods, but…”

Something we have been hearing often. We all know how important it is to add greens to a growing kid’s diet, but boy can they put up a fight! Unfortunately, kids just aren’t eating enough veggies. High vegetable intake in early life can lead to a decreased risk of a range of health issues, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Research shows that it can take as many as 10 to 15 tastes before a child will learn to appreciate a new flavor. While you may struggle to get your kids to eat their vegetables, there are some ways you can sneak in vegetables in their diet thus fulfilling their daily recommendations.

  • Add minced or shredded broccoli or spinach to scrambled eggs.
  • Little amount of spinach to any fruit smoothie.
  • When spaghetti or pasta is on the menu, add a load of extra veggies or you could puree spinach and use that as the base instead of the red tomato base.
  • Add finely cut veggies to the cheese sandwich. Their crispiness with the melted cheese is a hot favourite.
  • Craving for a pizza? You don’t want to tell them a no. Pizzas are a great vehicle for a big pile of veggies. Practically anything works.
  • Your kid loves sugar? Don’t worry. A little sugar here and there will not do harm if it is regulated well. A great way to sneak in veggies here is to bake carrot cakes and zucchini cakes in addition to the classic raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon.
  • Soups can be a great way to get them to eat the veggies especially vegetables like pumpkin. A pumpkin soup (they would associate the colour of pumpkin to carrots) with added pasta or spaghetti may just do the trick. And don’t forget to make the soup tasty!
  • Burger patties can be loaded with vegetables – grated form if they are not open to getting the chopped pieces in their mouths when eating.
  • Sauces like teriyaki sauce, barbeque sauce and the Schezuan sauce enhance the taste and flavor of foods. So what are you waiting for? Start introducing the stir fries with these sauces and see your kids want it more and more.
  • Chinese foods are a favourite with children. How about adding more of the veggies to the noodles or using the greens of the spring onions in the fried rice?
  • Tacos and wraps are another option to sneak in those valuable veggies with the beans. Lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and pickled cucumbers with salsa will make eating fun, tasty and healthy.
  • Are we forgetting our good old parathas? Parathas filled with veggies (whether they have the Chinese filling or the Mexican filling) are a sure shot hit with almost all kids.

Last but not the least, get your kids involved in the planning and preparation of foods and you will see their willingness to try the newer foods. And don’t forget to be a great ROLE MODEL. Your kids are watching you, ALWAYS! Eat your veggies, with a smile on your face.