Kids can be picky eaters. For some, it starts as young as 6 months old. Others might not hit their picky stride until later, which can actually be worse for unsuspecting parents! One thing’s for sure though — every kid goes through a picky phase and it worries their caregivers. For as picky as they are though, sometimes it has less to do with taste than it does with their mood. A bit of doctoring up can conceal most offending flavors, and even the pickiest kid can get all his vegetables!
Mashed Potatoes and Carrots
Most kids love mashed potatoes, although some may be put off by the texture. If your little one is on board with them, then you have some options. Most root vegetables will cook at about the same speed if they’re similar in size.
Cut your potatoes a bit smaller, and your carrots a bit bigger, then toss them all in the same pot. The only thing that will be different is the color, but kids might get pretty excited about that. The beta carotene in the carrots will give the potatoes a yellow or orange color, while cramming your kids full of antioxidants!
Zoodles of Fun!
Spaghetti night is fun for everyone, but all those noodles can make it a little heavy on the carbs. Lighten it up by replacing the noodles with spiralized zucchini. With the sauce, your kids won’t notice a difference. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can substitute spaghetti squash. It takes a bit to cook in the oven, but it’s incredibly simple to prepare.
And speaking of sauce, make sure to brighten it up a bit as well! Onions, carrots, mushrooms, celery, tomatoes and spinach are all great additions to the sauce. You can add a whole mess of different vegetables to it without fearing that your kids won’t eat it. If you’re worried that they won’t like the chunky texture, then give it a spin in the food processor before serving.
Mushrooms in the Burgers
Replace some of the ground meat in burgers with finely chopped mushrooms. The kids are unlikely to even notice that they’re in there, especially if they like to load them up with cheese, pickles, tomatoes, and condiments. The mushrooms are typically used as a vegetable substitute for meat because they have a similar consistency.
If you still think that your kids might notice, just puree them in a blender or food processor. The smaller the pieces, the less noticeable they become! Plus, a bit of liquid smoke and Worstishire sauce in the burger meat will eliminate any mushroom-y flavors that could peek through.
Most kids do really well with fruit because it’s sweet. Dried fruit is even sweeter, since all the sugars are condensed. This is a great option to add to almost any meal of the day. For breakfast it’s great in cereal, pancakes, or oatmeal. The fruit, mixed with some nuts, makes a great snack on the go, or it can be a healthy option for a dessert at lunch. There are plenty of options for dried fruit, so you won’t have to worry about running out of options. It’s easy to buy at stores and it makes a great replacement for most treats, like M&M’s or Jelly Beans.
Blueberry Pancakes with Peanut Butter
This isn’t even sneaky, this is just delicious. If you’ve never tried peanut butter on your pancakes, you’re missing out on one of the joys of life. Mix in some fresh blueberries to the pancake batter, fry them up, then smother them with peanut butter. If you want to substitute almond butter instead, it’s just as good. But you can completely skip the syrup and you’re kids will get an extra protein boost with no complaints.
Spinach Grilled Cheese
Grilled cheese is a win, regardless of your kid’s level of pickiness. Make it a little heathier (although not lower in fat) by adding some spinach to it. This is also a great time to read Green Eggs and Ham by Doctor Seuss, because this will be a green sandwich. The spinach adds a lot of vitamins and minerals that some kid’s diets are lower on, without having to go through the battle of wills to eat it. Just make sure to cut off the crusts!
Fruit (and Veggie) Smoothies
Every kid loves smoothies. The strong fruit flavor, mixed with the honey, sugar, or whatever sweetener you use completely covers the taste of any vegetables you might want to add. The easiest option is to just toss a handful of spinach into the smoothie, along with whatever fruits you’re adding. If you really want to have some fun, don’t be afraid to add flax or chia seeds to it as well. Then top it off with some crushed nuts and your kiddo has a healthy, delicious treat.
Kids being picky is usually just a phase. Most experts recommend you don’t turn meal times into a power struggle. If you can work in their veggies in fun ways, they’ll be more likely to eat them. Mouse tails and lizard feet for dinner, anyone?
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. You can find her on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.