Even if your family love getting your 5 a day it can sometimes be hard to find new ways to spice up your meals with some healthy veg.
These nifty tips and tricks will not only let the vegetable lovers expand their repertoire but also might get your kiddos eating vegetables they have refused to before. There is a mixture of vegetables that will enhance the flavour of the meal and ones that their taste will be totally masked but still provides the vitamins and nutrients your family need. So get peeling, chopping or liquidising to add a few more hidden veggies to your meals.
Simple Ways To Sneak In Some Veggies
1. Jamie's 7 Veg Tomato Sauce - Jamie Oliver has invented the ingenious tomato sauce recipe that tastes exactly like a plain tomato sauce, perfect for pasta but secretly contains 7 other vegetables - your kids will never know.
2. Soups are another easy way to smuggle veggies in. If you liquidise your soups enough to avoid chunks then it is often difficult to tell what vegetables are in them. Tomatoes are a very strong flavour so try adding a few different hidden veggies to your classic tomato soup recipe.
3. Get fancy with Mac and Cheese - for your kids who love veggies try adding tomatoes, spinach, peas, cauliflower and/or broccoli to your mac and cheese to add a healthy flare and serve veg in an unconventional way.
4. For your kids who don't like vegetables; add puréed pumpkin to the Mac and Cheese sauce and blame the cheese for the funny colour - it will add a sweet little edge but will be hardly noticed.
5. Add delicious veggies to a tasty grilled cheese sandwich - the best ones that work are spinach, rocket, tomato and avocado!
6. You can sneak carrot puree or chopped mushrooms to a ground beef recipe for burgers that will go almost totally unnoticed. The puree with bind and the mushroom will add some texture to your average beef burger recipes. This option works perfectly for kids who love hidden veggies and for kids who don't.
7. Marinara sauce can cover lots of things like pumpkin or even blended onions and carrots. It will enhance the flavour without giving it a particularly veggie taste. You can even try adding chopped mushrooms to spaghetti bolognese for a similar effect.
8. Mix butternut squash puree and grated cheese to create a delicious spread for sandwiches, quesadillas or to make pizza with.
9. Turn those veggies into fries - use courgette, aubergine, avocado, carrots or green beans lightly breaded and bake until crispy. Or mix in some sweet potato fries to your normal potato fries. They are super easy to make and will jazz up your normal chip-based dishes. Yum!
10. While you're at it cook up some kale chips; a healthy alternative to potato crisps or biscuits that make for a tasty treat. Just add some oil and seasoning and bake in the oven.
11. You can add hidden veggies to pizza chopped finely underneath the cheese or blended and put straight into the sauce. You can pack as many as you want to load up your pizzas with as many vitamins as possible. Use the 7-veg sauce for inspiration of what vegetables can go unnoticed in the sauce and try finely chopped mushrooms and other soft veg under the cheese to not disturb the texture. Of course, if your kids love veggies then pack your pizzas with as many superfoods as you can!
12. If you are looking for a fun alternative way to jazz up a classic lasagne then look no further. These fabulous spinach lasagne roll-ups (https://www.budgetbytes.com/spinach-lasagna-roll-ups/) add one superfood to a classic pasta dish and also makes them fun to eat. As fun bite-sized treats your kids will love this recipe of lasagna sheets, mozzarella cheese and a spinach flare.
13. Make your chicken soup extra thick with some vegetable puree thrown into it. Keep the same old recipe that your kids know and love and add some liquidised veggies.
14. Speaking of keeping old recipes; you cad add carrot, sweet potato or butternut squash puree to any chilli or stew recipe and we are sure it will go entirely unnoticed. Your kids might even love the slightly sweeter flavour to their favourite food.
15. You wouldn't believe how many veggies will make for delicious snacks. Cut up some cauliflower, sprinkle it in coconut oil (and season however you desire) before popping it in the oven to bake at 180C. You will be left with crunchy cauliflower popcorn that will go down an absolute treat with the kids and is another one of their favourite snacks that can easily be replaced with some hidden veggies.
16. Pureed carrot makes for a great addition to many meals - pop them in a risotto for extra creaminess without the overwhelming flavour or sneak it into a meatball recipe that will help you bind your meat together and will add the hidden veggie flare without the fear of your kids finding any chunks.
17. Swap out your plain white rice for the cauliflower rice. A tasty alternative to your everyday dishes that replace your main carbohydrate with an extra some yummy veg.
18. Include mashed cauliflower to your mashed potato to double your veggie intake and it will pass your kids by, hardly affecting flavour but enhancing the fluff. Also, feel free to add a bit of cheese to this to give your mash an extra bit of something to ensure it is extra special. These three ingredients work so well together to create the perfect side for your family meal.
19. Alternatively, try some sweet potato mash instead (or half and half with some normal potato) as a different way of serving veggies to your vegetable loving kids.
20. Pesto pasta is the perfect cover-up for hidden veggies (as long as they're green). You can serve your pesto pasta according to your normal recipes whether that's with chicken or cheese and just throw in some extra special veggies. Try adding green beans, asparagus, courgette or broccoli to your pesto pasta keeping the aesthetic and adding fun veggies for your kids. Green vegetables get an unfairly bad reputation; it is time to bring back green veg and reintroduce them to your family in a completely different way.
20. Make some Super Sloppy Joes packed with veggies. While sloppy joes are usually associated with American mealtimes they are super easy to make a really good way to pack in those vegetables. This recipe includes onions, carrots, pepper and courgette (zucchini in the recipe) packed into a delicious burger style sandwich. Nutritious and delicious; this is the perfect family treat.
Add Veggies to Your Sweet Treats
1. You can even sneak avocado into chocolate pudding! I know it sounds hard to believe but avocado isn't very strong so is easily hidden.
2. Add half an avocado to your kids' fruit smoothies for an extra creamy consistency and no flavour change. Your child will never know it's there and may even make their smoothie better. You'll be glad you did it!
3. Try some vegetable pancakes instead of your standard batter mix. Beetroot pancakes, while they sound weird, go down a treat and use a really alternative vegetable that would usually not come into mind.
4. If that doesn't appeal (or if it does), try adding some finely grated courgette to your normal pancake recipe that gives your average pancakes a healthy flare.
5. Blend baby spinach into a fruit smoothing using raspberries or blueberries to mask the colours. The spinach is tasteless but it's also a superfood which means it is jam-packed with vitamins and healthy goodness.
6. You can also add carrots to any fruit smoothie and they will go entirely unnoticed. You'll find lots of multi-vitamin juices often include carrots anyway so if your child does contest then you can point them towards that fact. You can guarantee they will never be able to tell over all the fruit.
7. Add carrot or sweet potato puree to your chocolate chip cookie recipe and your child won't know the difference. The beauty of these veggies is their natural sweetness can be extremely useful for hiding in deserts.
8. Equally, try making pumpkin or sweet potato french toast. A healthy way to brighten up your kids' favourite breakfast meal.
9. If that goes down a treat then maybe you should try baking a pumpkin banana bread to double the nutrients and double the fun!