Written by Piera Jolly of Jolly Mom for Personal Creations Blog.
When parents say, “every child is different.” Believe it. My son, Lucas is 7 years old and has eaten fruits and vegetables since he was a baby. He was a 1 year old who ate salad with fresh greens, tomatoes, and even onions. My daughter, Amelia is 20 months old and is the complete opposite. She has been a picky eater from the day she started solids. She would clamp her mouth shut at anything that seemed new or unsavory to her very picky palate. As a mom, I worry if she’s getting enough nutrients from her mostly carb and fruit diet. That’s why I found sneaky ways of getting the good stuff into her by adding veggies into the meals that she already loves. However, the key is to continue to offer your children fresh veggies at every meal so that they will eventually eat them without you having to sneak them into meals. This is only so that YOU can rest easy knowing that your child is getting all of the nutrients she needs.
Smoothies and freshly juiced juices are very easy ways to sneak in spinach, kale, carrots, beets, and other veggies that you child may not otherwise eat. My kids love to drink smoothies in the morning for breakfast so I always add a handful or spinach or a carrot to their smoothies.
Kid Friendly “Green” Smoothie Recipe
- 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1-2 Tbsp honey
- 1 cup of milk
- 3-4 ice cubes (optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth and serve immediately.
At the beginning of the week, I steam a few veggies like cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and carrots and then puree them in the blender. I keep them in containers in the fridge and then add them to sauces at lunch or dinner. These can easily be added to pasta sauces like macaroni and cheese, alfredo sauce, etc. The macaroni and cheese pictured below has pureed cauliflower added right to the cheese sauce.
I also use the veggie purees to spread them onto sandwiches and roll ups for the kids. For example, we like to spread sweet potato puree onto a grilled cheese sandwich (pictured below) or mashed avocado onto a turkey sandwich. These are perfect for kids’ lunches!
Carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, and squash can be added to make delicious and healthy muffins, breads, pancakes, and waffles that the entire family will enjoy. We love the Apple Zucchini & Carrot Bread pictured below. It is moist and delicious and brimming with fruits and veggies!
Apple Zucchini & Carrot Bread Recipe
- 1 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup grated peeled Granny Smith apple
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- Cooking spray
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 Tbsp. orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until combined. Add grated apple, grated carrot, shredded zucchini, and walnuts to flour mixture; toss well. Whisk together canola oil, buttermilk, and eggs in a small bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Spoon batter into an 8 x 4–inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
While bread is cooling, make the cream cheese glaze by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over the top of the bread and serve.
Another tip to get your kids to eat well is to serve them in cups and containers that are fun like the ones pictured above!
Piera Jolly is the founder and editor-in-chief of JollyMom.com, a savvy and popular blog that provides moms with helpful parenting information, fun child-friendly activities, craft ideas, recipes, and the latest trends for moms, kids, and families. JollyMom.com is also proud to have been named a Top 10 Inspiring Blogger by Mashable, a Power Mom by Nielsen and one of Access Communication’s Top 50 Mommy Blogs!