If your child gags at the sight of a green bean, or feeds his broccoli to the dog, you may begin to consider hiding vegetables in his food. Even if your child hates vegetables it is important to continue offering them, but while you wait for him to eagerly scoop up the peas on his own, consider all of the ways you can hide vegetables in his food.
How do you prepare vegetables to be hidden in food?
While chunks of broccoli in his food may catch your child’s attention, purees or finely chopped vegetables can easily be hidden in food. You can use fresh, frozen or even canned vegetables to make your mixtures. You can puree the vegetables, cook and smash them, grate them, or finely chop them.
It’s a great time and money saver to make a lot of veggie mixtures when you have extra time, and freeze them for later use.
If it’s on sale, or you are really short on time, baby food also works well as a quick way to hide vegetables in food.
How do you get away with hiding vegetables in food?
Pick the right foods, and choose a vegetable that doesn’t overpower the taste of the food you are hiding it in.
One of the easiest ways to hide vegetables in food is to sneak them into pasta or pizza sauce. These sauces have a pretty strong taste, and it is very unlikely that your child will notice that vegetables are hidden in his food unless you overdo it.
Many children love macaroni and cheese, and when it comes to hiding vegetables in their food, mac and cheese is your friend. You may not get away with turning their favorite cheesy meal green, but carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash can easily be pureed and stirred into macaroni and cheese without noticeably changing the appearance.
If your child likes pancakes you have another great opportunity for hiding vegetables in his food. Simply add a vegetable puree to the pancake batter and the veggies will likely go unnoticed. When hiding vegetables in food that usually has a sweet taste (such as syrup-topped pancakes, or flavored oatmeal), sweet potatoes are a good option. They can be added to many breakfast foods and sweets without adding a strong vegetable taste.
Ketchup and other dips are good places to hide vegetables. Pureed vegetables work well in ketchup, purees or finely chopped vegetables can be hidden in cheese dip, and you might get away with finely grated carrots in peanut butter.
There are a lot of other good options for hiding vegetables in food. Experiment with your child’s favorite foods and see what works.
Is it a good idea to hide vegetables in food?
Yes, as long as that isn’t the only way you are offering vegetables to your child. Research has shown that a child may need to be exposed to a vegetable ten or more times before they start eating it. It’s important to encourage healthy eating habits now, because your child won’t always have you around to hide vegetables in his food.