Getting tiny humans to consume the appropriate amount of strange, leafy, colorful things can be quite the task!
I have heard ALL the excuses in the book:
“But I don’t like it mommy!” “That’s disgusting!” “I am NOT hungry! …mommy, can I have some toast!?”
My kids are just like yours, but I get them to eat things like kale, spinach, broccoli, squash, zucchini, cauliflower, bell peppers, and MORE every single day.
Now, I am not some magical, mystical, all-knowing mama. If you haven’t heard yet, I am completely OUTMATCHED by this whole motherhood thing 😉 and I do everything through prayerfully seeking my savior and relying on His strength. BUT over the years I have figured out how to get my kids to eat the things that their little bodies need to grow and function properly.
Children need between 1 – 3 full cups of veggies a day, according to the U.S. government. Arguably, vegetables, fruits, and other REAL unprocessed foods should make up the bulk of your children’s diet. But how does one convince the little ones to consume a few cups of something they don’t even want to try?
The simple answer can be found by knowing where to start. Begin by hiding the veggies you want your kids to eat. If they don’t know what they are eating and it doesn’t look weird, you can get them to try new veggies! This also helps to train their taste-buds to enjoy these healthy necessities.
My favorite places to hide vegetables are in delicious shakes and in my spaghetti sauce. What kid doesn’t like milkshakes and spaghetti? 😉
We like to start our day off with a green, power milkshake. I start with the basic recipe below, and we add to it based on what we have in the house, and what veggies and fruits are in season. My children BEG me for these, and consider them a treat. They have no idea how many nutrients I jam pack into this treat! Outmatched mama WIN!
Green Power Shake Recipe
Start by putting the liquid of your choosing in the blender. We love almond milk, but cow’s milk, rice milk, or even coconut water can be used.
Add a banana or two ALWAYS. – this step is important for covering up the taste of the greens.
Add greens of your choosing. – if you are trying this for the first time, start with spinach. Then move to kale, collard greens, or others as they learn to love green shakes.
Add a frozen, sweet fruit. – our personal favorite is strawberries. This helps to hide any other veggies you may add. We have used all kinds of frozen berries, and even frozen greens or frozen veggies before too. The coldness of adding something frozen makes the shake even more delicious and more like a milkshake.
Add other veggies that you have on hand. You can easily hide squash and zucchini here. Things like broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower are a little more difficult to hide. You may want to add extra banana to taste until you children get used to these.
Also include kid-friendly supplements. We like to add chia seeds, flax meal, almond meal, and various other super-food blends and protein powders. Keep in mind that this will change the texture a bit. If you children are very particular on approved textures, use only finely ground powders here (NOT seeds or nuts!).
My other go-to veggie hider is spaghetti sauce. I started out by adding the basics like onion or tomatoes that were finely chopped. As my children’s (and husband’s!) palates grew, I was able to add larger veggie chunks. I always add squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and even mashed carrots to the sauce. If you have left-over baby food jars on hand, this is the perfect time to use them! You can also add lentils for fiber (but keep in mind a little goes a long way).
I hope you are learned some new tricks to get those nutrients into your children. Let me know your best tricks and kid-friendly recipes in the comments below!
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