When you are dealing with a preschooler, there is bound to be a time in their lives with very strong food preferences- also known as picky eating.

This can be a stressful time, since kids often receive less vitamins and minerals that they need to grow big and strong. 

 

Luckily, there are so many ways to hide vegetables in food for picky eaters. I spent some time researching and found some amazing, simple ways to add more essential nutrients to your child’s meals. Whether they know it or not is another story!

As an Amazon Affiliate, some of the links may help this site earn a small commission- at no extra cost to you. 

 

Consider this list your secret weapon to a happy home-  here are 8 creative ways to sneak veggies into your preschoolers diet…

 

Why hide vegetables in your meals?

 

First, it is important to identify why your child won’t eat vegetables in the first place. Do they simply not like the taste of the vegetable? Do they understand the benefit of a healthy snack? Are they looking for a way to control something, so they demand chicken nuggets for every meal?

 

Let’s face it- sometimes cutting a carrot stick into a fun shape won’t work with the pickiest eater (and neither will covering celery with peanut butter). 

 

Since picky eating is so common, choosing to hide vegetables in meals is a common decision that almost every parent goes through at one point or another.  

 

There are plenty of ways to help kids eat their vegetables (whether they know it or not). Serving a healthy meal not only helps kids grow, it helps their minds develop and their moods stay light. 

 

The biggest reasons for parents to hide vegetables in their food for a picky child are: 

 

  • Increase Nutritional Value in Foods
  • Add in fiber for easy digestion
  • Prevent cranky kids

 

There are so many different ways to hide vegetables in your meals for your kids. So much so that it is one of the biggest topics of conversation among my moms groups. 

 

To help you out, here are some of the best kept secrets to helping your child eat all of their vegetables (whether they know it or not).

Use Food Processor

If you want to take the concept of hidden veggies to another level, here is an easy way: 

 

First, steam the vegetables (like a can of green beans) in a steamer basket until they are nice and soft.You can boil them, but the vegetables will lose some of their nutrients, which defeats the purpose. 

 

After you let them cool, add the vegetables into a food processor.  

 

After the vegetables are fully blended, then you are free to add them to any meal! 

Hide in Dessert

There are lots of hidden veggie recipes, but there is something about hidden vegetables in a dessert that is just the best. After all, everyone deserves some sweet treats once in a while- even the pickiest of eaters!

Making a zucchini bread (as opposed to a different type of sweet bread) is one example that almost any picky eater will try. Another one is Avocado Mousse or even putting beets in a red velvet cake. 

 

If a new type of dessert doesn’t work, you can always serve carrot cake- kids love that stuff!

Vegetable Soup

If your kid enjoys a bowl of soup, try adding in some frozen vegetables next time. Next time they insist on canned chicken noodle soup, try adding in some frozen peas and diced bell peppers. 

 

In a soup, vegetables will cook and become softer with a mild flavor. This releases the vitamins into the broth and makes the food less intimidating. 

 

Serving a vegetable soup is my favorite way to get kids to eat their vegetables. 

Marinara Sauce

Pasta is the perfect kids food!

Adding vegetables into your child’s favorite marinara sauce is the perfect way to add in a variety of vegetables. Simply chop up anything with a milder flavor (think mushrooms or white onion) as small as you can and add to the sauce. 

 

If that doesn’t work, consider switching to a chunkier pasta sauce or adding ground meat

 that can hide the vegetables easier. 

 Make your own vegetable purees

When kids are younger, it’s easy to grab a few pouches at the store to feed them on the go. As they grow, however, it can become more and more difficult to keep them full with one of those pouches on its own. 

While it is an option to serve them several food pouches at a time, that can get expensive. A great alternative is to make your own! 

 

Take some reusable food pouches and make your own purees with hidden veggies. If you need to increase the calorie content, don’t be afraid to sneak in some olive oil as well. 

 

If you are unsure where to start, a safe bet is cooked sweet potato or butternut squash. Once they approve, consider adding new foods like broccoli or zucchini!

Consider smoothies

It’s easy to forget how magical a smoothie can be for feeding picky eaters! Not only can you make almost any kind of yummy flavor, but it is so easy to add in a cup of spinach, a few carrots, or even some frozen peas without anyone even noticing. 

Smoothies are the perfect breakfast food and can help fill even the pickiest of eaters for their day. 

 

Mix with some liquid (milk, if they will have it) and add in a clean protein powder to help keep your kids tummies full all day long. 

Juice your veggies

When incorporating vegetables into a diet, one of the best sneaky ways may be to juice them. Yes, it removes the fiber but it creates a simple way for the body to absorb lots and lots of vitamins. 

 

Looking for bonus points? Invite the kids to join! Most kids love the taste of homemade juice and even enjoy making it with you. On Amazon, the most popular juicer to use with kids is this Hamilton Beach juicer. 

Add cheese sauce

One of the oldest tricks in the book for convincing kids to eat their veggies? Cover them in cheese sauce! 

For a lot of families, that’s the only way that they will eat healthy food and that’s okay. Think of it as when fussy eaters will only try leafy greens when they are covered in ranch.

Spice up an old favorite

Sometimes hiding some vegetables in with your family’s meals is as simple as taking a favorite and spicing it up with some secret vegetables. 

 

If your toddler is obsessed with mashed potatoes, add in some steamed cauliflower. 

Maybe taco night is one meal that they always eat- try serving a side of black bean in a cute bowl.

Hide the vegetables in plain sight

When kids are occupied with a specific task like an art project or their favorite show, sometimes setting out some vegetables for them to mindlessly chew on is the best way. 

 

Setting out some carrot and cucumber slices with ranch or celery with peanut butter in a no-pressure way can help little ones eat vegetables and not even notice. 

 

Vegetable Alternatives

 

If your main goal for adding hidden vegetables into your food is to help increase your kids vitamin and mineral intake, know that there are other options. 

If you want to skip all of the extra work that hiding vegetables can bring, some vegetable alternatives are: 

 

  • Fruit 
  • Multi-vitamin
  • Powdered supplement

 

Keep in mind that you can also expose your picky eater to plain vegetables like carrot sticks or cucumber cut into fun shapes. Set out a snack plate before dinner and present the option- you never know when they will decide to try! 

 

In Summary

There are so many unique ways to secretly add vegetables into your preschoolers meal. From yummy breakfast smoothies to secret vegetables in marinara sauce, it is completely possible to increase the vegetable consumption in your home- even with the pickiest of eaters. 

 

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