11 Easy Ways to Sneak Fruits & Veggies into Your Kids’ Favorite Recipes

yummytoddlerfood

easy sweet potato pancakes

As mama to a three year old, I know that what I serve for dinner is not always the same as what actually gets eaten—especially when it comes to vegetables. And since what my daughter thinks she “likes” can change from day to day, it can feel impossible to make a meal that makes everyone happy. On paper I prefer to be upfront about what I’m serving my daughter, but I admit that there are times when, in the spirit of less mealtime drama and more balanced nutrition, I sneak fruits and veggies into meals I know she loves. Here are some of my go-to ways to serve up lots of produce in yummy meals that won’t give anyone a reason to fuss.

1. Sweet potatoes in pancakes

Sunday brunch just got a little sweeter with these sweet potato pancakes. They are moist and flavorful with a bit of natural sweetness that little ones will love—and everyone can start their day off with a serving of veggies in the bag.

marinara sauce packed with veggies

2. Squash, carrots, red peppers, and more in marinara sauce

Pasta with marinara sauce has been one of my daughter’s favorite foods since almost the beginning. I load up the sauce with veggies—yellow squash, carrots, red peppers, celery, and onion are favorite options—and she never notices the difference.

Easy Squash Risotto kids love

3. Pureed veggies in risotto

Pureed veggies can make wonderfully delicious—and creamy—sauces for pasta and rice, and this easy shortcut butternut squash “risotto” is a fall favorite in our house.

Top pizza with spinach pesto for a yummy family dinner

4. Spinach pesto spread onto pizza

We have homemade pizza night every Friday, and it’s one of our favorite family traditions. (I may love it most of all because my husband cooks it!) We often have spinach pesto on top of our slices, and my daughter is never phased by a little green hiding under her cheese (though mushrooms and onions are a different story…).

Easy Bean Soup with hidden veggies

5. Peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and more in black bean soup

Almost anything you add to black bean soup—peppers, onion, carrots, sweet potatoes, and/or tomatoes—mixes right into the color of the beans when pureed. This slow cooker black bean soup is such a favorite in our house that my daughter sometimes eats the leftovers for breakfast.

Easy Baked Sweet Potato Meatballs

6. Sweet potato meatball mix-in

Sweet potatoes add a hit of nutrition and flavor to these easy sausage meatballs, and when served up in pasta sauce—or even plain—your little one won’t notice that anything is up.

Frozen Yogurt Pops with hidden produce

7. Blueberries, spinach, and more into freezer pops

Dark berries, like blueberries or blackberries, are a great match for spinach when blended with a little yogurt and frozen into freezer pops. These frozen yogurt pops are a favorite in our house.

Shredded Carrot Hummus makes an easy snack

8. Carrots in hummus

Hummus is pretty great on its own, but since it’s so easy to blend in a little more nutrition, why not do it? We love to add shredded carrots to hummus since the finished hummus is the color that little ones will expect. (Beet hummus has never worked in my house!)

Chocolate Brownies made healthy

9. Zucchini in brownies

Think: All of the moisture of zucchini bread with the added deliciousness of chocolate. Plus, these produce-packed brownies have both fruits and veggies.

Add a new fruit to a loved smoothie

10. Green veggies in smoothies

Just because your little one won’t go for a green smoothie doesn’t mean that all smoothies are out. Try adding just a little bit of greens to a dark berry based smoothie or adding a new fruit to a smoothie you already know they like.

Easy Potato Nachos with salsa

11. Top anything with salsa

In my house, salsa totally counts as a vegetable and we eat a lot of it—with eggs, with crackers, and with loaded potato nachos. Try it!

More Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Fruits & Veggies: