For the most part, my kids think veggies are an evil plot from parents designed to make meal time torturous. And I have no idea how this happened. I was meticulous about making their own baby food from organic, fresh vegetables. They ate what my husband and I ate. When toddler hood took over, so did new taste buds that decided veggies are NOT OKAY. In fact, veggies are made to be thrown. Or hidden in the crevices of a high chair. Well, hold on to your sippy cups, boys, mama is going covert. I’m getting sneaky, sneaky, sneaky with veggies.
Luckily, my boys are meat eaters. There’s no fighting to eat meat. Also, like most kids, they love pasta. Someone brought them a batch of Hamburger Helper several months ago, and they loved the meat and pasta combo. I started getting them a few varieties but decided to see how many veggies that I can sneak in there before they notice.
For this particular meal, I’ve made the Four Cheese Lasagna Hamburger Helper.
I’ve made it as directed on the box, but I’m sneaking in extra veggies. I’m also using the leanest ground beef that I could find at the grocery store. I’ve steamed one cup of broccoli florets and two carrots to add to the mixture.
Five minutes before the mixture is finished on the stove, I add a cup of finely torn spinach leaves.
The boys eat it up WITHOUT picking out the veggies!
Want to get your kids to eat more veggies? My way isn’t the ultimate authority, but it has worked with my THREE vegetable adverse guys. Here are a few tips:
- Steam the veggies before serving or adding them to the dish. A lot of kids have texture issues, so steaming the vegetables makes the texture easier to manage.
- Puree the veggies. As you experiment, you’ll learn what veggies “hide” well, and pureeing the veggies first helps immensely with this! For instance, steamed broccoli florets break down when mixed with sauce so that they are barely visible! Spinach wilts when cooked, so it will shrink and hide well.
- Slowly increase the ratio of veggies to sauce/pasta mix (or whatever you are hiding them in). Start small and gradually add more veggies as the kids fail to notice that they are there.
- Sauces, casseroles, and one pot meals are the great vehicles for hiding veggies.
If you’re wanting to try this in the Hamburger Helper meal that I mentioned, Helper currently has a Free Beef promotion. Visit your local grocer, and purchase three Hamburger Helper products and Ground Beef. Visit the COUPON PAGE. You will see the digital rebate: “Free Ground Beef, when you buy 3 boxes of Helper.” Click on the rebate. Print and mail in the rebate form.
Do you have picky eaters? How do you get them to eat veggies?