When you have picky eaters on your hands, it can be a difficult task to ensure they eat all the food groups. My toddler happens to be one of those picky eaters. While he loves cereal (dry, mind you) and most fruits, he seems to have this aversion to meat and veggies (unless it’s crispy, baked kale – go figure [get the recipe here]). Because of this, I knew I had to get creative in how I served his meals. In fact, I had to be more than creative, I had to be downright sneaky.
My brain went into overdrive as I created ways to infuse his food with added nutrients. Here are six of the ways I’ve found to sneakily add veggies and meat to his meals.
Stuff Cheerios with Cooked Carrots & Other Veggies
All kids love Cheerios, right? Of course the cereal has lots of vitamins, however you can make it even healthier by adding veggies. The round ‘Os’ are just perfect for stuffing with cooked carrots. Simply cook diced or sliced carrots, place a Cheerio on top of it, and press down lightly until it is stuffed with carrot. Repeat with as many as you like. You can also do this with cooked peas, sweet potatoes, or other veggies that have been softened.
Add Diced Tofu to Rice
While most kids seem to turn their noses up when you mention tofu, it’s a great protein source that really has no flavor. This is great, because that means it’s easy to sneak it into foods your kid already eats. Next time you serve rice, dice tofu very small and mix it into the rice. Not only does it blend in so you can’t really see it, but it also takes on the flavor of the seasonings on your rice so your kid is none the wiser!
Blend Spinach, Tofu, and/or Yogurt Into Smoothies
I love smoothies, and so does my son. While smoothies are typically healthy anyway (I make mine with milk or cashew milk, bananas, water and ice), they are an excellent vehicle for adding additional healthy ingredients. Next time you make a smoothie for your child, add a handful of spinach, tofu, and/or yogurt to gain added nutrients.
Add Veggies to Spaghetti Sauce
I don’t know a single kid who won’t gobble down spaghetti, therefore it’s the perfect meal to trick your kid into eating vegetables. Simply dice up cooked carrots, zucchini, and squash, throw in some spinach, and voila! Your kid is devouring a veggie-rich sauce that is delish.
Stuff Meat or Veggies Into French Fries
When my husband grills burgers we typically bake fries to go along with them. I mean, burgers and fries just go hand-in-hand. The thing is, my toddler refuses to eat his own little burger. In fact, I have a hard time getting him to eat meat in general. I owe a kudos to my husband for this trick – he stuffs fries with meat! First, we break the fries into smaller pieces, then we open them and fill each one with a little bit of meat. And you know what? Our toddler gobbles them up! (I guess he does like meat, eh?) We’ve now done this with ground beef, as well as little pieces of chicken.
Sandwiches are just perfect for lunch – except when your kid refuses to eat one. My toddler happens to love bread though, so we resort to stuffing it with meat. For this, I make a sandwich with one slice of bread, put some ham or turkey in it, fold it over, press it down (it has to be smashed down enough so the bread sticks to itself and hides the meat), then cut it up into bite-sized pieces. This way, my toddler only sees the bread and has no idea he’s eating a ham sandwich.
Mashed Tofu in Pancake Batter
I just discovered this new little trick and am rather excited about it! My kids love pancakes, and I typically make them with half whole wheat flour and half white flour. I’ll also add in fruits, peanut butter, and nuts. BUT, I figured out a way to add protein – by putting tofu into the batter! I mash it up really well with a fork, and then stir it into the batter. You absolutely cannot taste it and it doesn’t seem to change the texture really either. My kids ate those pancakes up without even knowing they were filled with all kinds of goodness!
Next time you’re making a snack or meal, try a few of these tricks and see if you can trick your kid into eating healthy too. And, if you have any tricks up your sleeve, we’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment below!
Featured image via Flickr by Francisco Becerro