How to include more vegetables in healthy kids meals

Start by adding just small amounts of vegetables into healthy meals for kids and gradually increase as they get used to it. The trick is not to offer so much at one sitting that your kids are overwhelmed by vegetables. Add a little to each meal or snack.

  1. Continue to serve vegetable sticks like carrot, celery, beans and snowpeas with hommus, dips and cheese.
  2. Blend up green leafy vegetables with fruit to make green smoothies that are easy to drink and delicious for healthy eating kids to suck down.
  3. Grate or finely chop vegetables like zucchini, carrot, parsnip, pumpkin and onion to add to casseroles and pasta sauces.
  4. Decorate home-made pizzas with faces or patterns made from slices of tomato, onion, capsicum, zucchini and mushrooms.
  5. Grated carrot and zucchini, snowpea and bamboo shoots can be rolled up with noodles in rice paper rolls or with cheese in flatbread wraps.
  6. Add grated carrot, avocado and tomato to sandwiches with cheesy spreads or hommus.
  7. Mash potato, sweet potato and pumpkin alone or in combinations, sprinkle with cheese or top with home-made tomato sauce.
  8. Add mashed vegetables as toppings for shepherd’s pie or tuna bake.
  9. Make sushi rolls with slices of capsicum, carrot, zucchini or avocado.
  10. Fill burritos with bean fillings, grated vegetables and cheese.
  11. Use leftovers from just about any vegetable casserole or bake recipe as a taco filling. Kids seem to love eating tacos, but the secret is not to overfill them. At least the juices will soak into the taco shell and the kids will definitely eat that.
  12. Add veggie sticks or shapes to lunch boxes.
  13. It’s surprising the number of biscuit, cake and bread recipes that have vegetable variations. A friend recently switched me on to a chocolate zucchini loaf recipe that was a hit with my kids. She swears her teenage sons still don’t even know there’s zucchini in it.
  14. Stir-fries with chopped zucchini, carrot, capsicum, corn kernels, peas or snowpeas served on rice or noodles with a sweet soy sauce such as kecap manis.
  15. Fry mushroom, tomato and onion mixtures as a toast topping.
  16. Include grated vegetables and chopped greens or herbs in frittatas, omelettes, scrambled eggs and fritters.
  17. Serve a small bowl of grated carrot, sprouts and other vegetables as finger food.
  18. Blend vegetables in soups and sprinkle with croutons or serve with toast fingers.
  19. Vegetable purees like those prepared for babies can still be a hit with toddlers and preschoolers if they’re served slightly thicker.
  20. Grow snack-friendly varieties of vegetables in a vegetable garden for kids within their playspace so they can snack as they play.
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