I find pureed veggies super easy to work with. In this form they can really be hid in about anything and a lot of them are so sweet that kid's honestly don't realize they are eating something "good" for them. Color may be an issue, but a lot of kids will find their new food fun and different.
Here are some ideas for incorporating veggies into everyday food
- add a pureed veggie into their yogurt or cottage cheese. Horizon has come out with a product that contains fruit and veggies in yogurt, but it's super easy to add any veggie into the yogurt your child eats every day. Also remember that kids don't have the taste associations we do so you might think banana and peas sounds horrible, but they might not.
- add a pureed veggie into mashed potatoes. Not only will it transform them into a fun new color, but it will add some nutrients as well. Try beets for pink potatoes, spinach or peas for green and sweet potatoes for orange.
- add a pureed veggie into mac and cheese. Anything orange (sweet potato, squash) disappears if you're using orange cheese, but you can also use any other veggie. It can really be tossed with any pasta sauce or made into a sauce of it's own.
- try different textures. Emma loves to much on raw veggies, especially asparagus and green beans (which are a little softer than carrots). Don't just assume they need to be mush for them to eat it, a lot of times kids don't love mushy food.
- try different flavors. Roast the veggies to bring out the natural sweetness or cook them with something sweet like maple syrup or orange juice. Carrots cooked in orange juice are delicious!
- add veggies to a smoothie for a quick and easy meal.
- give them first in a meal. Always start with the food your child likes least. #1, they are more hungry and more likely to eat whatever you give them first. #2, it teaches them that there are some things in a meal that you don't like, but you need to try them to get to the good stuff.
Once you start trying to add veggies, it's really easy to realize all the different places you can hide them.
Meatballs and Spinach
1 1/2 lb ground meat (beef, turkey or pork or a combo will work)
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
1 whole egg
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds and place the meatballs on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.