Getting my kids to eat more vegetables has been much easier since our green monster and smoothie revolution, but there is always room for more. Sneaking vegetables into food is not a new idea. Jessica Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious is quite popular, and has some great recipes; my friend Suzanne is a real fan, so my kids have eaten several of the DD recipes over at the Carver house. We've had the chocolate brownies with pureed cauliflower in them, and the chicken that is coated in pureed broccoli and then breaded and baked.
But the great thing is, Skyler will eat a giant bowl of broccoli, lick her fingers, and ask for more. And Reed will shovel in a whole bowl of peas, and ask for more. So I don't have to be sneaky very often.
Some people are very fired up about the notion of sneaking veggies into kids' diets. Read this!
"Sneaking perpetuates a cycle of unhealthy control. It robs children of their ability to decide what they want to eat for themselves and hampers their ability to trust their parents to provide foods they like. Moreover, sneaking stunts kids’ ability to grow to appreciate new foods – foods they may need to be exposed to numerous times before they enjoy them" (emphasis mine) (source).
Wow. Yikes. Well, I certainly am not a fan of "robbing children" of anything, so let's just take it easy. I just figure if you can get an extra serving of veggies in to your children in good-tasting products, there is only good to come of it.
Here are a few of our favorite vegetable-fortified foods, none of which are brand new ideas, just reminders.
Annie's White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, and with the squash mixed in, the color takes on a very fake-cheese hue. Kids love that fake-cheese hue! Here is a great recipe if you want to make it from scratch.
When I serve this to the kids, Skyler says: "Mmmm. Extra cheesy!" (hampering her ability to trust?)
Next is trusty zucchini bread. My kids love this as a snack, breakfast, or a side with dinner. I always double the recipe and freeze one. The recipe was developed by Suzanne, and it's much healthier than your average variety. See the green bits of goodness?
Suzanne's Zucchini Bread: MIX: 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1.5 tsp baking soda, 1.5 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 4 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 cup wheat germ. Set aside. THEN MIX: 2 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup apple sauce, 1/4 cup honey, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 4 cups grated zucchini, raisins and nuts as you like. ADD dry ingredients to wet and mix. BAKE at 350 for 1 hour.
Sweet Potato Bread: Next, if you are into making yeast bread, it is very easy to add sweet potatoes or pureed squash to the dough.
this recipe that will help you get started.
Best for last: I'm really proud of these carrot-apple muffins, because I have changed the recipe enough from its original source that I can safely call it my own, and they are SO GOOD (insert image of Sam, Skyler and Reed demolishing a fresh batch just out of the oven).
Emilie's Carrot Apple Muffins:
MIX: 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup apple sauce, 1/2 stick melted butter, 3 eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla. ADD: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt. THEN ADD: 2 1/2 cups shredded carrot, 1 1/2 cups chopped apple and 1 cup raisins (add nuts too if you want).
POUR batter into greased muffin tins and bake for 35 minutes at 350.
I think your kids will still trust you if you make these muffins. No worries.