Do you dream that your children – or in my case husband – will ask this question at the dinner table?
You’re not alone – It’s just a dream in my home too! Do you know that ideally we would consume 9 – 1/2 cup servings of fruits and vegetables a day and should have no less than 5! Some of my friends seem mystified by how many vegetables my children eat, so I’m giving away my secret.
Many people are familiar with hiding puree’s in your food. I do use this technique, but need it less and less as my children eat their vegetables without me having to hide them.
My secret is diced mixed vegetables. Every week I dice up a giant dish full of mixed vegetables – this mix typically contains onions, red pepper, green pepper, zucchini, and celery. Sometimes I will add grated carrot or diced yellow squash. Really you can add almost anything.
Once you have this mix – add it to everything you cook that week at the end of 5-7 days cook up whatever is left and put it in the freezer for use on a day when you are out of the fresh mix.
We use this mix to up the veggie count in spaghetti sauce (1/2 vegetable and 1/2 meat), shepherd’s pie, tuna noodle casseroles and other comfort foods. I put it in mac & cheese, quesidilla, enchilladas, burritos, rice pilaf, soups, ready made spaghetti sauces (my kids never met a noodle they didn’t love!) and eggs. Basically if I’m cooking – there are mixed vegetables going in.
Once the mixed vegetables are in, I also add chopped frozen spinach to most dishes and other vegetables that are part of the dish. For example, in our home peas are part of shepherd’s pie and tuna casserole.
It’s also a good idea to add flax meal to any dish that will hide it’s dark color, 1-2 tablespoons in the sauce. A tablespoon in the pancakes or french toast egg mix. You won’t taste it, but you will amp up the nutritional value.
So there you have it. You are hiding vegetables, but they still know they are there.
Some of you may find your eaters pick around the vegetables (I’m OK with this, they can’t get them all) and in my experience they will eventually give up with most dishes. My daughter used to pick around the vegetables in spaghetti sauce and after enough nights of “you can’t have more noodles until you eat the sauce”… the sauce is now eaten with the noodles.
We just need to be more persistent and consistent than they are.