I don’t know how, but a baby who has never ever touched a bite of food in his entire life will decide that anything green is the enemy. I was lucky with my oldest. He was the opposite of this; he was a garbage disposal from day one. His favorite food was broccoli for the longest time. He still regularly chows down raw veggies and love it.
Then there was Baby Number 2.
From the very beginning, he refused to eat anything green. Even now, he won’t even eat green tortellini! Kiwi? Nope. And just forget veggies. He is THE pickiest eater. Ever.
But, like all of us, he NEEDS to eat his veggies! So how in the world can we get him to eat?
Here are some of my favorite ways to sneak veggies into kids’ food!
Yes, some of them are… let’s just say… “bending the truth.” But for right now, I’m ok with it as long as it means that he’s not on a strictly meat and potatoes diet!
I told my son that spaghetti comes from spaghetti squash.
Yes. It’s a lie. A downright lie. But in our Paleo-eating house, it’s the only spaghetti he’s going to get! So we have spaghetti (squash) and meatballs. A little salt and pepper seasoning and adding a spoonful of meatballs and sauce, is all it takes to take a squash from blah to kid-friendly.
Mix greens in with your ground beef.
Yes, I mean it. Especially with tacos. Kids love tacos (see my point on tacos below).Take 2 heads of steamed broccoli, put it through the blender and knead it into 1 lb. ground beef. Throw it all in the pan and cook like you usually do, adding taco seasoning and whatever else you use in your tacos.
This tricks picky husbands, too! I’d been doing this for YEARS before my husband actually saw what I had been doing. He thinks I stopped… but I haven’t!
Blend it ALLLLLL up into soup
Steam carrots and green beans, and cook butternut squash and sweet potato. Put everything in the blender (this is the one I’ve had for years!) with enough broth (vegetable, chicken or beef, it doesn’t matter) to get everything blended nicely so you can’t see any little chunks (especially anything green).
Pour into a pot and cook on low for 20. You can re-blend in the blender to get any remaining chunks if you need to. And boom: Picky Eater Soup. Pour over rice or quinoa or anything that can bulk it up so it’s easier for kids to eat.
Or, if soup sounds too messy, you can make purees.
You know the squeeze pouches that are everywhere? And are SO expensive? My boys love them. All 3 of them. But I’m not paying $1.50 for each of those things; my boys go through one of them in 20 seconds!
Solution: make your own. Get a great reusable squeeze (this has been my favorite for 6 years! They’re truly the best). Puree fruits and veggies. A good ratio for the best response from little ones is between 50 and 75% fruit to 25-50% veggies. There are a million different recipes out there to try based on what your child likes best. My favorite thing about the squeezes: the kids can’t see the color of their food! No more up-turned noses at green (or more likely, brown) puree!
Calling anything “cheesy” never fails
I got some orange cauliflower at a farmer’s market over the summer and I froze it all. I knew I wanted to add it to some soup for my son, but I doubt that he’d eat it. So I called it “cheesy cauliflower.” And sure enough, it worked! He ate it up!
Call anything “candy” helps too
Any time I make sweet potato, we call it “candy sweet potato.” It sounds silly, but it really works. Butternut squash is just “candy butter” to my 2 year old; he loves candy and he loves butter… why not tell him he’s eating both!
Kids love tacos. Maybe it’s that they get to eat their food with their hands, but whatever the reason, they love tacos. When I started making my taco meat with the broccoli, I started playing around with refried beans. I did the same thing to the beans to add some secret greens.
Steam a head of broccoli, puree it, mix it in with refried beans, and viola! Added broccoli that your little ones will gobble up and not know the difference.
This may sound ridiculous, but my pickiest eater, the one who will find a minuscule fragment of parsley on his chicken and turn his nose up at the rest of his plate, LOVES green juice. We got some Super Green drink from Suja at our discount grocer and we were sure he’d be put off but the dark green color. Sure enough, he drank it right up! From then on, green drinks are my go to if I can’t get him to eat his veggies.
You can make your own juice, if you’d like. You will need to get a juicer and a lot of fruits and veggies. I like to make mine with spinach, pineapple, and orange. There are a million different juicing recipes that you can try out. The more fruit, the better. I also add about 1/4 tsp. spirulina powder to my son’s juice once it’s done.
Of course every child is different. And every palette is different as well. So far, these are what has worked for me and for my family.
What do you do to get your little ones to eat their veggies?