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How to Hide Veggies in Your Kids' Meals

Updated March 24, 2020
Having trouble getting your kids to eat their veggies? Try these sneaky tips.
When it comes to getting kids to eat something new or healthy, presentation is everything. One way to up their veggie intake is by sneaking them into foods they love.

Shred Them Up

turkey kale meatballs and spaghetti

There are so many ways to camouflage shredded vegetables that kids will never suspect they are eating them. Shredded carrots, zucchini, onions and peppers mix nicely in ground meat dishes—from meatloaf and meatballs to burgers and ground beef helpers. Carrots and zucchini take on the flavors of the foods they are in and onions and peppers add savory flavors to make the meal even better. Just be sure you shred or chop the veggies finely enough that they can't be detected by the suspicious eye of a finicky child.

Mix Them In

cauliflower green chile mac and cheese

When you are making a favorite dinner, think about what vegetables are similar in taste and texture to the foods you are making. Find ways to combine veggies with much loved meals.

Cauliflower can easily go unnoticed when mashed in with creamy potatoes. Try a combo of two-thirds spuds to one-third florets. Mash some cooked butternut squash or carrots and disguise it as part of the sauce in your family's favorite mac and cheese.

Purée carrots, cucumbers and cabbage and stir the mixture into spaghetti or pizza sauce. Cook some spaghetti squash and mix the stringy strands with pasta. Once topped with sauce and sprinkled with cheese, your kiddos will never suspect how healthy their meal is.

Tuck Them Under

mini shepherds pie

When you are dishing up something they really love, you can hide vegetables in meals for kids almost in plain sight. Layers of squash atop the pasta of your famous lasagna will be perfectly concealed. Thin slices of veggies just under the bubbling cheese of a homemade pizza probably won't be perceived. Slide mushroom bits into a chicken and cheese quesadilla and watch them dig in.

Turn Them into a Drink

strawberry kale smoothie

Not many kids will turn up their noses at a creamy after school smoothie. That doesn't mean you have to tell them it is made with pureed carrots or celery. If you are lucky enough to have a juicer, your options are nearly endless. Mix sweet, juicy fruits with compatibly flavored veggies, pour into glasses and hand them straws.

Sweeten Them Up

raspberry swirl zucchini brownies

You can't go wrong with sweet treats and desserts. Zucchini bread dotted with chocolate chips will be gobbled up, especially when you call it "Mom's Choco Bread." Make chocolate cake with tomato soup or pureed beets in the mix. They will devour it with no questions asked. Pumpkin muffins, carrot cake and sweet potato pie are all delicious ways to hide vegetables in meals for kids. With delicious treats like these, you might just start eating healthier, too.