Getting kids to eat vegetables is not always an easy task. Because they are low in calories, sugar, fat, and salt, many kids find the taste of vegetables less than appealing. The good news? We can make them taste good!
For some kids, it may be as simple as serving vegetables with another dish they really enjoy or letting them get involved in meal prep. Others may happily indulge in carrot sticks or broccoli if they are paired with their favorite dip like guacamole or hummus. For many kids, though, to make veggies more appetizing it may be necessary to serve them in unexpected ways - even if that means sneaking them into some of your child's favorite foods.
If you have a picky eater, here are some recipes to help you to just that!
Veggie packed burgers
2 lbs ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey)
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini, finely grated
1/2 large carrot, grated
1/2 large green apple, grated
1/2 cup (about 1 bunch) parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together well using clean hands.
Form into patties and set aside the ones you need. Place the remaining patties into resealable bags, separating each patty with baking paper.
Heat a grill or frying pan over medium heat and spray with cooking oil. Cook patties for 4-5 minutes per side, or until done. Do not overcook or they will be dry.
Place patties on burger buns with salad ingredients and add your favorite condiments.
Blend all ingredients together. Add more milk if the smoothie is too thick (frozen fruit will make the smoothie thicker). You could also make a smoothie bowl!
Veggie Red Sauce
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 zucchini, shredded
few handfuls baby spinach
sprinkle or two of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat the oil in a saucepan with the onions and garlic. Sauté them until they begin to soften and caramelize. Pour in the tomatoes, toss in salt and pepper, oregano, carrots, bell pepper and zucchini. Simmer for roughly 20 minutes.
Stir in the spinach and continue simmering briefly as it wilts and heats through.
To minimize mess, purée the sauce with an immersion blender directly in the pot, or use a food processor or blender. Reheat as needed, then serve with your family’s favorite pasta.
Jessica Buschmann, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian with Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine. As part of her role at Nationwide Children’s, she provides nutrition services to Ohio Dominican University’s athletic teams and the general student population.
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