7 Awesome Tricks on How to Hide Vegetables in Food for Picky Eaters (With Recipes)
6 mins read
Food & Nutrition for Toddlers
Vegetables are not exactly kids' favorite food and no one knows that better than parents! Needless to say, it forms an essential part of their diet. So if your child resists, you need to persist. Here are some tips to make the task easier by feeding vegetables to toddlers the right way.
"Eat your vegetables" has often been easier said than done! Just getting one’s toddler to keep from spitting them out is a struggle for many moms during mealtimes. If your child hasn’t taken to veggies either, maybe you need to change your game plan and start sneaking veggies into your toddler's food.
Veggies & Healthy Food Choices for Kids
While veggies are among the most difficult foods to feed kids, they are also among the most crucial. Veggies provide children with key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for proper growth and development. Some of the veggies that help meet the nutritional needs for children are:
Red Veggies - red bell peppers (shimla mirch), tomatoes
Toddlers may be wily but you can be wilier! Instead of feeding veggies straight up, slip them into your child’s favourite meal. Most kids won’t even know the difference, so long as it looks appetising and is tasty. Here are a few secret recipes that hide veggies inside them:
A salad is a great way to throw in as many vegetables toddlers will eat. From baby carrots to broccoli, cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn and fresh peas the list is almost never-ending. Top them with some mayonnaise and salad dressing and your baby may take to it more easily.
Note: Mayonnaise is safe for babies above 12 months of age. However, it is not a food that adds a lot of nutritional value, so please use sparingly only. If you want to skip it, the following recipe deliciously uses yogurt - perfect for both adults and kids. Check it out.
Boiled, mushy vegetables may be easier to eat and healthy too, but they don’t have a lot of taste. It’s no wonder toddlers refuse them after a time. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life, so try preparing food in different, toddler-friendly ways. Roasting, steaming and light sautéing are all good options.
Involve Kids in Buying & Preparing Veggies
Child psychologists note that when toddlers are involved in a process, their interest in it increases. This holds true for procuring, cooking and eventually eating as well. A recent study on involving kids in cooking reiterates the fact that as compared to kids who weren't involved in the prep and cooking process, kids who helped their parents cook a meal had a significantly higher vegetable intake! Therefore, involve your kids in the process.Take your kids with you when you go shopping for veggies and let them pick what they want to eat. You can also take them to a farmhouse where they can see veggies growing on plants. While cooking, you can let the child peel, decorate or plate, based on age.
Tip: If you have a garden or backyard, you can also plant veggies and involve your child in caring for the plant. This will fascinate and intrigue him, and when the time comes to pick the vegetable and eat it, he will be much more interested. Some vegetables that you can grow quite easily, with basic experience of gardening, include green chillies, eggplant and beans.
Try These Tasty Vegetable Recipes for Toddlers (Breakfast - Dinner)
Monotony in a baby’s diet can be just as trying as it is for an adult. As a parent who’s trying to feed vegetables to a 16-month-old baby or older, you need to introduce new recipes in their diet to kill the monotony. Have a look at some of these ideas to go with each meal of the day.
Add small slices of finely chopped vegetables to your toddler’s oatmeal, such as in this oats upma recipe
A veggie-scrambled egg. Spinach, mushrooms and red and yellow bell peppers are a scrumptious choice to go with scrambled eggs
As per a recent study on introduction to vegetables during complementary feeding, babies were more likely to eat vegetables like spinach, carrots and broccoli if they were mixed with breastmilk/formula or Rice cereal for a minimum of 12 days. As your baby gets older, he will also have more acceptance towards these vegetables.
Point Out Examples of Other Kids Eating Veggies on Video
As weird as it may sound,the findings of a recent study show that kids between three to five who were shown a video of kids eating a specific vegetable were more likely eat the same themselves! Worth a shot, we'd say!
When you bring fun and variety into diets with interesting vegetable ideas for toddlers, mealtimes need no longer be a struggle. All that’s required is consistency and persistence from your end and, of course, setting a good example yourself. Practice eating vegetables as a part of your daily diet and your toddler will soon follow suit.
What are some of the recipes you’ve tried to get your child to eat veggies? Post them in the Recipe section and showcase your cooking genius!