4 No-Fuss Tips for Hiding Vegetables

These tips will make your children excited to eat their vegetables.

Getting kids to eat more vegetables is a chore for any parent. Children eat candy, soda and chips with gusto but stubbornly turn their noses up at a plate of peas and carrots. Yet as a parent, you know vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Luckily, we’ve got four easy tips to sneak vegetables into your kids’ meals:

Tip 1: Swap normal carbs for healthy veggies

Kids love calorie-filled, carbalicious treats like chips, Tater Tots and dinner rolls. With a little creative thinking, you can replace these starches with healthy vegetable choices. Swap white rice, spaghetti and burger buns for cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles and sweet potato buns. For inspiration, start with Hungry Girl’s Fully Loaded Burrito Bowl, which includes cauliflower, bell pepper and black beans.

Tip 2: Add green veggies to fruit smoothies for a burst of nutrients

Nothing cools you down like a smoothie in the summertime, but most store-bought options are loaded with corn syrup. Make your own using combinations of almond milk, frozen vegetables and other assorted goodies. Throw in some kale, spinach or collards for a frozen treat that’s chock-full of iron, calcium, fiber and vitamin C. Your smoothie options are unlimited, but if you don’t know where to start, try the Peanut Butter and Banana Green Smoothie recipe from Eat This, Not That!

A green smoothie in a mason jar next to a bundle of spinach.Blend smoothies with leafy green veggies and other treats.

Tip 3: Ditch the bland, boring and boiled

Unfortunately, most people think throwing a bag of frozen peas into the microwave is the height of cooking vegetables. That, or they boil everything until what’s left is a mushy mess. No wonder kids make a face! Add some excitement by lightly cooking your veggies and mixing in a variety of spices. Huffington Post suggested some great, sodium-free spice options. Follow the instructions, add the spice to a stir fry and relax as your kids chow down.

Tip 4: Make vegetables the star of the show

Science proves it: Kids are more likely to choose vegetables on their own if these foods are often served as their only option. Researchers from the University of Minnesota conducted a lunchroom study where they observed kids’ responses to food and choice. When children lining up for lunch were given carrots to snack on while they waited, they were more likely to choose a second serving of vegetables later on.

Try this in your own kitchen by letting your kids munch low-calorie green veggies like celery or romaine lettuce while you cook. Alternatively, make a meal where vegetables are the entree. You can adapt this risotto recipe from Dr. Orlena Kerek to use cauliflower rice and experiment with different vegetables.

Gina Russell is a lover of Thai food, feminist prose, and music of the indie rock persuasion. When she’s not writing or reading up on health and education, she’s drinking coffee or binge watching “The Office.”