Food battles can be epic. They can also slowly drain a parent’s will to make sure their child eats well. Here, a few moms share their tried-and-true ideas for sneaking veggies into snacks and meals for their picky eater.

An egg-cellent disguise

“It’s not all that clandestine, but I put mashed veggies in my son’s scrambled eggs in the morning. I’ve done cauliflower, squash, and broccoli (not all together) — he seemed to like the added texture and eats it regularly. I also tried bell pepper strips, but those totally bombed. For the record, I’d encourage people to add extra-yummy stuff too. I add lemon ricotta to the broccoli eggs — it’s delicious. Why not add extra-yummy stuff, in addition to extra-healthy stuff? I started doing this because I hate to throw out food but then realized it was a way to get some extra veggies in there.”

— Laura

Smoothie popsicles

“My favorite sneaky kid recipe is for smoothie popsicles. You can sneak pretty much anything healthy into a smoothie, and when you make it into a popsicle, it becomes a portable, nutritious snack. I usually add plain yogurt and soymilk, fresh or frozen berries, and bananas. Pour the mixture into ready-made popsicle molds, and you have an easy snack that can even be breakfast to go!”

— Jennifer F.

Good-for-you garnish

“My kids love toasted wheat germ sprinkled on their ice cream. I know ice cream is not a health food, but when they have it as a treat, they might as well get a touch of something healthy along with it. I was laughing last night when they were arguing about who got extra wheat germ on the ice cream [because] they have no idea it’s good for them. Flaxseed is another power food that’s easy to add to everything, including smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt.”

— Naomi

Drinkable salad

“The only thing that works for us is juicing — yes, I juice a bunch (literally) of kale, two carrots, 1/3 beet, and one to two oranges, then dilute with water (50-50 ratio). I also add a multivitamin to the mix. I’m amazed that it works because it’s an incredibly earthy-tasting juice and not very sweet at all.”

— Lisa

Cheesy cover-ups

“Add pureed or mashed veggies to a grilled cheese or quesadilla. I’ve chopped up sauteed spinach and attempted to hide it inside a grilled cheese sandwich. It worked a few times until [my son] got smart enough to notice it and start picking it out.”

— Molly

Sneaky sauces

“If your kid will eat tomato sauce on pasta, it’s easy to hide veggies in [the dish]. Either chop or puree mushrooms, onion, carrots, celery, and spinach, and add to the sauce.”

— Paula

Sweet potato treats

“Sweet potatoes might be one of the only veggies that are slightly easier to get a picky eater to ingest. But if yours still won’t, try slicing them into fries and seasoning with salt, or baking and pureeing them to add to a pancake mix for breakfast.”

— Julie

What about lunch?

Packing a healthy lunch — only to have it come back untouched — can be tough to fix. Get some lunch inspiration here: 5 ways to make lunch more fun, 7 secrets of highly successful lunches, and Beyond the sandwich: lunch ideas.

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