Recipes from moms who won't stop at "ew"

Parents of picky eaters know getting vegetables into kids' mouths can require the negotiation skills of a SWAT team. But no one enjoys wrangling at the dinner table, even when he or she really wants to instill a love of wholesome foods. We asked the moms of some especially finicky kids to help by sharing their time-tested, stealthy tips and recipes.

By GreatSchools Staff

smoothie popsicle

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.

Photo credit: Jessica Merz

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

Photo credit: pengrin

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

Photo credit: FoodThinkers

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

Photo credit: Robin

Omelet

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

Photo credit: CurryPuffy

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

Photo credit: thebittenword.com

Sweet potato treats

“Sweet potatoes might be one of the only veggies that are slightly easier to get picky eaters 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

Photo credit: Wendy