How To Hide Vegetables In Food For Picky Eaters: 29 Simple Tips

As a team of parents with toddlers, are children who once were toddlers, we understand that one of the most challenging parts of parenting is trying to get nutrients into your little one. There are all sorts of tips, tricks and simple hacks that can be used to “hide” vegetables in food for picky eaters, when all else fails and you need them to eat a new food (or any food at that!).

We’ve compiled a list of our 29 most effective tips for hiding those veggies below:

29 Ways To Hide Vegetables in Food For Picky Kids 

1. Sneaky Bottle Refill

The hack that has been most effective for us is the sneaky ketchup bottle refill. When your family have finished their bottle of much-loved ketchup, blend up a new, home-made batch with tomato (obviously) and other veg of choice. Be sure to puree until there are absolutely no lumps or bumps at all. Watch your child gobble it up because it came out of a familiar bottle 

2. Kid-Friendly Smoothies

Another favorite in our house is any smoothie that passes the “yummy” test (hint:looks like chocolate) – with spinach or other readily available leafy greens thrown in there – totally hidden and straight into the tummy. 

3. Blitz Bonanza

The food processer / blender is your friend. Blitz whatever veg is the same color as the meal you are prepping for your toddler, and hide it in there! (i.e peppers in ketchup)

4. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes can also be a total life-saver. Just blitz steamed cauliflower in with the potatoes for some extra veggies to sneak in there. 

5. Mac Cheese

As above like the mash potatoes – blitz some cauliflower (or any white/cream coloured veg) and sneak it in to the Mac n Cheese sauce

6. Red Sauce

Pizza and pasta sauce is another good way to hide veggies for those fussy eater toddlers – just blitz up your veggies of choice and sneak them into that red sauce! Make sure there are no lumps and bumps because then you lose the game! 

7. Cheese, cheese, cheese

When all else fails…..cover it in cheese! Even as an adult, if I don’t really want to eat something thats “good for me”, I cover it in cheese and gobble it down. 

8. Homemade Burgers

Home-made burger patties are another good way to sneak veggies into your child’s food. Check out this recipe from Healthy Little Foodies for inspiration . Have a look through their website, it’s got all sorts of hidden veggie recipes available!

9. Embrace The Favorites

Another good way to hide veggies is in foods that are already your child’s favorite. E.g pasta, pizza, burgers. Just be sure to take it slowly so they don’t notice a big change in flavor or texture straight away – heaven forbid they find out that they are eating a healthy food.

10. Savoury Muffins

There are many recipes out there for savoury muffins that include hidden vegetables – we love this recipe from My Kids Lick the Bowl –  we call them cheese cakes and Freddie gobbles them up ! 

11. Chocolate Black-Bean Brownies

This recipe is on heavy rotation in our house. With the inclusion of black beans and avo, your kids are getting extra nutrients and protein too – and they are DELICIOUS. 

12. Fries

Fries – what kid doesn’t love fries – and even pick eaters will jump on board with sweet potato fries for an extra nutrient boost. Easy – kids love sweet potatoes.

13. Model behavior 

You’ve probably noticed by now that toddlers remember, and copy EVERYTHING you do. So get munching on your own greens, and maybe they will follow along!

14. Pizza

This one works a treat especially if you involve your kid in the making of the pizza’s in the first place. Sneaking bell peppers in with any tomato sauces is a great trick – marinara sauce is a good one to hide them in as the flavour is already so strong.

15. Cook together 

Get your fussy eaters involved in cooking with you. I always find that if they are involved at all – even in going to the supermarket – they really are much more likely to eat up come dinner time.

16. Cookies 

Cookies, like brownies, are a great way to hide hidden nutrients. There are such a variety of vegetables that can be hidden in a ‘treat’ – grated carrot is a really good one to hide in any cookie – even if the recipe doesn’t call for it – just hide a bit in there! If it amps the moisture up too much, just add a bit more of the dried goods in the recipe.

17. Creamy sauces 

Most children (and adults alike!) are fans of the creamy sauce. Creamy sauces are an easy way to sneak pureed cauliflower, fennel, onion and garlic in to it – any white or cream/ish veg will be well hidden in both sight and taste,

18. Fun presentation 

You know the images you see of plates of food arranged as smiley faces – that’s what i’m talking about here! Kids are seriously more likely to eat what’s on their plate if it is fun or silly! Bonus points if you let them arrange their own food silly face.

19. Popsicles 

I actually should have put Popsicles higher up the list as these are a brilliant way to sneak veggies in. Make a veggie-loaded smoothie or juice, put in home-made popsicle stick, pop in freezer and watch your kids gobble them up.

20. Nuggets 

An age-old childhood favorite – chicken nuggets! Supermarkets have finally caught on and you can now even by pre-packed nuggets with hidden veg already in them! Because who can be bothered to make them from scratch!

21. Start small 

Go easy with the hidding of the veggies so they don’t notice the flavour or texture change straight away. Start small then increase the amounts as their little taste buds get used to it all.

22. Openly Display

Now, this may seem a bit contradictory, but try serving the sneaky vegetable in whole form next to the hidden version – it will start to gradually get them used to the idea of having that vegetable on their plate and one day, when they decide to take a bit, they’ll find they like it because their taste buds are already used to it after all of the sneaking you’ve done in to their mouths already!

23. Dips 

Pretty much every toddler and baby I’ve ever known has loved shoving hummus into their mouths (and all over their faces, hands and arms!) – so why not make your own and sneak some other goodness in to it too! The flavors within hummus are already so overpowering, they will never know!

24. Mask the taste 

When all else fails, sneak it in but make sure you mask the taste of the sneaky veg – whether it’s with cheese, or salt or herbs and spices – if you need to disguise the flavor to get it in to that mouth, then do it!

25. A Gradual Increase

Next time you go to serve the same meal as you have already served with some form of hidden veg, try increasing the ammount of that veg – just enough so that your fussy eater won’t notice – but enough that one day, with enough attempts, they may actually eat the damn thing with no hiding!

26. Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is another great, inoffensive veggie that is great to puree and hide in sauces and sweet treats. The best way i’ve seen another mama use squash was to puree it and use at as pizza sauce for the base of the kids pizzas – they never even noticed!

How To Hide Vegetables In Food For Picky Eaters: FAQs

  1. Is it possible to be ok if you don’t eat vegetables? Meat and dairy products also include a lot of the nutrients that are present in plants. Consequently, it is possible to obtain them without eating veggies. However, nutrients don’t work in the body by themselves. For them to fulfil their jobs, there must be balance.
  2. What vegetables do kids dislike the most? The following vegetables are among the ones that very few kids will eat: Brussels sprouts, turnips, swedes, cabbage, and spinach.
  3. How do you train your tastebuds to like vegetables? Try cooking veggies with bacon, onion, garlic, vinegar, or other flavourings, or top cooked vegetables with toasted almonds. If you’re not used to them, brassicas like kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts might taste bitter. To enhance the flavour after cooking, try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a dash of vinegar.
  4. How do you hide spinach in food for kids? Children who dislike the “appearance” of particular foods can benefit from hiding the spinach by combining them in smoothies with fruits like blueberries. Make them privately in your kitchen so that the kids aren’t aware that they’re consuming some of the healthiest drinks you can create.

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