Note from Hint Mama: Like most toddlers, my 2-year-old daughter has decided that she doesn’t like broccoli, peas and certain other vegetables. To help make sure she gets her daily veggie serving, I’m using some of the great tips below from Hint Mama contributor Laura Grice, founder of the site Mamahacks.
It’s no secret that veggies are not a favorite of most toddlers. In fact, studies have found that young children’s aversion to the green stuff is part of a survival instinct, to help them avoid harmful or poisonous plants.
So while I’ll keep trying to fight evolution, what to do in the meantime? After many (and I mean MANY) attempts at convincing my 20-month-old son that a taste of broccoli won’t in fact kill him, I’ve resorted to hiding veggies wherever I can, so I can be sure he’s getting what he needs. Today’s hint is a few of my most successful tactics.
1. Blend them: Smoothies are a great way to pack in extra nutrients. My basic recipe includes milk (any kind will do), frozen greens and a banana, plus whatever add-ins I have on hand. Some of my faves are flax seeds, baby cereal (for extra iron), almond butter and chia seeds.
2. Bake with them: These days, I rarely bake anything that does not contain at least a little bit of grated or pureed veggies. A couple of our faves include these green smoothie muffins from Super Healthy Kids and these incredibly quick and easy cookies, in which I usually include grated zucchini and carrot.
3. Add them to their favorite foods: I never imagined how many ways you could use veggie purees until the Bubs became a toddler. I’ve had the most success with cauliflower, sweet potato and butternut squash, any of which mix well with mac and cheese, one of my son’s current favorites. I also hide cauliflower in grilled cheese, and mix sweet potato into pancake batter and French toast.
4. Get inspired: There are loads of great sources for finding recipes with hidden veggies (and other stuff your little one might not eat willingly), but the best I’ve found so far are Super Healthy Kids, The Sneaky Chef and Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious.
What are your tricks for getting your little ones to eat their vegetables?
Laura Grice is the founder of Mamahacks and a full-time mom. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and nearly 2-year old son. Currently taking a break from her previous life as a healthcare communications professional, she spends most of her time tickling tummies, playing with choo-choo trains and singing “The Wheels on the Bus.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.