Sneaky Chef: How to Introduce Vegetables

If you’ve ever struggled to introduce vegetables to your picky eater, you’re not alone. Getting kids to try new vegetables or eat them at all can be a challenge. 

Avoid the hassle and become a sneaky chef! Learning to hide vegetables in recipes is a great way to start introducing vegetables to your picky eater. 

Not sure what all counts as a vegetable? Foods like beans and peas and get confusing. Learn more on the MyPlate Food Group Gallery!

Blend into smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to hide and introduce vegetables. You can blend fresh or frozen dark leafy greens like spinach or kale straight in. The sweetness of the fruits will mask the taste of the vegetables. Serve it in a solid-colored cup with a lid if they are questionable about the color of foods. 

Introduce vegetables in baking  

Grate vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, or pumpkin and add them to muffins, bread, or cakes. Vegetable purees like pumpkin can also be used to replace some fat or sugars in recipes and helps add moisture to your baked goods. 

We use grated zucchini in our Choose Homemade Zucchini Muffins, which are also naturally sweetened with banana and apple!

Add vegetables to meat based dishes

Grating or finely chopping vegetables like onions, carrots, bell peppers, or zucchini can make them less noticeable in a dish. You can incorporate them into meatballs, burgers, and casseroles. The texture of the meat can help disguise the vegetables and makes it easier to introduce vegetables. 

Introduce vegetables in dips and spreads

Add pureed or finely chopped vegetables to dips and spreads like hummus, guacamole, or salsa. Use vegetables that complement the flavors of your dips like carrots, spinach, or roasted peppers. 

Try dipping whole wheat pita bread slices in our Choose Homemade Spinach Pesto.

Make veggie loaded sauces

Create flavorful sauces by blending vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic together to make a smooth sauce that can be used in pasta dishes or as a topping for pizzas.

Our Choose Homemade Pumpkin Mac & Cheese is a great recipe to try for the first time!

Make soups or stews

Puree or finely chop vegetables like onions, carrots, zucchini or broccoli and add them to soups or stews. Finely chop leafy greens like spinach, kale, or swiss chard and add them at the end of cooking to incorporate with other ingredients.

Introduce vegetables in mashed potatoes

Mash steamed vegetables such as cauliflower, peas, and butternut squash to add more nutrients and extra flavor. This is also a great way to introduce vegetables in a new color in a familiar food. 

We use a half and half mixture of potatoes and cauliflower in our Choose Homemade Mashed Potatoes!


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