Sneaking Superfoods Into Kid Favorites
I am a health nut, but as we know kids have a different set of priorities. They care about taste and texture and that’s pretty much it. As a mom, I feel a duty to sneak healthy things into my kids' diets. This is how I do it.
Mix pureed veggies into sauces!
I do this with pesto as we are Italian and this is a favorite of all the kids. If you don’t feel like making your own, Trader Joes make an incredible vegan pesto (we are a plant-based house) that is made with kale!! Ding ding ding! So perfect! The kids don’t even know and my husband likes it better than traditional pesto. I also know people who add pureed carrots into mac and cheese (we are not cheese people but if you are, this is a great idea). If you make pesto from scratch you can also add a little raw spinach or pureed steamed broccoli.
Smoothies are a great way to sneak all sorts of healthy things into our kids. I like to add flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp hearts because there is no taste at all. I also do a little bit of raw spinach, but I can't do too much or it will impact the taste and color of the smoothie.
You can mix so many healthy things into a burger! You can follow a recipe or just make it up. Get creative and think about what veggies are most difficult to get your children to consume and add those in! There are also so many great brands like Dr. Praeger's that have lots of good, whole foods in them without any other garbage.
My daughter loves to dip things. She is 2 years and 4 months old, and thinks dipping is the most fun way to eat. It’s so cute! I give her hummus and crackers and she is happy as can be. There are so many yummy dips you can make or buy, even with added vegetables. I like to buy the hummus with carrots or beets added. The Sabra brand has so many great blends. I am a busy mother so making things entirely from scratch is just not realistic all the time. Buy it and don’t feel guilty!
Mixing just a little bit of carrot juice into orange juice gives kids vitamins without changing the taste of the juice too much. You can also add some beet juice to apple juice. Just a little bit of course but a little is better than nothing. Keep in mind that beets turn #1 and #2 red! So don’t be alarmed when a few hours later if their diaper or the potty is pinkish-red.
You can also experiment with other juices and see what you can get away with. Every kid is different. I found greens and pear combinations at Wegmans that my daughter loves. It’s shocking because it is kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, lemon, and pear. I don’t question it though, I just take the win and hope this continues.
I like to buy the Barilla brand of protein pasta because the first ingredient is still semolina; this is good because it really does taste like regular pasta and for picky kids this is great. All the following ingredients however are lentil, chickpea flour, other bean flours, and spelt flour. This way kids get plant-based protein and micronutrients that they would not have gotten in them otherwise. You can also go with the pasta that is straight lentil flour or chickpea flour, but depending on your child you may not be able to get away with it.
If you have any other clever ideas on how to sneak healthy foods into the bellies of our little ones please share!