Vanessa Pike-Russell

Tell me, how do you get your fussy kids to eat vegetables?

I quite often have fussy eaters at my house. As a kid I was a fussy eater myself and would take hours to finish a meal if it included brussell sprouts, silverbeet or zucchini. I hated them with a passion! Nowadays I love all my vegetables, with the exception of brussell sprouts. I encourage children to try a little of everything on their plate and provide vegetables that are milder in flavour such as Bok Choy, Carrot, mashed potato (with pumpkin and creamed cauliflower) and after some perseverance I have been able to widen the range of vegetables that kids will eat. If that doesn't work then it's time to get sneaky :) 

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When making a bolognaise, hamburger patty or fish cake I add grated or pureed vegetables. Carrot adds a sweetness which kids often enjoy and helps to mask the flavours of stronger vegetables such as cauliflower.

Another method to encourage kids (and some adults!) to eat their vegetables is to provide a range of chopped or sliced vegetables for the kids to putting on a personalised pizza. Common favourites are  sliced champignions (milder flavour than mushroom); baby spinach leaves or bok choy; root vegetables such as sweet potato or pumpkin; adding pureed vegetables to the tomato base;  adding a touch of pesto to garnish. 

Be clear up front that if they take anything off the pizza it will be taken away and it will be replaced with a big bowl of the vegetables instead. They don't have to eat all of their pizza but no part of the topping can come off once cooked. Given the choice of two options they'll usually decide to go for the option they hate the least and even a veggie laden pizza is better than none at all :) 

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Another nifty way to hide vegetables is to cook and puree vegetables and add them to recipes such as macaroni and cheese as a 'white puree'. A few years back I saw a Today Tonight feature on the Sneaky Chef cookbook and its white, green, orange and purple purees to sneak vegetables and nutrition into kid-friendly food.

The white puree is made up of cauliflower, zucchini, lemon juice and water.
The 'green puree' made of spinach, broccoli, peas and water and is used in recipes such as the  speedy lasagne recipe
The 'purple puree' is made of baby spinach leaves, blueberries, lemon juice and water. 

The 'orange puree' is made with sweet potato or yam, carrots and water. 

You can read more about these sneaky recipes in her book 
The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals  

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for
 Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals

By Missy Chase Lapine

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8 Responses

  1. 玉苓 Says:

    pleasure to find such a good artical! please keep update!! ........................................

  2. 琦竹 Says:

    謝謝您囉~~看您的分享文章是個很好的經驗~~ ........................................

  3. Hi everyone,

    My wife has written a cook book (and writes a blog) on exactly this topic. "Vegie Smugglers" is for everyone who is struggling to find ideas and inspiration for tasty, easy meals that sneak vegies into meals for kids, teens and grown ups -

    It's home-grown Australian (not US or UK) and the whole thing is dedicated to helping mums (and dads) feed their kids well. It's designed for the whole family to enjoy the same quick, tasty, healthy meal without having to cook multiple meals every night.

    Check it out, I know it works, because it's my wife's work and my vegie-munching kids and I are living proof!


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