Pretty much every kid goes through a phase where they seem to be surviving off of nothing but mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, pizza, or some other combination of delicious but not super healthy foods. Developing food preferences is a perfectly normal part of growing up, but for some children, it can go a little too far for mom's and dad's comfort. If your kiddo is going through a picky eating phase and you're just looking to get a few more food groups in them, some of these hidden veggie recipes for toddlers and kids could become your new mealtime secret weapons.
Hiding veggies isn't necessarily a strategy that you'll want to employ long-term — you want kids to know and appreciate what they're eating, according to Parents, and be able to make their own healthy food choices. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and it's just as accurate to think of them as "extra" veggies as it is to call them "hidden."
The recipes on this list can help make your child's comfort food favorites a little more nutritious, or give sweet treats a healthier twist. There's a good chance your kid will scarf them down, and significantly up their veggie intake in the process.
1. Smoothie Pops
Simply Today Life's smoothie pops are the perfect healthy and refreshing treat for a hot day. This recipe shows you how easy it is to make them with berries and leafy greens. Just think of all the money you'll save by handing these out for dessert instead of making trips to the ice cream truck this summer.
2. Veggie Muffins
These little toddler muffins from The Lean Green Bean pack a powerful nutritious punch. They're loaded with zucchini, carrot, and apples, and have got some glowing reviews from parents who say their kids gobbled them up.
3. Veggie Pouch Mac And Cheese
It's What Works For Us has a super simple hack for adding some veggies to macaroni and cheese — just squeeze in a toddler veggie pouch. It's a great option for when you're totally pressed for time to cook, but still want to get something packed with vitamins on the table.
4. Veggie Packed Pizza Rolls
Yes, you can make pizza healthier. Super Healthy Kids includes a whopping nine different types of veggies in this red sauce recipe, and shows you to how to whip up homemade pizza rolls to dip in it. You might want to make some extra to steal some for yourself.
Carrots give these meatballs from Yummy Toddler Food an extra dose of nutrition. The recipe includes cooking time tips for making the meatballs regular sized, or making mini kid-sized versions.
6. Chocolate Avocado Pudding
What kid wouldn't want to eat up this adorable, healthy chocolate pudding from Eats Amazing? Avocados are the main ingredient, and the recipe can easily be made vegan if you're dealing with any dairy allergies. Just make sure to make a batch big enough for your kiddo to go back for seconds.
7. Veggie Nuggets
One batch of these veggie packed nuggets from Real Mom Nutrition should make about 25 nuggets. They're totally freezable, so you can get a few days worth of meals out of them.
8. Baked Ziti With Hidden Veggies
This baked ziti from Fun Money Mom is packed with extra spinach, zucchini and mushrooms, and of course, lots and lots of cheese. It's a perfection option for when you're looking for something easy and filling.
9. Veggie Quesadilla
A Mindful Mom puts a healthy spin on cheese quesadillas by adding pureed butternut squash. The recipe includes the step by step process of preparing the squash, which is easy to follow even if you've never cooked one from scratch before.
10. Fruit (And Veggie!) Snacks
My 3-year-old loves chowing down on fruit snacks, but I try to limit how often she eats them due to all the sugar. These homemade fruit snacks from Dessert for Two could be the perfect compromise, however. There are recipes for two different flavors: mango carrot, and strawberry beet.