Looking for healthy recipes for kids? There is so much conflicting information for parents when it comes to how best to feed their kids! It’s hard enough being a parent these days. With all this extra info available on the web, it’s impossible not to feel parent guilt about virtually everything, including what you’re feeding him.
Let’s put your mind to ease over hiding veggies in your kid’s food.
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Watch this Video About Hiding Vegetables in Your Kid’s Food
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Should you hide veggies in your kid’s food? Healthy Recipes for Kids
We all want our kids to eat healthy and are always looking for healthy recipes for kids. Let’s start by saying you can make healthy recipes for kids by hiding veggies, but we recommend you follow these rules so you don’t possibly lose trust with your child. Let me explain.
Don’t Lose Trust
Trust is incredibly important when it comes to eating. It’s important your child trusts that you will not be tricking him into eating something he doesn’t want to eat. Even as adults, we would find this off-putting.
Reflect if your mother or father ever did that for you. How did that make you feel? Were you hesitant the next time you were served food? Were you suspicious if that was happening again?
Ultimately, we want kids to have a healthy relationship with food. We want to them learn to appreciate healthy foods on their own without being tricked or manipulated.
Hiding Vegetables Is Ok, Serve the Veggies On the Side
It’s ok to hide vegetables as long as you also serve them on the side. That means if you are adding zucchini into their muffins, make sure you offer some zucchini along with a meal at some point in the day.
Kids need to be exposed to a large variety of vegetables in order to feel comfortable enough to even consider tasting the vegetable. With enough exposures and you modeling eating the vegetables, your child may come around to actually liking the way zucchini tastes.
If you are always hiding vegetables, your child may not learn to grow up and appreciate the vegetable on its own.
Plus, your child has to eat a number of zucchini muffins to get a serving of vegetables. It’s great to add veggies to everything, but don’t think because your child ate a zucchini muffin that your child got a serving of zucchini. Sniff, sniff. It doesn’t mean don’t do it. The goal overtime is to get your kids to learn to eat zucchinis as a side dish and not just in muffin form.
The goal over time is to get your kids to learn to eat zucchinis as a side dish and not just in muffin form. Looking for healthy recipes for kids? Check out our mega recipe gallery.
Let’s Change Our Perspective on Hiding Vegetables
I don’t think of it as hiding vegetables, but instead, I add vegetables to virtually everything I make to displace meat and refined carbs like breadcrumbs or panko.
I want to eat more vegetables for my health and for my kid’s health. I don’t shy away from telling my kids that I’ve added zucchini in the food, pumpkin or flax seed. I want them to know I am adding these foods from a young age.
When I make a garbanzo bean pizza crust, I announce that the crust is made of garbanzo beans. So far they have been turned off by the sound of it but luckily, I found it to be delicious and I ate it all myself 😉
Be proud that you are adding more vegetables to your dishes!
I make a point to add pureed spinach to meatballs and other heavy sauced meals. My family loved the meatballs and sauce and we manage to get another serving of vegetables in. Finding healthy recipes for kids is hard since kids can sometimes have a limited palate, but know that if you work hard, you can get kids to expand how many foods they eat.
Check out our mega list of meal ideas to get inspired and to help you with meal planning.
Consistency is Key
It’s through constant exposure to a variety of foods that will eventually help your child try new foods.
It can take 10-20 exposure times before a child would even feel comfortable enough to touch or taste a food.
Most parents give up well before! Don’t give up!
Your child might not like the food at first, but that doesn’t mean you should give in! Instead, you double down and keep exposing him to new foods.
It might take another 10-20 times for your child to try these foods. Then, he should acquire a taste for it. You are teaching your child to learn to eat his veggies by repetition; just like how you teach your child how to read by repetition. Don’t give up!
There is a fine line between offering the food multiple times and pressuring your child to eat the food. Remember to be neutral about your child’s eating at all times. And, if your child gawks at eating a vegetable, just say, “it’s ok, you don’t need to eat that” and then carry on enjoying your meal. Those words can be freeing to both you and your child!
There are always going to be those kids that start out as picky eaters but grow up to be foodies. May we all hope our kids become food connoisseurs! Sadly, I know more adults who are picky eaters than I know foodies.
It’s important we stack the deck in our children’s favor to grow up to be food explorers. In order to do that, we need to make sure they know they are knowingly eating Brussels sprouts, zucchini, and squash. But don’t stop there!