spaghetti bolognese

How to sneak vegetables into other foods

By Shelby Morrison, Order Up blog

Although vegetables are delicious and nutritious, it might take some convincing on your part to entice the younger folks in your life or your picky eater friends to eat them. If you struggle to get your child or yourself to eat vegetables, consider getting a little sneaky.

As adults, we are aware of the plenty of fresh, crunchy, crispy and sweet vegetables there are to choose from. We also know that eating them can impact our health in a positive way so we are (hopefully!) more inclined to eat them. It may not be as easy with children. Many children associate negative thoughts with vegetables or think that they don’t taste very good. As a parent or chef trying to feed children, this could be frustrating. If only they could understand the importance of vegetables and learn to realize they can actually be quite flavourful.  There are also instances where adults don’t enjoy every vegetable so incorporating them into other dishes can be a fabulous way to eat them.

Throwing vegetables into other foods is a wonderful way to disguise vegetables. Doing this will ensure that your children get nutrients without putting up a fight. This can be done easily without sacrificing flavour. Take a look at the ideas below of how to sneak vegetables into food.

Bolognese sauce

Ground meat with spices and tomatoes is incredibly delicious, especially when poured over warm noodles. This is sure to be a favourite meal of many children, so why not sneak some veggies into the sauce? Finely chop anything from mushrooms to carrots and they will be undetectable. These will not affect the flavour or texture and your child (or picky adult) will not even know they are eating vegetables.

Smoothies

Whether you are a child or an adult, smoothies are a fantastic way to get plenty of nutrients all at once. Sweet smoothies with fruit are usually preferred, but throwing in a handful of vegetables such as spinach or kale will be beneficial to your health. You won’t even taste the greens, so why not include extra nutrients?

Brownies/chocolate cake

It may be pretty difficult to find someone who doesn’t love brownies. Although these may be a special treat and not a health food, they can get a little makeover. Using healthier ingredients such as whole-wheat flour can make a big difference. However, incorporating ingredients such as zucchini or black beans can add a smooth texture while also providing a ton of fibre, protein and vital nutrients. There will be absolutely no added flavour from these vegetables and the brownies or chocolate cake will taste delicious and moist as usual. That’s a win-win!

Mac and cheese

Always a favourite no matter what your age, we know that macaroni and cheese can be quite an indulgent dish. However, there is no reason why it can’t be made a little healthier. For starters, whoever is eating the mac and cheese won’t notice if you use whole wheat once they are smothered in sauce. Using low-fat cheese is also a smart swap. Adding pureed butternut squash into the sauce will be perfectly disguised since the colour is pretty close to the cheese sauce. It will also add a nice thickness and creaminess that we all desire with mac and cheese.

“Fries”

Those crispy, salty potatoes are a favourite among most people. Since they aren’t the healthiest option, consider swapping out deep fried potatoes for something a little healthier. Firstly, use sweet potatoes and other vegetables such as turnips, parsnips, squash or zucchini. Cut them into the shape of French fries, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and your favourite spices and toss them in the oven. Allow them to get crispy. These will not only be tasty, but can be the perfect swap for deep-fried French fries. The vegetables actually have a little bit of sweetness to them that provides a pleasant flavour.

Maintaining flavour while boosting the health factor of foods is an ideal situation, and incorporating vegetables into foods is easier than you may have thought. Getting vital nutrients is key to staying healthy, so try some of these ideas above.

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