The secret world of veggie-hiding moms

Even the most enthusiastic vegetable lovers can have a hard time getting that five a day.

But when you have kids who act like you’re trying to poison them with peas, it’s even harder. That said, I’m not above suggesting you sneak veggies into your children’s food. Welcome to this episode of Crouching Mother, Hidden Veggies.

Last month when I wrote about getting kids to love their veggies I said I’d be sharing ideas for hiding veggies for the kids who just won’t budge. I must say I’m conflicted about this because I believe our responsibility as parents is to teach good eating habits and willingly eating vegetables is part of that life lesson. But some days you gotta pick your battles. Here are my top tips.

Add pureed veggies to dishes they already like. The secret to adding covert nutrition is to cook and purée your veggies until completely smooth. Think baby food. Some veggies that are great to purée and conceal are butternut squash, pumpkin, spinach, cauliflower, peppers, onion, zucchini, and summer squash.

Prepare these in quantity and freeze in one or two cup portions. Now you can easily slip puréed veggies into soups, skillet meals and casseroles.

Do your kiddies love Macaroni and Cheese? Here’s how to fortify cheese sauce with cauliflower. This is also divine over steamed vegetables.

SNEAKY CHEESE SAUCE

Yield: 1 ½ cups Time: 10 minutes

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

½ cup milk

½ cup cooked, puréed cauliflower

1 tablespoon cream cheese

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper

In a sauce pan melt the butter then add flour, whisk together until bubbly. Add the milk and blend until thickened. Add the puréed cauliflower, cream cheese and cheddar cheese and blend until smooth.

Season to taste.

Make “Everything Spaghetti Sauce.”

Next time you make tomato based pasta sauce throw every veggie you have in the pot, simmer until tender and blend smooth. An emersion blender is perfect but small batches puréed in a blender will do the trick. Good veggies to add are peppers, eggplant, carrot, squash, or spinach. Serve this with pasta, in lasagna, or on pizza. They’ll never know.

Try making “Very Veggie Meatloaf”. Finely mince and sauté onion, celery, carrot and chopped spinach and add to any meatloaf recipe and bake as usual. If you use frozen spinach be sure to defrost and wring dry before adding. Use the same meatloaf mix to make meatballs for irresistible little servings.

These ideas work for anyone interested in increasing the vegetable content of their food, even grown-ups. Now, I have a favor to ask. Would you please add a side of vegetables that kids can see at each meal?

The goal is to offer super nutritious food they’ll eat while continuing to expose them to healthy foods.

Frugal Food Finds contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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