Sneaking veggies into toddler food doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to go out and buy a food processor or spend hours upon hours meal prepping healthy snacks. All you need to do is think a little outside the box! Small swaps and additions to foods that your toddler already loves can completely change the nutritional value! Let me tell you how with these simple hacks to help you start sneaking veggies into your toddlers’ food today!
Toddlers, like the rest of us, eat with their eyes first. However, they don’t really care about the visual esthetics, like us as adults do. Toddlers only care that they recognize and LIKE the food/ingredients in the food. So in order to trick a picky toddler into eating something that has the detested vegetables in it, they must only see things that they like to eat and not be able to detect what they do not like. This is where you need to start catering toward their visual perception as well as their toddler palate.
Most toddlers like the “usual kid foods”. Meaning that most are prone to choosing things, such as: chicken nuggets, burgers, fries, grilled cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, mac n cheese, spaghetti, and sweets! Also, most toddlers have a simple palate. They don’t need much flavor or spice added to their foods to appeal to them.
So when sneaking veggies into toddler food, there are a few guidelines that will help you do it successfully:
- Choose veggies that have a sweeter taste or hardly any taste at all. These are the vegetables that your child will be less likely to detect and may even start to like!
- Eliminate the “texture” of the vegetable. If you choose a vegetable such as green beans or anything with a waxy exterior, your child will most likely discover it. In order to mask the texture you may need to either remove the waxy exterior (if possible) or puree the vegetable to include it in some creative way with foods that they love.
- Find products that already include hidden vegetables. However, you need to make sure that they actually taste good too! Some products out there may advertise the amount of vegetable included to make the sale, but the product will also taste like the vegetable. A toddler will sniff that deception out immediately!
So now that you know the guidelines, let’s talk about the easiest veggies to sneak into a toddlers’ food. Like I said, the sweeter or most bland vegetables are best. For that reason, five of these seven hacks are certain vegetables. Zucchini, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot and cauliflower are the easiest vegetables to transform and also hide. All of these vegetables have either a sweet flavor or taste like almost nothing! Below, you will find these vegetables listed. Underneath each vegetable you will find the BEST recipes I could find that include the undetectable veggies.
7 BEST hacks for sneaking veggies into toddler food:
#7 Zucchini Recipes:
#6 Sweet Potato Recipes:
#5 Pumpkin Recipes:
#4 Carrots Recipes:
#3 Cauliflower Recipes:
Now let’s move on to store bought products for sneaking veggies into toddler food:
As mommas, even stay at home mommas, we are just BUSY! We simply do not have the time to make every single meal from scratch and therefore we need easier options! ‘Just heat it up’ and ‘grab and go’ options are necessary for us busy moms! Below you will find my list of the BEST TASTING, hidden veggie products we buy on a regular basis.
#2 Veggie Products
Now for the number one mom hack for sneaking veggies into toddler food:
I talked about this hack once before in my article, How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy | 5 Nutrition Sneaking Hacks. This hack is SO EASY, yet SO EFFECTIVE! All you have to do is start adding baby food (yes, I said baby food) to your toddlers’ food. Baby food is simply pureed whatever. This makes your life easier, as you don’t have to do anything but mix it in! Baby food is also unseasoned and quite bland so that makes it even easier to go undetected!
Quick tip for using this mom hack: Unless you are going to bake it in, mix the baby food into food that it already the same color! Your toddler will be less likely to figure it out if they can’t see it!
Below you will find the best foods with correlating baby foods to mix in for your toddlers’ new, sneakily modified diet!
#1 Baby Food
**All suggestions below can be made with the baby foods from the starter pack pictured above.
- Kraft Mac n’ Cheese + Carrot Baby Food
- Spaghetti sauce + Green Bean Baby Food
- Apple sauce + Sweet Potato Baby Food
- Classic Sloppy Joes with Tomato Soup Recipe + Carrot Baby Food
- Ground Beef + Green Bean Baby Food (mix in burger patties or tacos)
- Pancake Mix + Sweet Potato Baby Food (reduce amount of water to get desired consistency)
What combination(s) will you come up with??? Let me know in the comments!
Successfully sneaking veggies into toddler food is no easy task! I hope that these simple hacks help! Let me know what you think in the comments!