7 Ways To Sneak Veggies Into Your Meals
Even for those who enjoy eating healthily, hiding veggies in food is a great way to eat the recommended servings each day. After all, consuming enough portions of fruit and veggies a day can be a difficult task, especially when you have a craving for mac and cheese or pizza!
We all know it’s difficult to ignore carb cravings and opt for a healthy bowl of vegetables instead of your favorite pasta dish. But lucky for you, there are lots of ways to sneak vegetables into your food.
In many of these methods, you won’t even notice that the good stuff is hidden in there. This is especially useful for those that hate the taste of vegetables – and we know there are many of you out there.
Keep reading for easy (and fun!) ways to amp up your veggie intake.
1. Slip it in Sauces
An easy way to eat more veggies is to make sauces with them. In most cases, the sauce overpowers the taste of the vegetables, making them super easy to eat. If you’re trying to get kids to eat more veggies, then sneaking them into sauces is a great idea as they won’t usually taste them.
Chop up some cauliflower for your alfredo sauce, for example, or blend some fresh veggies into your spaghetti sauce. A blended mix of carrots, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes is sure to go down a treat with a hearty Bolognese sauce.
A pumpkin marinara sauce is another great shout. Tomato sauce is a fantastic base for mixing in extra pureed veggies, and a can of pumpkin puree blends perfectly offering that delicious sweet taste. Start with basic tomato sauce that counts as one portion on its own, then simply mix the puree in.
The more veggies added to the tomato sauce the better. You can also try pureed carrots, winter squash, peppers, onions or other greens – all of which fuse well in a plain tomato sauce.
Don’t stop at pasta sauces either. Why not health up the hollandaise? A classic hollandaise sauce isn’t particularly healthy but whipped up with avocado it can be.
For a tasty and healthy spread for grilled cheese, quesadillas, or pizzas, create a puree using butternut squash and grated cheese.
2. Sneak in Smoothies
Whizzing up a healthy smoothie is one of the easiest ways to get picky eaters to consume vegetables. When veggies are blended with sweet fruit and yogurt, in many cases the taste of them is undetectable.
Begin your smoothie making process with a reasonable ratio of 3:1 of fruits to vegetables. This way you’re not sacrificing the taste of the smoothie and overloading with veggies – you don’t want to be put off on the first taste.
To create a creamy texture, try whizzing in some avocado with your favorite fruit.
A generous handful of spinach or kale also mixes well with any fruit smoothie and is a super healthy option. Try blending one cup of milk (or almond milk as a non-dairy option), one frozen banana, two handfuls of spinach, and a tablespoon of almond butter for a drink that’s both delicious and good for you.
Some people also enjoy carrot smoothies. While carrot juice is easy to find in the shops, without a juicer at home, it’s hard to make yourself.
However, grated carrots are super easy to blend into any fruit smoothie. Plus, when you use all parts of the carrot, none of the fiber is lost from the process.
If you’re serving a healthy smoothie to fussy eating kids, then a fun way to make the drink more enticing is to serve it in a colorful bowl topped with yummy fruit and other fiber-rich foods like nuts, seeds, or granola.
3. Mix Into Meatballs
When you make meatballs from scratch it’s easy to hide vegetables into them. Finely cut some vegetables of your choice, or for even better results, whizz them up in a food processor and blend into your favorite meatball recipe. You can also roast and puree some carrots to mix into meatballs too.
4. Bake Into Brownies, Bread, and Other Goods
While you may not usually think of mixing vegetables into baked goods – especially not sweet treats – it’s an easy way to sneak in the vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In many cases, vegetables can even improve the texture of baked goods.
It’s not difficult to convince someone to indulge in their favorite baked treat, which is why this is such an effective trick.
Get creative with your muffin or pancake mix with vegetables such as mashed sweet potato, carrot, or avocado. These healthy foods also add moisture to baked goods, meaning you can reduce oil intake too.
You can also try baking other vegetables such as shredded zucchini, spinach, or broccoli. Just make sure the pieces are small enough so that they aren’t obvious when chewing.
Breakfast muffins work well packed with zucchini and carrots along with raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon. Who’d have thought muffins could be so wholesome?
Pancakes and Waffles
Pumpkin and butternut squash also works well in pancakes or waffles. When you’re cooking up breakfast next Sunday, consider chucking some pumpkin or squash puree into the pancake mix. Not only will you add a portion of veggies in, but you’ll get an interesting orange tinge too.
Veggies can also be baked into bread. For example, zucchini bread always goes down a treat as a tasty savory snack.
Ever thought about mixing greens with chocolate? No?
Believe it or not, brownies with spinach leaves or sweet potato not only taste delicious but also add a dose of veggies to the desert course. Winning!
Chocolate cake batter also provides an ideal base for sneakily disguising veggies too. Mix veggies like carrot and squash into the mix and you’ll barely taste them once the cake is cooked. For extra points, whip up an avocado frosting to ice the cake.
Chocolate and beets also go well together. The cocoa is strong enough to cover the earthy tones and the sweetness of the beet tastes yummy with the sugary cake mixture.
Baking cookies? There are ways to sneak the good stuff in there too. Mix carrot or sweet potato puree into chocolate chip cookie batter to bake a sweet treat packed full of health benefits.
5. Pile on Pizza
Reap the best of both worlds by sneaking veggies onto a pizza. Keep the yummy cheese and tomato base and pile on a big serving of colorful vegetables. Almost anything works, from healthy greens to juicy tomatoes to chunky root vegetables.
You can also prepare a pizza salad. Simply throw your favorite salad leaves on top of your pizza of choice for a two-in-one-dinner that’s both comforting and healthy. An arugula salad featuring tomatoes and Parmesan cheese works well heaped on top of a mixed veggie pizza.
Don’t forget about the sauce base of a pizza either. Using pureed tomatoes is an easy way to consume a serving of veggies. For an even healthier option, spread a layer of spinach puree when making a pizza from scratch.
6. Submerge in Soups and Stews
Many popular soups are vegetable-based, and lots of people find it easier to consume veggies in soup form.
Concocting a classic chicken soup? Add a dose of vegetables in with a can of pureed tomatoes, squash, or potatoes. Not only will you sneak extra vegetables into the mix, but it will also provide a thicker and more filling soup base too.
You can also spice up a chili or stew recipe with your vegetables of choice. Carrots, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash puree are all great options.
7. Fry Into Frittatas
Start the weekend with an egg-heavy breakfast that’s both tasty and wholesome. For yummy and healthy frittatas, mix eggs with your favorite vegetables. Minced broccoli is a great choice as it doesn’t alter the texture of the frittata and it crams into an entire portion of veggies, at least.
Cauliflower mixed into frittatas or scrambled eggs is another good shout. Steam and puree or grate neatly to mix it in, again without changing the texture. Team it with a yummy tuna salad for a tasty light lunch or entrée.
Hiding Veggies in Food for Better Health
Hiding veggies in food is easy with our tips, and the more you practice doing it the more it will become a habit. Before you know it, you’ll easily be consuming the healthy portion of vegetables your body requires.
If you’re trying to sneak veggies into a child’s diet, the best thing you can do is lead by example. Children are like shadows that are constantly following and learning from their caregivers. Eat the right portion of veggies for yourself, and the kids should eventually follow suit.
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