The Right Amount Of (Hidden) Goodness
When I was a kid, we had meat and veg most nights of the week. And of course I’d sit there and separate my peas from my corn, and then refuse to eat anything that looked a little different… and my daughter often does the same now. It’s a given. Any family that has more than one kid, has one that will eat everything (or most things) and one that won’t touch anything… and if that’s not the case in your home – you’re lucky!
And if it’s not the kids that are fussy, it’s the husband – or it could even be you!
So, when it comes to ensuring the family get the right amount of vegetables and other goodness every day, hiding healthy food is often the best option. But if you’re not sure how to go about it, here are some great ideas I have tried and tested … some of them were fails, some were successes. I won’t tell you which was which – just give them a shot and see. Every child (or husband) is different so you never know what will work!
This is a hugely popular addition to most meals and it can actually taste pretty good. It’s often used in things like pasta dishes, and even used instead of pasta itself. Zucchini spaghetti is a great option, even for yourself if you’re trying to go wheat or gluten free! But you can also use it in snacks, like muffins (or cupcakes in my home because my daughter loves cupcakes).
My kids aren’t huge honey fans, so when I make a milk for my son and he has a bit of a cough, I generally mix some honey with hot water first, then shake it into the milk. Which of course he loves.
My daughter has issues with fibre, stemming from her fussy eating. And issues with fibre lead to issues with the bowel, so we’re trying to increase her intake of fibre – but to do that, we don’t want to be loading her up on breads; and she can be pretty fussy when it comes to fruit. To combat this, we have some psyllium husk that I bought from a local health food shop, and we hide that in her meals every 3 days or so. It just looks grainy, so it’s great to add to her meals – sprinkle it on her toast underneath her eggs; add it to any pasta dish or rice dish – and she never knows the difference. (just don’t tell her!)
This is definitely one of my favourites. Lasagne is something I could eat every day, and my kids love it as well – but of course it’s generally just meat, sauces and pasta sheets. So what can we hide in there? Get out the food processor with some carrot, celery and maybe some zucchini. You don’t need to put TOO much in if you’re not really a fan, but it’s guaranteed to give them a vegetable boost they wouldn’t otherwise have – and you can’t tell any difference with the taste! They also won’t see it in there as it will just mix up with the sauce!
Who doesn’t love pizza? My kids think it’s the best thing on the planet and there’s nothing more exciting than getting together in the kitchen to make their own pizzas. We cut up a few little extras as well, such as capsicum, pineapple, onions, corn, and so on – and everyone makes their own pizza. My son isn’t really fussy anyway so he’ll eat his pizza with anything at all, but my daughter making her own dinner sometimes makes all the difference and she’s much more likely to eat it if it’s something she has prepared herself.
Rolls & Wraps
It’s easy to hide healthy goodness in anything that’s wrapped up and sausage rolls, pies and even rice paper rolls or sushi, are great ways to hide good food. Instead the kids focus on the outside – which looks delicious – and then find that the inside tastes amazing, so they eat it up.
This is one of our family favourites. Okay, it’s MY favourite, but I’m getting the family to all join in on the tasty goodness of a taco. And the best thing about tacos, is the variety! Not only do we use mince, which can easily have home-made vegetable sauce added to it, but also tomato salsa that is loaded with goodies; and then there is all the salad that goes on top – from carrot and celery, to cucumber, lettuce, avocado, onion, and so on.
So there you have it. If you have fussy kids, it’s not always easy getting them to eat their veges or get the right amount of fibre (and so on). And although it’s not ideal to have to “hide” healthy food from them, it’s worth it if it gives you peace of mind knowing they are not only getting the vitamins they need, but also trying new things (even if they don’t realise it!).
Test out these ideas above and let us know what you think!