How I Get My Kids to Eat (More Than) Their Fair Share of Veggies


how to get kids to eat their veggiesGetting kids to eat vegetables is tough!  Yes, it is important to teach children to eat vegetables willingly, or at least knowingly, and I focus on this at home, too.  But they’ll never eat enough veggies to meet their daily nutritional needs on their own accord, so I’m a big fan of supplementing by hiding little gems of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants in their favorite foods.

Here are some of my (and my kids’) favorites.

A couple notes before diving in:

Pureed vegetables are key to most of these recipes.  To make my life easier, I steam and puree them in batches, then freeze them in mini ice cube trays so I can just pop them out one at a time.

get kids to eat vegetables
Pureed butternut squash

Baked goods are also a terrific way to get veggies in your kids’ tummies.  I have plenty of these recipes – too many for one post, so I’ll do this as a follow-up post.

Jessica Seinfeld authored a terrific book, Deceptively Delicious, which is a great buy if only for the introductory chapter on vegetable pureeing. She details how to prepare many types of veggies and explains the nutritional value of each.  The actual recipes in her book tend to contain more sugar and dairy products than I’d prefer to cook with but her basic veggie-hiding approach is superb.


Hot breakfast cereals, including oatmeal, make for a great nutritional base on their own, but I power mine up by stirring in a cube of pureed vegetables, in addition to fruit.  Pretty much any combo of fruit & veggies works, though I find more success when I hide green veggies like broccoli or chard with dark-colored fruit like blueberries or blackberries to help conceal the green.  Unsweetened vanilla almond milk is also key to this and many of the “hidden vegetable” recipes I make; it adds a great flavor that my kids love. When my boys were still of nursing age, I also made their oats using leftover breastmilk.

Blueberry – Broccoli Oats

  • ¼ – ½ c Quick Oats

  • Almond Milk

  • 1 cube frozen pureed broccoli

  • Fresh or frozen blueberries

  • Sprinkle of flax

  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Combine first 3 ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1-2 minutes. Add blueberries, flax, and cinnamon. Cool for ~5 minutes, then serve.

Butternut Squash – Apple Oats

  • Follow the above steps, replacing the broccoli and blueberries with butternut squash and minced apple.

Carrot – Pear Oats

  • Follow the above steps, replacing the broccoli and blueberries with carrot puree and minced pear.


This one is simple and always a hit. Just defrost and add a cube or two of pureed vegetables to pizza sauce before spreading it onto the pizza crust, then top with cheese and pepperoni (or your family’s preferred toppings) and bake as usual.  Spinach, kale, and broccoli are some of my favorite purees to use on pizza … think about veggie toppings a healthy adult might put on top of their pizza, and use these purees in the sauce instead. Whole Foods sells a Superfoods Pesto made from kale that can substitute for the pureed veggies, too.


Smoothie recipe variations are literally endless! My advice on these is to use what you have on hand rather than following a specific recipe.  I try to balance the ingredients so they get enough fruit sweetness to override the vegetable taste. Bananas are great for this; add a half to a whole banana and they’ll eat just about any veggies I mix in. I also include chia or nut butter in our smoothies for protein.

It’s also important that your concoction results in a desirable color.  Or, if it’s too green, as mine often are, I give it a fun name like “Green Monster Smoothie,” or serve it in special smoothie glasses like these which conveniently conceal the color of the beverage within.  

Avocado-spinach pancakes

how to get kids to each more veggiesI can’t take the credit for this recipe, but I will own up to what I believe to be one critical substitution: sub half of a large banana in place of half of the avocado. I’ve made these both ways – with the substitution and without – and it makes a huge difference in how apt my boys are to eat them. I also dot my pancakes with a couple blueberries as soon as the batter hits the griddle.  Something about the presence of just 2 berries per pancake makes them oh so much more desirable.

Sandwich Booster

Nearly every time I make one of my kids a sandwich, I add a smear of vegetable puree to the bread before topping it with honey mustard or hummus.  Then, layer on meats, cheese, or sliced tofu and this is a super simple way to amp up the nutritional value of an everyday lunch.

I’d love to hear what tactics and recipes your family enjoys, too!  Please feel free to post in the comments below.



  1. My 3 year old and I just discovered Chobani Savor Squeeze, and he asks for “the white stuff” and dips broccoli, etc. in it!

    • Love it! Dips and toppings go a long way in our house, too. If they can sprinkle Parmesan cheese, or even parsley, on top there’s a much higher likelihood they will eat it.


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