The Art of Veggie Smuggling

We’ve all heard of budgie smugglers but if you’re a mum chances are you’re pretty adept at veggie smuggling even though you might not know it as such.

Veggie smuggling, that is disguising vegetables so that your children will unknowingly eat them, is a common practice in many households. I don’t propose to know all of the answers but here are a few simple tips for incorporating more veggies into your children’s diet:

  1. Fresh veggie sticks – whether its crunchy carrots or celery with peanut (or Freenut) butter, my kids love to eat fresh salad type vegetables as long as they’re a snack and not on the dinner plate. Once they’re placed on a dinner plate it’s a no go zone! I often cut up carrots, and celery for snacks and when I making salads for dinner the kids like to ‘help’ and often eat more vegetables as we prepare dinner than what they eat at dinner.
  2. Grate, grate, grate – my home made Bolognese sauce always features grated carrot and zucchini and the kids are none the wiser. For 500gram mince I add one carrot and one zucchini and then just double if I’m making a bulk batch. I also do this with meals such as Shepherds or Cottage pie, and my homemade meat pies and sausage rolls have featured veggies too, unbeknownst to our children.
  3. Pizza – kids will eat veggies on pizza, most of the time, and they enjoy it. Easy options at home are pita bread bases, or French sticks cut lengthways through the middle (we call them pizza subs) where you can control the toppings.
  4. Mash – coloured mash potato is another well used variant and I’ve found that making a more puree consistency pumpkin soup (I just use pumpkin, chicken stock, bacon and cumin powder) with toast fingers has been a surprising hit in our house. The kids love dipping their toast in the soup and then eating it – it has quickly become a perennial winter favourite.
  5. Ribbons  - I saw this in a four ingredients book and I’m yet to try it but it looks good. Basically they made ribbons from a zucchini, a carrot and a parsnip so they look like fettucine, boiled them for 3 minutes before serving with a tomato based pasta sauce.
  6. Fun food – tacos and burritos are another way of smuggling veggies. We let our children make their own, which is a bit messy, but they pile their tacos or wraps so high with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and grated cheese and carrot there’s often not much room left for the meat!
  7. Chips – so maybe this isn’t the healthiest option but oven baked chips aren’t the worst food in the world and you could use pumpkin and sweet potato as well as potato and they all taste great with a bit of salt and tomato sauce if needed. These are a good side to fish or other meat based dinners.

So that’s a few ideas. Do you have any others? Feel free to share!

Filed Under: Cooking TipsFamily Health

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

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