5 Ways to Sneak Veggies into Family Meals

By: EatingWell Editors
Try these sneaky tips and kid-friendly recipes to get your family to eat more vegetables.
Watch: Fun Ideas to Eat More Fruits & Veggies!
Research shows that it can take as many as 10 to 15 tastes before a child will learn to appreciate a new flavor. While you may struggle to get your kids to eat their vegetables at the dinner table, there are some ways you can sneak in servings of vegetables without them even knowing it.

1. When cooking pasta:

Near the end of the pasta cooking time, add your child’s favorite vegetable to the boiling water, drain and combine it with the sauce.
Try this: No-Bake Macaroni & Cheese

2. Finely shred zucchini or summer squash and add it to casseroles.

Its mild flavor blends in seamlessly with other flavors while adding important vitamins and minerals.
Try this: Chilaquiles Casserole

3. When you’re making sloppy joes or meat-based spaghetti sauce:

Reduce the amount of ground beef and add some finely chopped mushrooms to the mix. The meaty texture of mushrooms is similar to the ground beef, and they absorb the rich flavors of the sauce.
Try this: EatingWell Sloppy Joes

4. Make already lycopene-rich tomato sauce even healthier:

Stir in canned unseasoned pumpkin puree. It adds fiber and beta carotene, but has a mild flavor and creamy texture. One cup of pumpkin puree stirred into 1/2 cup pizza sauce is enough to top 1 pound of pizza dough.
Try this: EatingWell's Pepperoni Pizza

5. Already hiding steamed broccoli or cauliflower under cheese sauce?

There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what it takes to get your children to eat their veggies. Just be sure you’re making a healthy cheese sauce—traditional cheese sauces are made with lots of butter and cream. This lightened version uses flour to thicken low-fat milk and a small amount of full-flavored sharp Cheddar.
Try this: Light Cheese Sauce