These food hacks for kids are all you need to turn meals from something you dread to something you look forward to!
Getting veggies into your kids can be a nightmare. But there is hope! I'm here to share my best meal hacks to get more plants in without the added stress!
Meal times can be, well stressful. Between kids who won't eat anything, to those who only eat one thing depending on the day, having a meal that pleases everyone is tough.
Every kid can be a picky eater, and so can adults. And while I fully encourage exposing kids to all the fruits and veggies in whole form, there are also times when you just want to get them in without a fight and know they have some sort of nutrients in their body.
Nutrition for Kids
The number one thing my pediatrician told me was: They won't starve.
It's something I always keep in mind when one decides they aren't eating what I made. Because I am not a restaurant, I am pretty strict when it comes to catering to each of their individual requests.
We all get to pick something we like during the week, but we also say that they won't love everything. However I always try to have at least one thing on their plate they will eat.
But kids are moody and you never know. As long as they are eating somewhat of a well rounded balanced diet with all the macronutrients, they will survive.
Always check in with your own pediatrician if you have any concerns!
Hacks for Easier Meal Times
If you have a family that has different likes and dislikes, making one meal for everyone can be tricky. But there is hope!
I like to use what's called Component Meals. This is when you make various food parts and then put them together in many ways to create meals.
It can look a little but like a taco bar. Everyone is able to build their own and therefore choose what they like. But it doesn't stop at tacos. You can do this for pasta, grain bowls, pizza, even soup!
If you're looking for a little trick to make a super fast and easy dinner that your family will eat, here is one that is a weekly go-to. Boil pasta. Add a chopped veggie or veggies that your kids will eat at the bottom of a pasta strainer. We usually do a mix of spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and broccoli.
Once the pasta is done, strain it over the veggies hot water and all. Then put the cover of the pot over the top and let it sit for a few minutes. The heat from the water will blanche the veggies so they are cooked just enough and do not get mushy. Serve with parmesan and enjoy!
Sneaking in Veggies
I do think that kids need to see and experience veggies in their whole form. However, sometimes you just need to know they got some nutrients and you don't want to fight about it.
So there are a few things I do to make it easy and stress free!
- Add greens to your smoothies and milkshakes. Spinach is a great choice because it is nutrient rich and mild in flavor. It blends well in chocolate especially so next time you want to get in an extra dose of greens, whip up a chocolate milkshake and add some spinach!
- Blend veggies into pasta sauces. I take the easy route and use our favorite jarred marinaras. Simply add them to a blender, and add in a few mild veggies, then puree and viola! Some great ones are zucchini, carrots and cauliflower. You can even pulse in a few greens if your kids are used to herbs because they look the same.
- Blended soups. These are a super easy way to get in an extra dose of veggies!
- Mix cauliflower rice with regular rice. Start with a small amount and slowly increase until you're 50% of each.
These are just a few ideas of things we do to make life easier. If you want more tips and tricks for getting more plants into your school aged kids, you can check out our Plant-Based Parents class that gives loads of amazing info!
Also, don't forget to grab your free guide on getting in more veggies below!