Hi, I’m Mandy Mazliah, a London-based mum to seven-year-old R, five-year-old Miss R and two-year-old Baby S. How to get kids to eat more vegetables is an age old question. Here on Sneaky Veg you’ll find vegetarian family recipes that are designed to get kids eating more fruit and vegetables – especially picky eaters – and plenty of hidden vegetable recipes. Getting my children to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day has proved to be impossible (and let’s not even talk about ten a day) – sometimes we don’t even manage one item of fruit or veg a day. Because of this I’ve resorted to hidden vegetable recipes.
When my eldest son turned 18 months he suddenly refused to eat ALL fruit and vegetables – with the exception of raisins and fruit smoothie pouches. He’s now added olives to that list but still eats no fruit and very little veg.
Vegetables in his food were referred to as “muck” or “green bits” and could lead to colossal tantrums. Our middle child eats fruit but isn’t a great vegetable eater. Baby S is the complete opposite – he eats the vegetables first and his favourite foods are beetroot and pomegranate seeds! Feeding my children has given me a lot of headaches over the years, as has trying to work out how to get my kids to eat more vegetables. Nowadays I adopt a much more relaxed approach (or try to), offering up healthy, varied meals, sometimes making hidden vegetable recipes, but trying hard not to put any pressure on (even if I’m inwardly seething that no-one’s eating the meal I’ve just spent ages cooking!)
The answer to how to get kids to eat more vegetables feels a bit like the parenting holy grail – if I had a definitive answer to this I’d be a millionaire! Sneaking vegetables into kids food sometimes gets a bit of bad press. Yes, I agree that children need to get used to seeing vegetables on their plates. However, if I don’t make hidden veg recipes then my older kids would NEVER manage to get their five a day. I take the approach now that I add a portion of veg whenever I can – eg add puréed sweet potato to pancakes or cauliflower with macaroni cheese – but I also serve up delicious unhidden vegetables on the side. Needless to say most of this ends up being ignored but at least no-one cries any more if there are peas on their plate!
I started Sneaky Veg to share some of my hidden fruit and vegetable recipes. Over time the blog has evolved into a vegetarian family food blog – with lots of fruit and veg of course – and you’ll find recipes here that don’t hide the veg at all, rather they celebrate it’s deliciousness.
A brief note on oven timings. My oven is a fan oven and being a home cook I don’t have a professional kitchen with which to test other options in. Each oven works in its own particular way, so just be aware that the times I specify may need to be adjusted for your own oven.
If you’d like to work with me, or if you have a sneaky veg recipe idea, you can contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @sneakyvegblog. To receive news and recipes direct to your inbox please sign up to my newsletter.