We all know how important it is to get our toddlers and kids to eat more vegetables. They’re packed full of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients their bodies need to grow. We also all know how picky toddlers and preschoolers can be when it comes to eating their vegetables. My family is veganish (we don’t consume meat products and sparingly use dairy), so it is even more important for my kids to eat their vegetables. These dishes are my go-to hidden vegetable recipes that get my toddlers to actually eat their vegetables.
Hidden Vegetable Smoothie
These toddler-approved smoothies are so easy to make in the morning and packed full of vegetables. My kids drink them down and before they know it they’ve had several servings of vegetables. They’re easy to customize, too, so try different combinations of ingredients.
One thing I’ve found is that the color green can be alarming to children. At first, make a smoothie with less spinach and more frozen fruit and once they get used to the idea of drinking a smoothie in the morning you can crank up the vegetable content.
Kid-approved Smoothie Ingredients
Kids are supertasters! Their taste buds are fresh and new and haven’t been abused for years like adult’s taste buds (I’m looking at you Taco Bell Nacho Bell Grande). Try limiting the number of ingredients in each smoothie to keep the flavors less complex.
- Soy milk or almond milk
- Ripe bananas to give the smoothie a creamy texture (these can be replaced with avocados later)
- Frozen fruit is a great cost-effective option. You can use half frozen and half fresh fruit to keep your smoothie less thick
- Butternut squash
Toddler’s Vegetable Smoothie Recipe
Mix the following ingredients in your blender on high. Blend until everything is smooth. You may need to add more liquid depending on the desired consistency.
- 1 cup plant-based milk
- 1/2 cup fruit (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 cup vegetables
- Optional: 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp flax seeds, 1 tsp hemp seeds
Hidden Vegetable Mac & Cheese
This is my favorite sneaky way to serve an entire head of the cruciferous powerhouse in one ooey-gooey, toddler approved dish. The vegan-friendly cheese sauce has an entire head of cauliflower and two large carrots hidden in it! Nutritional yeast and paprika give it a great cheesy color.
You can read the full recipe here. In short, you boil the vegetables until they are soft, then blend them in a food processor with spices and a little bit of vegetable oil. Boom! You have a creamy sauce full of vegetables that is perfect for mac and cheese. The cheese sauce is also perfect to put on other (not hidden) vegetables like steamed broccoli or baked potatoes!
Blender Corn Pudding
This is another hidden vegetable recipe that my toddlers absolutely love. Now, maybe this wouldn’t a hidden vegetable dish for an adult since the main ingredient is very obviously corn, but your toddler won’t know. Once that corn is blended with milk, butter, sugar, and eggs, they’ll have no idea that they are actually eating corn.
Because this recipe changes the corn’s texture while retaining its taste, this is a perfect hidden vegetable dish for kids who say they don’t like corn. Once they are more used to the taste of corn you can try introducing whole corn kernels as a side and see how it goes.
Read my full write-up of how I make corn pudding in the blender here.
Vegan Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
Including hidden vegetables in a cookie is a great way to make sure your toddlers get their recommended number of vegetable servings. The great thing about these hidden vegetable sugar cookies is that they are as soft and chewy as your standard sugar cookie. This effect is made possible with arrowroot powder, a type of starch, to act as a thickening agent. If you don’t have arrowroot powder, regular cornstarch will work just as well.
The recipe can be found at The Banana Diaries. My toddlers love these hidden vegetable cookies just as well as traditional cookies. I feel good knowing they are getting plenty of pumpkin with every bite. And since pumpkin puree comes in a can, it is easy to make a batch of cookies in the afternoon and serve them after dinner.
Carrot Cake Energy Balls
Okay, so I know this is another dessert that has a sweet vegetable in it. But a vegetable is a vegetable and these energy balls were too good to leave out.
My two-year-old loves these balls. I have to cut them in half before giving them to him or I swear he would swallow the entire ball in one gulp. Besides carrots, they also include dates and over two cups of old fashioned oats for plenty of fiber.
I recipe is from Quaker Oats and couldn’t be easier. Simply stir together oats, shredded carrots, dates, and cinnamon. Add water slowly until the dough is the right consistency. Then take a spoonful of the mixture and form into balls. Refrigerate the balls for at least an hour before eating. The original recipe calls for adding almonds and coconut flakes. I found that leaving these out is best when serving them to toddlers—less chance of a choking scare.
What are your favorite hidden vegetable recipes? Which of these are you going to try first? Let me know in the comments! As parents of toddlers, it’s important to introduce them to a wide variety of vegetables. I hope these recipes help you with ideas of how to serve vegetables to your toddler who refuses to eat vegetables. Share this article for all the other parents in the same boat.