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Sneaking fruit and veg into 5 yr olds food

(22 Posts)
goteam Wed 26-Feb-20 14:44:05

DS ate everything until he was about 2.5. He is 5.5 now and flatly refuses fruit and veg. I offer different kinds at each meal and always have. The only way he gets fruit and veg is juice, smoothies, homemade banana pancakes (1 whole banana with a bit of flour and milk), sneaking onion, carrot and pepper into homemade blended pasta sauce. It's all so time consuming and washing up creating though!!! Any tips how to easily sneak fruit and veg into meals? I worry for his immunity as he always seems to catch colds much more easily than his fresh fruit and veg eating sister...he wont eat sweet potato fries. Tried that several times!!!

Clangus00 Wed 26-Feb-20 14:55:10

Donald Trump’s staff mash up cauliflower into his mashed potatoes.

WomanIsTaken Wed 26-Feb-20 15:01:02

Mince mushrooms, courgette and aubergine into Bolognese sauce. They 'take' the flavour really well and are almost undetectable.
Will he eat tomato soup?
Mine happily pick at raw veg, and much prefer it to cooked ones. Little julienned carrots, celery or cucumber sticks?

Mintjulia Wed 26-Feb-20 15:06:30

You can grate carrot or marrow into cakes to give a lovely texture. Flavour with vanilla or honey to cover any taste.

Grate carrot, celery, onion, squash into pasta sauces. Try broccoli & bacon sauce for pasta or gnocchi.

I make endless home made soups for ds. He loves pea & ham and home made minestrone

Grate leeks and cheese and fold into pastry to make cheese twists in place of crisps.

Tiredmumno1 Wed 26-Feb-20 15:09:00

Tesco sell mince and meatballs with hidden veg.

whatsagoodusername Wed 26-Feb-20 15:12:20

I've been putting carrots and courgette into DS's fruit smoothies lately. He hasn't noticed the difference. I've heard cauliflower also works but I haven't tried it yet.

AnnPerkins Wed 26-Feb-20 15:26:29

As pp above, I used to give DS raw carrot and pepper to munch on while I was cooking dinner. He refused most cooked veg at the time but would eat them quite happily.

He eats most cooked veg now, just grew into it, but I still give him sticks of raw pepper alongside a curry or chilli.

BlingLoving Wed 26-Feb-20 15:31:51

Would be easier to answer this if we know what he does eat? eg if he likes bolognaise, it's easy to add grated/chopped veggies for spaghetti bol or lasagna. If he likes eggs and toast can you add sweetcorn to scrambled eggs or give him cooked sliced veggies to dip (I hate this - but DH's mum did both for him).

I do fruit skewers for parties, bbq etc and I'm always getting parents telling me that their kids don't usually eat fruit but they love the skewers. You could sweeten the deal with something to dip, but that takes away some of the health benefits.

Pasta sauces, as you've identified, are a good one. It's worth buying pre-chopped frozen veg (or do your own in bulk and stash in freezer) to minimise the hassle when you're preparing them.

I haven't done this yet but have been meaning to make veggie burgers (I have a chickpea recipe which is a bit of a faff but they freeze well so can do in bulk then just fry/grill) and try buying veggie sausages (not quoin). I suspect this would work for DS but not for DD hence haven't bothered yet.

Definitely consider adding veg to juices. If you have a juicer, this is even easier but I hate ours because of the cleaning up. We make smoothies with frozen berries, bananas, plain yoghurt and watered down with water so it's a less less fruit/sugar intense and less hassle and the kids love it.

Fortfiied cereal might help with the nutritional element, if not the "getting him used to it" element.Not sure how much they're fortified but I've heard people talking about that as a benefit.

Apples with peanut butter for dipping?

Toasted chickpeas as a snack? or veg / fruit crisps (not sure how nutritional the store bought ones are, but a suggestion)

Bear2014 Wed 26-Feb-20 15:33:29

Innocent smoothies with beetroot / carrot and Bear fruit paws do varieties with veg.

If he eats Macaroni cheese, I get that frozen cauliflower rice, cook it and blend it in the food processor until it's completely smooth then stir it into the cheese sauce

Bolognaise with finely grated (or very finely chopped in processor) carrot, pepper, celery, onion. And finely chopped tomatoes rather than the regular kind. I've been chucking a handful of red lentils in too.

If you're making a cottage/shepherds pie, lentils in with the meat, and for the potato topping add one sweet potato so it's not too noticeably different/orange.

Not ideal but we do bribe DD with pudding if she will eat some veg.

Esspee Wed 26-Feb-20 15:53:19

I used to grate carrots, butternut squash, onions, garlic, red peppers etc. into minced beef and pork to make meatballs and burgers. I also added oats instead of breadcrumbs or flour as they improve the texture and are great nutritionally.
Soup, once blended and given a non vegetable name eg. magic soup or grandma's soup goes down well, fruit and veg served as kebabs especially if they make them (eg.banana, strawberry, tangerine, blueberries, melon on a bamboo skewer drizzled with honey or cubed cooked butternut squash, sweet potato, regular potato and carrots threaded on a skewer and drizzled with ketchup or mayonnaise) raw veg in small pieces in different colours (eating a rainbow)
OMG this is bringing it all back to me. grin

Giroscoper Wed 26-Feb-20 16:08:19

There are loads of recipes for hidden veg pasta sauce, I used an Annabel Karmel one which had butternut squash, courgettes and mushrooms in.Cook and blend it all down.

Use those veg/fruit smoothies to make ice lollies in the summer, I used to actually blend some frozen spinach into home made ones usually with frozen raspberries and strawberries, greek yoghurt and pineapple juice to sweeten it. I make big batches of ice lollies, use Ikea lolly moulds with wooden sticks instead of their plastic ones and remove them from the moulds, wrap them in greaseproof paper or paper bags and store them in the freezer.

So they didn't see me make them just knew there was a freezer full of ice lollies. They see these as a treat rather than lots of fruit going in. You can also buy espresso paper cups with lids and decant the lolly mix into those, so they have a mini "ice cream" pot (actually yoghurt).

Ricekrispie22 Wed 26-Feb-20 16:38:00

Hide courgette in this recipe for Mac and cheese www.myfussyeater.com/one-pot-mac-cheese-with-hidden-veg/
Or hide cauliflower with this version www.bbc.com/food/recipes/macaroni_cauliflower_53315 Cauliflower is good for hiding in mash, as are parsnips.
Add puréed sweetcorn to scrambled egg.
Meatballs realfood.tesco.com/recipes/sunitas-secret-veg-meatballs.html
Burgers www.hungryhealthyhappy.com/hidden-vegetable-beef-burgers/
Shepherds pie www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/hidden_vegetables_05418
Pasta bake www.ocado.com/webshop/recipe/secret-veggie-pasta-bake/23305
Cauliflower tots www.healthylittlefoodies.com/cauliflower-tots/
Fritters www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/toddler-recipe-sweetcorn-spinach-fritters
The carrots in these bean enchiladas are grated and are therefore barely noticeable when cooked. www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/bean-enchiladas
Hidden veg lentil bolognese www.mrsrachelbrady.co.uk/2016/09/hidden-veg-and-lentil-spaghetti-bolognese/
Risotto supervalu.ie/real-food/recipes/mummycooks-hidden-veg-risotto
Muffins realfood.tesco.com/recipes/cheesy-courgette-muffins.html
Pear and/or bananas are good for hiding in porridge

Barbararara Wed 26-Feb-20 17:56:08

Do you have a stick blender? Zap, dunk in water, rinse off and zap the next thing. It’s so much easier than cleaning off food processors or graters and may help cut back on washing up.

You could prepare your veg in batches and freeze (silicone mini muffin trays are a good size) so that you can just add them to stuff as you cook, without having to faff about every time.

I had this book when dc were smaller which had nice recipes for baked goods (beetroot chocolate cake, cauliflower banana bread) so even when the dc got treats they had a tiny bit of veg in as well.

Huge sympathy though. My ds with asd can detect the smell/taste of various puréed veg in bolognese with uncanny accuracy. Fortunately he eats a small selection of raw and cooked veg now (through a sustained campaign of bribery and bullying) so he’s not at risk of malnourishment.

goteam Wed 26-Feb-20 19:22:36

Amazing! Thanks for the tips! Ds is generally very fussy with other food too. He wont eat eggs, mac and cheese and lots of other food kids are supposed to like. We make courgette and cheese muffins, banana bread, carrot cake ketchup it's all so time consuming!!! I wish I could just hand him some carrot sticks!!! He definitely wont eat raw veg. He will not be bribed either. I have literally offered a while cup cake for a teaspoon of peas before and he still refused. He would rather go without the treat. Frustrating.

goteam Wed 26-Feb-20 19:23:44

I've even grated carrot into beans before (small side of grater) which I got away with until I added too much....

goteam Wed 26-Feb-20 19:25:22

@Clangus00 DS is a step ahead of Donald as he wont eat mashed potato. Roast, wedges, baked, chips but not mashed. I would be mashing all sorts into it if he did....

goteam Wed 26-Feb-20 19:32:21

@BlingLoving thanks for the tips. He eats a very limited diet actually but we make the best of it. Always get the whole wheat coated fish fingers and nuggets, homemade whole wheat pizza base with hidden veg tomato sauce, half white half whole wheat pasta, I cook lentils into pasta sauce too. He has fortified cereal, wholemeal bread and a vitamin each day. It's just he wont try anything new or fruit and vegetables unless hidden!! He knows out bananas in the pancakes and banana bread and diesnt mind but still wont ear them whole. He lives dried fruit too, dried pineapple mango etc or juices just not the natural state.

I'm vegan so make a lit of healthy stews, chickpea burgers, salads etc he wont try them. His sister draws the line with my stews, salads etc to be fair

goteam Wed 26-Feb-20 19:33:20

Oops typos, sorry!

BlueHarry Wed 26-Feb-20 19:47:03

My DD was like this until she was about 4. It was really hard so I feel your pain. She also wouldn't eat things like pasta sauce, so there was no hiding veg in anything! I think your ds will come around eventually, but I know that it's hard to not worry.

I was going to suggest hiding veg in pizza but I see that you do that already. Does he eat school dinners? Sometimes if you have a word with the dinner lady they'll try to encourage the kids, and in my experience are more successful at it than parents. Can you try maybe growing your own something or other? Inside if you don't have a garden. Obviously that would take some time! But maybe if he plants a seed and sees it grow, you can build up some excitement about eating the results.

Another thing that helped with my DD is telling her that [whatever food I was trying to get to her to eat] is Spiderman/her cousin/anyone she looks up to's favourite food.

What really helped with my DD was talking about foods making her strong. She still doesn't eat a huge variety, and she won't eat anything like a sauce etc, but she will eat say, sausages/chicken/ fish with chips/mash and a serving of plain vegetables.

I think given what he will eat, the freezer is your friend. And making a big batch of pasta sauce filled with hidden veg is probably going to be the easiest solution for now. I'd also advise not forcing the issue too much. I think when they sense that you're really keen for them to do/eat something they can get even more defensive and stubborn and guarded about it. If it's more laid back, it takes off some of the pressure. A lot of the conversations I had about broccoli being spidermans favourite food, were not actually directly with DD, they were comments I'd make to her dad etc when she was earshot and she'd pick up on them.

goteam Wed 26-Feb-20 21:14:44

Thanks @BlueHarry that's a good idea to grow our own. He is very outdoorsy and sporty. I try to stress how important fruit and veg is for fitness and strength. I'm sure he is getting enough it's just such an effort as I can never just whip up something quick and healthy for dinner or add some peas to a quick lunch, everything has to be hidden!!

BlingLoving Thu 27-Feb-20 10:46:23

If he's eating banana pancakes, what about corn/courgette/squash fritters? Basically just a version of a banana pancake using veggies instead? If you use creamed corn, might go down better. Ditto creamed/mashed squash.

Avocado on toast?

I have a recipe for carrot muffins I can give you if you like. They have other dried fruit (and nuts - optional) in them, bran etc which means they've got better nutritional value than many. But the biggest benefit of them is that they freeze incredibly well so I make massive batches and freeze them. They defrost in half an hour or 20 seconds in the microwave. I also significantly reduce the sugar the recipe calls for.

Also, have you considered that he might have some sort of sensory issue? I think it's interesting that he will eat dried fruit but not fresh fruit. And that he doesn't mind the taste of bananas but won't eat them whole - it could be a texture/smell thing. Eg DS loves bananas overall, but won't just eat one because the smell on his hands freaks him out and he doesn't like the touch of them or their skin either. But he'll have banana on toast, smeared in, as he doesn't have to touch it directly himself.

Similarly, he'll eat things like ham/salami at home but I can't put it in his lunch box as the smell when he opens the box is too overwhelming for him.

If your DS does have some sensory issues in this space, he can get som e help which may improve things down the line.

goteam Thu 27-Feb-20 11:49:43

Thanks @BlingLoving I never considered it could be a sensory issue. I will try and explore this with DS.

I make carrot, courgette and cheese muffins thanks. He won't eat them! Good idea about fritters. He loves potato waffles but not hash browns which is odd and I did try him on homemade potato rosti a while ago which I planned to thereafter add veg too but he wouldn't eat that.

Both kids refuse avocado. I have even made guacamole with no chilli for them to eat with doritos but it was still a no from both kids....

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