Toddler Dinners: Operation Secret Vegetables

First off, can I tell yall how excited I am that so many people are finding and loving this series?  I am getting redonkulous traffic from Pinterest and so many questions and emails from people all over the place.  It makes me giddy.

Anyway, one of my biggest questions I get is how do you feed a vegetable hater veggies?  Well luckily I don’t have a veggie hater…but I feel your pain.  Landon refuses to try new things that make no sense.  Like the spaghetti earlier this week. WTF? Anyway, even though Landon will eat a nice variety of veggies, I have found other ways to get it in too.

  • Smoothies – I haven’t done a ton of this but I hear people swearing by it.  Throw in a handful of spinach with their favorite fruits.  There are tons of recipes online.
  • Dips – I found letting him pick a dip made it more in his control.  L is definitely a kid needing some control.  Using choices in our house is magical. “Do you want hummus or dressing for your carrots?”
  • Apple sauce pouches – They are everywhere now. They have fruits and veggies pureed together.  Go to the baby food aisle.  You can find all kinds. Landon likes Ella’s Kitchen Broccoli, Peas and Pears.  who knew?
  • Sauces – I haven’t really done this but I have heard people put in pureed veggies into pasta sauces and such to up the veggie count.
  • Fruit/Veggie leather – Trader Joes makes these. He loves fruit leather.  If I swap in a veggie one, he never notices
  • Novelty – Chomping broccoli “trees”, the sound of a carrot stick being crunched, making people out of veggie pieces and eating them all zombie like.  Anything goes here. Just make it fun.

So how do you sneak veggies in your kid? Any tricks?

A selection from our week including dining out and SOUP!:



Toddler Dinners is my weekly series of posts to explore the world of feeding munchkins. Each Monday I will post our previous week’s meals and a rating on how they went as well as discuss numerous issues we all face. Find out more hereAlso be sure to follow me along throughout the week with your creations on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #toddlerdinners.


  1. My son is a pretty good eater (knock on wood!) but I’m a big fan of sneaking vegetables in when I can. I make a big batch of marinara sauce every week or two, which is always onions, carrots, celery, and crushed tomatoes (or whole peeled if I have time to simmer). I’ll also throw in spinach and/or mushrooms if I have them. I puree it all up at the end so it’s just smooth red sauce… then for the week I’ll serve that to him with spaghetti, tortellini, make a pita pizza, as a dipping sauce for chicken, etc.

    For breakfast every week, I’ll make a batch of muffins – banana and pumpkin are two of his favorites, and I usually use whole wheat flour and throw some flaxseed meal in there. It’s really delicious and I know he’s getting a nice serving of fruit at least. He eats a muffin with some yogurt or even cottage cheese.

    I also like the Deceptively Delicious cookbook for some good ideas. Since my son is only 2, there are limited ways he can eat vegetables… so this gives me new things to try (rather than the “deceptive” part so much). We really like quesadillas with beans, cheese and sweet potato or pumpkin puree. My son also loves the mac ‘n’ cheese with squash or cauliflower.

    Amazingly, my kid really likes pesto on pasta. I make it with spinach so that one’s totally a win-win!

    I also find that casserole-type dishes work well, maybe because the veggies aren’t as obvious- so I’ll make shepherd’s pie (includes carrots, peas and corn), chicken pot pie with mixed veggies, and lasagna (maybe mushrooms, spinach, etc) pretty often.

  2. I love the apple sauce and veggie leather ideas! Maybe I’ll finally get to visit Trader Joe’s for the first time 🙂 Like TarheelJean, we make our marinara sauce and it includes lots of veggies, so I’m glad he’ll eat it on pasta or pizza, which we do at least once a week. I make big batches of pumpkin muffins for weekend breakfasts too. He will also eat the combo YoBaby yogurts like apple and sweet potato. He’s fascinated with broccoli but won’t eat it, so I’m trying to think of other ways of sneaking it and other veggies in.

  3. I don’t really “sneak” veggies to Brooke and she’s good about eating them. I think one of the main things that keeps her eating them is letting her pick. Its basically her “job” to pick our veggie for the night.

    I think the earlier you introduce them the better too. We didn’t do purees very long so pretty much as long as Brooke’s been eating food, there’s been a veggie on her plate. I’ve been known to tell her no more peas until she eats her chicken.

  4. Hummus is magic. That is all. If I want to eat some, I need to buy another tub. Thinking of just making it from scratch. That shiz can get pricey. My kid isn’t into veggies much, so I get lazy and don’t offer her more variety. But I can’t wait to explore more this spring/summer. I’m thinking taking Abby to a farmer’s market and having her pick out veggies to try might spike her interest. She’s good about trying things….but tells me promptly if she doesn’t like it 😉

  5. Pingback: Toddler Dinners: Teaching Moments

  6. My kids are a bit hit and miss with veges, but I am seriously sneeky with the “hide-a-veg”.
    I make a lot of things in advance – have a big shop every second or third saturday morning at the farmers markets, go home and cook up a storm, then portion things out into serving sized containers and freeze. Beef pie filling – just enough beef mince, very finely grated/diced onion, cabbage, mushrooms, carrot, zucchini if I have it, spinach if I have it and plenty of rich brown gravy. Chicken casserole with the same veg plus sweet potato and sometimes pumpkin as well as a dijon mustard sauce. Bolognaise sauce – same veg plus roasted capsicum and tomatoes. Fried rice mushrooms, corn, snow peas, onion, capsicum, spring onions, cabbage, carrrot – over it with chinese 5 spice, garlic, ginger and kajup manis, add some bacon/lap choi, chinese omlette and half brown/white rice and my kids basically inhale it! Plenty of ways to hide veg

  7. I have two things that work for my three-year-old that don’t include ‘hiding’ (although I use that tactic too). I give the vegi a fun name like baby trees (broccoli), white baby trees (cauliflower), green balls (peas), baby lettuce (Brussel sprouts), etc. Another thing is to make shapes with the food. It’s how I get her to eat salad. I’ll arrange all the pieces into a smiley face or something.

    I ended up here because I was trying to find out if anyone had ever tried hiding vegis in fruit leather 🙂

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