Do you sneak veggies into your kid’s food? I do. My favorite ninja mom veggie hack is this Very Veggie Pesto recipe.
It’s a super easy way to sneak extra vitamins and nutrients onto your kid’s plate, especially if they are not a huge veggie fan!
Not every child is going to like or even want to try vegetables, or other new foods. It’s okay to respect their preferences, especially as they grow older, but as parents, it’s our job to encourage them to give it a try, and offer them the healthiest options we are able to provide.
Make Veggies Part of Your Family’s Lifestyle
When my daughter was a baby, she was very open to new foods–aside from peas. She flat-out hated them, and no matter what I tried, I usually wound up wearing them. One day I mixed them in with carrots… and voila! She was none the wiser, and it was my first ninja mom veggie hack.
Once she was a toddler, my go-to hack was smoothies. She loved watching me make them, and as she grew older, she also loved picking out the ingredients, making her own ninja veggie moves, and pushing the buttons on the blender (while being extremely supervised).
Kids cannot make every choice in their lives, and need a firm hand, but I have found that when I offer guided choices, when I can, it tends to work better for everyone. Plus, she grows confident in her own decision-making, likes, and dislikes.
One of the best things about kids is that they are naturally curious. I capitalized on this by reading books about farms and food, and coloring and doing art projects with her based on vegetables. We talked about why they are important and how they help her to grow healthy and strong.
Lead By Example
If you hate veggies, and rarely eat them, it might be harder to encourage your children to eat them. Mom and Dad’s plates are an object of curiosity and desire, even before babies can have solids, so mirror the eating habits you hope to see in your little ones. There are veggies I am not fond of, and I have shared that with my daughter, so we challenge each other to find new ways to approach our least favorite foods, and give it a really fair shot before throwing in the towel or camouflaging that food with a recipe like Very Veggie Pesto.
Make Food Shopping Fun!
From May through October, my daughter and I have a date every Saturday morning. We start at Starbucks, and then walk up to the Farmer’s Market. Cutting through the small park near our house, we stop to admire the mini waterfall, and discuss anything ranging from the grocery list and recipes we want to try for the week, to school, classes, her friends, and her art and music. It’s good for the soul to tap back into nature, check in on each other, and see how we made it through the week, while picking out the healthiest foods that we can afford.
Some of the farmers know us by name, and have watched my little one grow healthy and strong, thanks to the wholesome food they work so hard to produce. My daughter asks smart questions, and we both learn about how our food makes it to our table, as live music plays in the background. Hands down, it’s my favorite part of the week, and hopefully something we can still find time for as she grows older, and eventually share with her own family.
Very Veggie Pesto Recipe
Every time we make Very Veggie Pesto, it turns out a little different depending on the produce of our garden area, and what veggies are in season at the Farmer’s market or grocery store. We have added collard greens to this in place of the basil, squeezed a lemon in for a touch of zest. Most of the time, we omit the pine nuts. The consistent “theme” is to add at least 4 cups of dark greens, for added nutrients!
Popular Pesto Ingredients (Feel free to switch these up!):
Four Cups of Spinach
Four Cups of Basil Leaves
1 Head of Broccoli
1/2 a Red Onion
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1/3 cup of water
Blend all the veggies until it is the consistency of applesauce. Pour the mixture into cupcake liners. Freeze them. When solid, pop out the “pucks” from the cupcake molds, and store in a freezer safe bag.
We drop a puck or two into our spaghetti sauce, and add them to a cream sauce recipe or to soups. We have even used them in brownie mix. Your kids won’t even know they are eating veggies!
My favorite meal to add this yummy pesto to is one-pot pasta. You can make add these to either a marinara or cream sauces. Depending on the ingredients, you can add them to salsa as well for a deeper flavor.
More Yummy Veggie Recipes and Ideas
- Recipes That Sneak in Vegetables
- Easy Healthy Recipes Using the #1 Technique for Vegetables Kids Love
- How To Feed Your Family Organic Food On the Cheap
What’s your favorite ninja mom vegetable move to add more veggies onto your children’s plates? Comment below!