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Kid-Friendly, Parent Approved: 5 Recipes for the Picky Household

Master the art of hiding veggies, and appeal to fussy eaters of all ages with a little help from the Made In Starter Kit.


Throughout the generations, children have always hated eating healthy. Give ‘em a candy bar, and call it a day. In reality, it’s important for parents to strike a balance between ‘open up and shove it in’ and ‘whatever you want’ in the kitchen.

Across Facebook, Pinterest, and other popular sites, crafty parents are sharing their nifty tricks for incorporating veggies and other nutritious essentials into their kids’ diets. But the duplicity doesn’t stop there. Nowadays, creative chefs are targeting fussy adults as well. So we’re not talking about a bowl of broccoli pulverized to a pulp.

Many of these recipes go beyond the baby food mush, making meals tasty, nutritious and universally appealing. Let’s face it: making one meal for mom and dad and another meal for the little one is no way to keep your sanity. So let’s dive into some deceptive cooking strategies. 

Picky? Let’s get tricky

By marrying the right flavors, textures, colors and other properties relevant to the culinary arts, you can legitimately ‘trick’ the palate into enjoyment. In other words, these techniques aren’t superficial. They actually appeal to the sense of taste, and as long as ingredients properly complement each other, both children and adults can happily indulge.

We’ve assembled five fabulous recipes featuring your favorite comfort foods, each with a healthy twist. Best of all, you won’t need any fancy food processors or other obscure gadgets. All you need are the usual suspects—a high-quality fry pan, saucepan, stockpot, and stove.

5 Kid-Friendly Dishes for the Entire Family

5. Magical Mac & Cheese

Hidden veggies: sweet potato, cauliflower, carrots

MacNCheese Idea

Photo: FoodLets

Good old mac and cheese. It’s a marriage made in heaven. So why rock the boat with veggies, you ask? Well, this recipe is so easy and delicious, you’ll wish you thought of it yourself.

First, keep in mind that it’s easy to tweak mac and cheese to suit people with all kinds of palates. For instance, your kids may favor a classic combination of elbows and cheddar. Meanwhile, Dad likes to throw in some smoky Gouda, or perhaps a unique pipette pasta. Use whatever floats your family’s boat. Now, on to the good stuff.

Although this recipe calls for pureeing vegetables in a food processor, we propose an alternative. Instead, take a bag of frozen ‘veggie rice,’ and once cooked, chop and dice the pieces even smaller. If you’re patient, you can even rice some fresh sweet potatoes, cauliflower or carrots yourself by using a manual grater.

Here’s the trick. Once you’ve cooked your pasta in a stockpot, mix in your milk, cheese, egg and a few select spices, pour in your veggie rice, and prepare for mouths to water. 

4. Sneaky Mashed Potatoes

Hidden veggie: cauliflower

We’re convinced: no child (or adult) on this earth would willingly eat cauliflower. That is—until now. This classic mashed potato dish spices things up with a hearty helping of hidden veggies.

Start by boiling your red potatoes in a stockpot. About halfway into the process, add some fresh cauliflower pieces and cook until everything is tender. Next, get out your hand mixer or start mashing manually, and combine both ingredients together. Picky eaters will be none the wiser.

What we love about this approach is that we’re not completely swapping out the smooth, creamy, buttery potatoes for a bowl of bland, mushy crap. On the contrary, the tougher consistency of the cauliflower actually complements the potatoes. Don’t forget a healthy helping of butter, milk, and scallions.

3. Vegetable Fried Rice

Hidden veggies – cauliflower, carrots, peas

Warning! This isn’t the same staple from your corner Chinese restaurant. However, it’s just as irresistibly delicious.

First, you’ll need a traditional fry pan (or stir-fry pan). Assemble all your ingredients including fresh or frozen carrots, peas, coconut oil, 2 eggs, green onions, garlic, and other fixings you prefer. Getting antsy? The big secret is coming up next.

Despite everything you’ve learned about Asian cuisine, swap out your white rice for (yes, once again) cauliflower. This time, we’re going to ‘rice’ the veggie, then sauté the itty bitty pieces with the other ingredients in your sauté pan. Follow the step-by-step recipe to discover this unexpectedly scrumptious—and nutritious—take on a once calorie-packed comfort food.

2. Hidden Veggie Tomato Sauce

Hidden veggies – carrots, celery, zucchini, red pepper

Healthy Pasta With Red Sauce

Almost every American family incorporates a red tomato sauce with at least one dish a week. This exciting recipe takes the ‘hidden veggie’ trend up a notch by including practically everything and the kitchen sink.

Your Italian grandmother may simmer her gravy with sausage, pork and a mix of spices, but for adults and kids who need their vitamins to stay healthy and strong, we need something cleaner.

Before you stir your tomato puree into oblivion, chop up some celery, carrot, pepper, and zucchini. Cook everything down in a little olive oil, then transfer to the saucepot to simmer with the rest of your Sunday sauce. The vitamin-packed liquid can then be used with chicken parmesan, pasta primavera—whatever your tummy desires.

1. Chocolate Pumpkin Avocado Pudding

Hidden veggies – pumpkin, avocado

Healthy Chocolate Pudding

Photo: theorganicdietitian

Don’t forget dessert! Although this final recipe may pack on some extra calories, nutritionists tell us they are GOOD calories. So go ahead and dive in without guilt.  

The base of the pudding will avoid heavy dairy milk in favor of two large, ripe avocados, cocoa powder, coconut or almond milk, sweet pumpkin puree, and some other interesting extras. Put your pans aside, get out the blender, and mix until smooth and creamy.

Pop your mixture in the refrigerator to chill. When you’re ready to indulge, stick up your pinky, and enjoy your ‘grown-up’ goodie with a fancy cup of espresso. Congratulations! You’ve tricked your tongue into loving veggies.

Don’t forget to pick up the Made In Starter Kit so you can start making these sensational meals straight out the box!

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