Toddler Approved Veggies Recipes

Eat a rainbow everyday they say. But what do you do when your child hits a cognitive developmental leap around 18 months to 3 years, and all a sudden becomes a dreaded 'fussy eater' and starts refusing once loved veggies!

Do you grate them up and hide them in meals or do you keep persisting and offering the veggies visible on their plate, only to be thrown out?

My approach is to do both. I will hide some veggies in the family meal and leave some of the same veggies visible on the plate to create conversation and exposure.

For example, if we are trying cauliflower for the first time, I don't expect my toddler to actually eat a newly presented vegetable. Instead we will talk about its colour and name other veggies that are also white. Then next time we might look at the texture and might say how it is similar to broccoli (Miss Kim's favorite veggie) or trees and discuss what animals might also eat cauliflower. In the next meal setting I might invite my toddler to lick or kiss the cauliflower and describe what it feels like on the tongue and lips. We will then talk about how cauliflower will give her powerful legs to run fast and ride her bike with peddles (these things are currently very important to her). I will also chat about cauliflower in non-meal settings, like when we play shops, at the supermarket, let her cut it up for other recipes like this chocolate cauliflower cake. This might be done over weeks and months and it all adds to the exposure during this developmental leap and in the mean time I'm happy knowing she is getting the nutrition in from the hidden veggies. I know she will grow out of this phase just like her brother did!

Below are the hidden veggies recipes that are in regular rotation at our house at the moment.

Pizza Dough

When making pizza I will always add some veggies to the actual dough. Depending on what veggies I have left in the fridge at the end of the week, I will add things like grated zucchinni, grated cauliflower, spinach leaves or a tablespoon of chia seeds. To this date no-one in the family has ever tasted the difference.

Hidden Vegetable Pasta Carbonara from The Road to Loving my Thermomix

2 garlic cloves, peeled 2 zucchinis, roughly chopped 100g cauliflower, roughly chopped 6 slices short cut bacon, diced 160g uncooked dried tagliatelle 450g warm water 200g thickened cream 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 mc grated cheese (Tasty or Parmesan)

Full recipe here

Spaghetti Bog (bone broth Bolognaise) from Naughty Naturopath Mum

500 gr of beef mince (you could use any preferred mince here or a mix but I find organic beef mince easy, tasty and affordable for this recipe) 2 tins of organic diced tomatoes (I like Spiral brand) 2 cups of bone broth (recipe here) Some good quality cooking fat that is heat stable for frying (tallow, lard, ghee, coconut oil) 2 carrots 1 medium sweet potato 1 large zucchini 1 large brown onion (finely diced) 3 stalks of celery (finely chopped) 2 tblspns of oregano 2 tblspns of thyme 2 tblspns of cinnamon 2 tblspns of stock concentrate (I use a stock concentrate recipe from the thermomix EDC, use 1 tblspn of good quality salt as substitute) 4 tblpns of tomato paste 2 bay leaves 3-4 garlic cloves (crushed and goes in at the very end!)

Full recipe here Naughty Naturopath Mum

Egg Muffins from Brenda Janschek

8 -10 eggs (depending on size) ½ -1 cup of milk 1 cup cheese (grated cheddar, parmesan, crumbled feta) Your preferred filling eg: chopped up ham, spinach, kale, cherry tomato, mushrooms, , herbs, feta, leftover rice, whatever takes your fancy! Seas salt and pepper to taste

Full recipe here

Chicken Sausage Rolls from The Road to Loving my Thermomix

1 large chicken breast, chopped into chunks 1 carrot, roughly chopped 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped 1/2 zucchini, roughly chopped 1/2 green capsicum, roughly chopped 40g baby spinach leaves (use less if you dont want a green colour to these. Id suggest 20g or just slicing the spinach by hand) 4 spring onions, roughly chopped (or leek/onion) 2 garlic cloves, peeled Pinch of parsley 1 large tablespoon of vegetable stock concentrate 3 sheets puff pastry, thawed

Full recipe here

Banana and Parsnip Cake by Not Quite Nigella

Carrot cake is so popular, beets less popular and parsnip almost unknown. Why when it tastes this great! My family loves this even without the icing.

2 large eggs, at room temperature 3/4 cup brown sugar 3/4 cup mild flavoured oil 2.5 cups firmly packed grated parsnip (2-3 large parsnips, I got about 3 cup's worth from 3 parsnips) 1/2 cup sultanas or choc chips 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (omit for school lunchboxes) 1 cup plain all purpose flour pinch of salt 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda (bi carb of soda)

Full recipe here

Magic Bean Cake by Sarah Wong

Not exactly hidden veggies but I like to rotate out wheat flour when baking and this one is a winner with the family.

400g tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 5 eggs 1 tablespoon water 1/3 cup cacao or good quality cocoa powder 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/3 cup coconut oil (or 125g butter, softened) 1/2 teaspoon salt, sea or Himalayan 1/2 cup stevia (or raw sugar)

Full recipe here

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