Health Promotion/ Nutrition/ Recipes

10 creative recipes to increase fruit and vegetable intake for picky eaters

I was quite naïve before I had kids, I thought it would be easy to feed kids healthy food. I thought I’d simply put healthy food in front of them, they’d eat it and if they didn’t eat it, they wouldn’t get anything else. Simple. Well it’s not that straight forward is it?!

As soon as I had a baby, I learnt that things can’t always be controlled the way you intended it would. Over time, I’ve discovered that it’s all about learning and adapting to suit your family’s ever-changing needs. Some children for whatever reason, refuse to eat certain foods and we can’t force it. Ultimately we provide the food and they choose to eat it. I will continue to eat lots of plant foods in front of my kids, show it to them at the shops and provide it at the dinner table, and hopefully one day, it will just be eaten. But until then, I have to get these plant foods into my picky eater’s diet, even if they’re hidden.

How many serves of  vegetables should we be aiming for?

Our Australian guidelines recommend 5-9+ serves of vegetables per day for adults and 2-4+ serves of vegetables for young children.

What’s in a serve?

  • ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin)
  • ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils (preferably with no added salt)
  • 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • ½ cup sweet corn
  • ½ medium potato or other starchy vegetables (sweet potato, taro or cassava)
  • 1 medium tomato

Statistics show that that many Australians are not reaching this guideline. Perhaps due to little preparation and cooking at home.  Below is an example of how I added the recommended guideline to my day. Starting out with a banana added to the Thermomix, with almond milk, ice, oats and honey. The second piece of fruit at morning tea. A veggie loaded quinoa salad for lunch, avocado and tomato at afternoon tea and a Thai beef salad for dinner. This reached more towards the 7 serves of veg when you add the herbs, onion and avocado. However, getting a child to eat like this is a different story, I know.

Ok, so back to getting these plant foods into your little one. Sometimes it can be helpful to seperate the ingredients that would usually go into a salad on their plate. That way they can pick and choose what they will eat. For those that need to be hidden, here’s a collection of different fruit and vegetable recipes that will disguise these beautiful nutrients.

Easy Carrot Parsnip Soup by Eats Amazing

This soup is lovely and sweet with just a hint of curry flavour, and most importantly it’s packed full of healthy vegetables!

Hidden Vegetable Smoothie by Eats Amazing

The secret hidden veg is sweet corn!

Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce by Eats Amazing

Simple pasta sauce recipe stuffed with hidden veggies –  a great base for loads of different meals including pizza and pasta.

5 ingredient pineapple piklets by kidgredients

Why not add pineapple to piklets!

Healthy chocolate orange ice lollies with sweet potato by Sneaky Veg

Sweet potato in iceblocks? Genius!

5 Minute sorbet by Planting Goodness

I love sorbet for sneaky fruit and veg. Here’s yellow squash & mango and spinach & berries.

Cauliflower Fried Rice by Because Food is Love

This Cauliflower Fried Rice is amazing because it really seems like you’re eating actual rice instead of vegetables and a great way to increase veggie uptake.

To rice the cauliflower in the Thermomix – Chop florets for about 5 seconds on Speed 5.

Cauliflower Pesto Pizza by Because Food is Love

Cauliflower Pesto Pizza is delicious – I mean, it’s topped with pesto – and really pesto makes everything just a bit better.

To rice the cauliflower in the Thermomix – Chop florets for about 5 seconds on Speed 5.

Very Berry Syrup by Tiny Tummy Tales

Why top pancakes with just maple syrup when you can add berries!!

Sweet Potato Bliss Balls by ME!

Bliss balls are flexible, you can also add grated carrot for another type of veggie.

There are cases where we need to call in a team of services for extreme picky eating, a GP is a great starting point for this journey if you are having concerns. There are also online resources from Jo at Emotionally Aware Feeding that I would recommend checking out.

Please feel free to put a link in the comments to any recipes that your little picky eater likes.


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    July 27, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks so much for including my ice lollies Teresé – this is a lovely round up and I was just the same as you, thinking that it would be easy to feed my kids before I had them. The reality has proved quite different!

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