Whether it’s a picky eater you are tiptoeing around, or it’s your own wellness goals you are trying to reach, eating more veggies is on the top of many minds. Vegetables are our source of fibre to help regulate our bowels, clean out unwanted toxins, and provide us with the vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy.
For some, it’s a colour thing. Just seeing a green drink or a big side of spaghetti squash make many people cringe. As a Holistic Nutritionist, I have seen everyone from toddlers to husbands with a veggie phobia and, as a mom, I have some tricks. I have compiled my list of hacks to easily sneak in the foods that are considered too healthy for some.
Pancakes, when you make them from scratch, are a great medium for hiding leftover roasted sweet potato, carrots, and zucchini. A bonus, top them with nuts, almond butter and berries, and cook them in coconut oil for some extra healthy fats and nutrients.
Muffins and Breakfast Cookies are often made with all kinds of whole grain goodness, like oats, flax and nuts. The secret additions are apple sauce, shredded carrot, dried fruit and zucchini which makes them uber moist. This is one of my favourite muffin recipes, made with roasted sweet potato.
Scrambled Egg Cups are not only the ideal on-the-go breakfast, but they hide vegetables really well. Whisk up a dozen eggs with a splash of water or milk of choice, and pour it into lined muffin cups. Sprinkle in diced red pepper, tiny pieces of mushroom, zucchini, spinach or tomato, top with cheese and bake for 20 mins. Voila, a mini omelette with no sugar and all the protein to keep your fueled until lunch.
Smoothies, of course, are on the list. My top sneaky choices are spinach, steamed zucchini and cauliflower, roasted carrot and yam, and avocado. When I’m making dinner, I always roast extra veggies and freeze them for smoothies. Zucchini and cauliflower have little flavour in smoothies, but instead add a creamier texture.
Overnight Chia Pudding might be the quickest snack to prepare, although it takes some time to set up. I mix 1/3 C chia seeds with coconut or almond milk (some use yogurt) as the base. This will expand into a pudding consistency overnight. My top additions are pureed pumpkin with cinnamon and walnuts, almond butter with banana, and roasted beets with vanilla and pecans.
My wish is for everyone to have a good relationship with vegetables and not be afraid of them because of their colour or texture. It might simply mean blending or pureeing them, slicing and dicing them in to pieces small enough to ‘hide’ for now. Once the secret is out that you have been serving veggies on the regular, I am sure you can expect some lifelong changes on your menu and some new fans of the veg.
Jen Casey is a Holistic Nutritionist with Next Bite Nutrition Coaching in Vancouver, BC. She focuses her practice on whole body wellness and building a solid foundation for the pillars of health. Learn more about Jen and her healthy meal plans on Instagram.