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Healthy recipes for toddlers: Vegetables in disguise

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Three sweet takes on vegetables

Young children need to eat healthy snacks between meals to keep their bodies nourished. If toddlers are fussy eaters, this can prove challenging.
Oatmeal carrot muffin

Three sweet takes on vegetables

You should always have fresh fruit, raw vegetables and other nutritious snacks on hand for toddlers between meals. These healthy snacks will help satisfy their hunger while supplying the vitamins and other nutrients they need.

Many toddlers are fussy eaters and refuse to eat some nutritious foods. For these children, it's often beneficial to "hide" vegetables inside delicious muffins, cookies, breads, meats and sauces. Eventually your child will start acquiring a taste for these healthy foods and you can begin re-introducing them in their raw forms.

Here are a few healthy recipes for kids that will satisfy even the most picky eater in your family.

Oatmeal carrot muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 toddler size jar carrot baby food
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots

Directions:

Tip: Allow toddlers to "frost" muffins with fat-free cream cheese, if desired.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir by hand until combined.
  4. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
  5. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
  6. Bake 16 to 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Zucchini and carrot cookies

Makes about 20 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup margarine
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream margarine and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Add egg and vanilla, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Mix shredded zucchini and carrots.
  5. Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.
  6. Add these dry ingredients to the large bowl, stirring until well combined.
  7. Drop teaspoons of dough approximately 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Sweet potato brownies

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 skinned, boiled sweet potato, pureed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter an 8-inch square pan. Set it aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter.
  4. Once the butter is melted, remove pan from heat, and stir in the cocoa.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Stir in the sugar and sweet-potato puree, and then stir in the egg.
  7. Add vanilla to cocoa mixture.
  8. Carefully add the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture and stir thoroughly.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes.

More vegetables in disguise

If your child is extremely fussy about eating vegetables and other nutritious foods, you can find plenty of ways to disguise them in everyday meals.

You can puree broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and add the mixture to spaghetti sauce. You can also add canned pumpkin or shredded carrot to brownie mix, or grate vegetables and include them in meatloaf.

With a little creativity and patience, you can have your toddler eating his veggies in no time, even if the vegetables are in disguise.

Tell us

Have you tried sneaking veggies into your kids' meals? Tell us how in the comments below!

More healthy eating tips

Healthy lunches for toddlers
Getting toddlers to eat veggies
Dealing with fussy eaters

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