Local food often comes in the form of produce fresh from the allotment, farmers’ market, or field, and there’s no better way to get some goodness into your diet while making a difference to local growers than by incorporating these ingredients into your regular meals. You might even find some varieties that are special to your region, so get out there and check!
Most adults love a locally grown roast parsnip, but what do you do when your kids just won’t touch their veggies? The answer is simple: hide them!
Read on for some sneaky, vegetable-rich, recipes for kids and picky adults alike which hide all those tasty greens (and reds, and oranges) inside delicious treats they’ll struggle to resist.
Smoothies and juices
Nowadays, it’s hard to pick up a smoothie or juice in the supermarket that doesn’t contain some form of veg. If your fussy eater likes a sweet and filling drink at home, why not try the same tactic?
If you’re whipping up a green smoothie or juice, kale blends harmoniously in both colour and flavour, and it’s hard to taste underneath things like apple and kiwi – don’t forget to make some for yourself before your next session on the pull up bar for a big protein boost! Beetroot can easily pass unnoticed in a strawberry smoothie or juice and the bright orange of carrot is virtually undetectable in an exotic blend of mango, pineapple and, well, orange juices.
Fresh vegetables come in some wonderful colours, and your local grower might have some unusual varieties to try, such as purple carrots and yellow beetroot. You can still take advantage of these fun colours when cooking for fussy eaters: just use the bright veggies as colouring for their plates!
Many root vegetables need only to be blended up and mixed in with batter, so experiment and see what you can do! Pancakes are a great place to start, and veggie pancakes are especially fortifying before a busy day. Have a look for pancake recipes for kids that incorporate bright coloured ingredients. Your little ones will love rainbow pancakes that really jump off the plate, and you’ll love giving them a tasty treat with hidden vegetable benefits.
You can replace pretty much any part of a recipe with a vegetable if you’re devious enough. For example, did you know that you can use squashes like a pastry or dough? Blend it with ample bread crumbs using your fingers and chill before shaping – simple.
All kinds of squashes and gourds make amazing pizza bases too and adding mashed squash to bread dough makes for a lovely chewy mouthful that goes down perfectly with a bowl of hot vegetable soup. The smell from sweeter squashes like butternut and pumpkin might tempt younger ones too.
Muffins, cakes, traybakes, and more can all benefit from a vegetable guest. From the sweet moisture leant by courgette, to that special zing that everybody loves in carrot cake, there are thousands of recipes for kids to fall in love with.
We love a beetroot brownie and a sweet potato cupcake but the sky’s the limit when it comes to incorporating veg into bakery, so let your imagination run wild! This is just one way to make a sugary treat a little less guilty.
Who can resist a snack? Leave a tray of warm cheesy puffs out in many a family home, and you’re guaranteed a few escapees. Now imagine the thieves’ surprise when you reveal how much of their snack was vegetable!
Investing in a dehydrator is a great way to make all kinds of fruit and veg look especially tempting when left in strategically placed bowls, with dehydrated beetroot being particularly moreish.
Helping everyone get their five-a-day
So there you have it, with so many ways to eat vegetables and incorporate them into our diets it should be a little easier for you and your kids to get your five-a-day. With enough experimentation, you’re sure to find a way to enjoy veggies that works for everyone so next time you visit your local farmer’s market, be on the lookout for the sneakiest looking veg to smuggle into your cooking. You won’t be disappointed.