Sneaking Healthy Foods into Your Child’s Meals

We all want our children to eat healthier. Who hasn’t bribed, coerced, begged, or made up games to get them to eat healthy foods? In the end, they see right through us. The jig is up. Or is it? I suggest we roll up our sleeves and outsmart these little geniuses. Let’s get sneaky.

Maybe you’ve tried to disguise their veggies. Some parents have hidden veggies with ranch dressing, or broccoli with cheese. It may have even worked for a time, but this idea adds unnecessary calories and doesn’t really hide the flavors at all. What if I told you, your children will want to eat veggies for dessert, and they’ll even thank you for it?! It’s true.

I was skeptical myself, so I tried this recipe, Spinach Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting. It was delicious! Really.

Spinach Brownies

  • 1 cup pureed spinach
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup salted butter—melted
  • ½ cup chocolate chips—melted

Preheat oven to 350ᵒ and spray 8 x 8 pan with non-stick spray.

Thoroughly rinse 4–5 cups of raw spinach and puree in a blender with 1–2 TBS of water (makes 1 cup spinach puree).

Mix cocoa powder, flour, and baking soda. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix butter and sugars, melted chocolate chips, spinach puree and vanilla.

Gradually stir dry ingredients into your chocolate spinach mixture, mix until smooth.

Pour batter in 8 x 8 pan and bake for 30–35 minutes or until your toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool.


Peanut Butter Frosting

  • ½ cup butter—melted
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup confectioner’s powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

With an electric mixer, blend butters. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar and 2 Tablespoons of milk. Beat until fluffy (about 23 minutes). Add a little more milk if it is too stiff.

Spread on cooled brownies, refrigerate 1 hour before cutting.

Honestly, you can’t taste the spinach. My friend said it tasted like dark chocolate. People have begun using this pureed vegetable trick in all sorts of recipes. Here’s one for yummy chicken (and vegetable) tenders:


Chicken (and Vegetable) Tenders

  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup broccoli or spinach or sweet potato or beet puree
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips or chunks
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

In one bowl, combine the lightly beaten egg with the vegetable puree of your choice.

In another bowl, combine the Panko. Paprika, garlic and onion powders, flaxseed and Parmesan.

Sprinkle the chicken strips or chunks with salt. Then, one at a time, dip them into the egg mixture and then roll them in the dry mixture. Pat them to make sure they are evenly coated.

Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray and place it over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and a few tenders. Leave space beside each, so they will cook evenly. Cook the tenders on one side for 3–5 minutes. When crispy, turn them over and cook the other side for another 3–5 minutes. Check to make sure they are thoroughly cooked (flakey white meat on the inside, not pink). Remove and serve warm.

For more wonderful (and sneaky) family-friendly recipes, I recommend readers check out cookbooks by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, that is Jerry Seinfeld’s wife). They are:

Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food

Double Delicious: Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives

The Can’t Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified!

Food Swings: 125+ Recipes to Enjoy Your Life of Virtue and Vice