There are a lot of things I struggle with as a parent, and one of the biggest is getting my picky, 3-year old to eat some semblance of a healthy diet. By default, she has a semi-nutritious day because we never eat fast-food and she eats 3 meals (ok, more like 2.5 because lunch? Sometimes). But we are never the family who’s toddler is screaming for apple slices or who brings snacks of carrots to the park. Just, no. Despite that, I like to view is as a challenge so I’ve taken up a new project of just sneaking veggies in wherever I can. Last week I bought a huge tub of organic spinach from Costco and not wanting it to go to waste, I’ve looked up some new ways to use it before it’s trash-worthy. If you need some fresh ideas to sneak in the greens, then check out these 7 sneaky spinach recipes!
1. Spinach Basil Pesto
One of the easiest and most healthy ways to use up that big bag of spinach and get the kids eating some greens is to make pesto. Pesto is a super concentrated mixture of wonderful herbs, and is basically raw so all the nutrients are kept in tact. It’s also very pureed, so as long as your kids don’t mind something GREEEEEEEN, they should devour this recipe. And when I say green, I’m not joking. Maybe you can convince the kids it’s from outer space. I personally love two recipes, a Walnut Sage Pesto (this one is spinach-free) and a new Spinach Basil Pesto I’ve just discovered. The Spinach Basil Pesto is packed with spinach and basil, of course, but also garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, lemon and olive oil. It makes SO MUCH pesto, that you can easily freeze the leftovers for at least 2 more meals. Double win, in my book.
2. Spinach Berry Smoothies
Even if your kids are scared by the sight of something green, a berry smoothie will help cover up the evidence. You can put nearly a cup of spinach into a smoothie, with as small as 1/4 cup of frozen berries and they will still mask any green! My personal favorite recipe is 1/2 a banana, 1/2 cup of frozen berries, a large handful of spinach, a tablespoon of peanut butter and some milk. Blend and serve! Your smoothie will be a vibrant, dark pink and have no trace of earthy spinach. Mom win!
3. Meat Sauces
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you want to add in some veggies. Start by just making spinach an added ingredient in recipes you already make, like sauces. The distinct flavor of meat is a great camouflage to leafy spinach. We all know spinach has a certain gritty and earthy flavor, which is what usually deters suspecting, young ones away. Follow the advice of ThrivingHomeBlog.com and chop up some spinach and toss in your pasta sauces. It definitely won’t be as concentrated as something like pesto, but even a small amount is better than nothing!
ThrivingHomeBlog.com has 40 more ways to sneak in all sorts of veggies into your kids tummies!
4. Spinach And Cheese Stuffed Shells With Meat Sauce
Pasta and cheese are always a go-to when it comes to covering up veggies. These stuffed shells are so delicious looking, I bet the kids will hardly notice the spinach lurking around. If they do, just pile a bunch more sauce on top and keep eating!
JessicaGavin.com gives you the complete rundown of this tasty looking dish, along with the recipe for her own meat sauce!
5. Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls
You know the recipe is sneaky when “spinach” isn’t even in the title! The delightful chicken rolls boast three types of cheese (mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta) and are stuffed with sautéed spinach! Your kids will be so busy devouring the cheesy, breaded chicken they won’t even notice the greens.
We love PinchOfYum.com around here, and you can grab this recipe straight away! You’ll also find hundreds of other sweet treats and savory dinner ideas.
6. Spinach Pancakes
Instead of stressing the entire day about squeezing in your kid’s allotment of daily veggies, why not just get it over with during breakfast? These green pancakes not only look fun, they are healthy too. While they don’t fluff like a “normal” pancake, they are perfect for on the go and even freeze well. I can see popping these in the toaster and then serving with syrup for a sneaky breakfast!
Spinach pancakes are a tricky business, so be sure to grab the recipe over at SoChicLife.com so you keep the kids pancake happy!
7. Chocolate Spinach Brownies With Peanut Butter Frosting
You’re Welcome. Just when you thought sneaking in spinach couldn’t get any easier- BAM. We’ve rocked your world with hand-picking this amazing brownie recipe. If YOU can’t see the 1 cup of pureed spinach, we know your kids won’t either! The creamy chocolate and peanut butter frosting do a great job of covering up any spinach flavor, all while you can sit smirking in your corner watching the kids devour a plate.
This recipe is pretty much non-negotiable, so get over to BrooklynFarmGirl.com to get a copy. You’ll find tons of other wonderful recipes from this urban gardener and cat lover.