Flourish/ Food

Playing Hide the Zucchini?

If you’re anything like me, then you’re probably constantly trying to think of new and inventive ways to get your kids to eat vegetables.

The cookbook Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld, at first seems like an ingenious idea. Get your kids to eat a vast array of healthy foods by simply disguising them in things they will actually eat. No brainer right?

When our babies start eating solid foods, most of us subscribe to the practice of introducing vegetables first, and only when that is firmly established, then add the fruits. This seems to work well, however, as soon as they get the first taste of the good stuff, they’re hooked, and everything else from then on pales in comparison.

This is the dilemma that I am now considering. With my daughter, I felt I gave up to early in the veggie war, now she’s 14 and that war is still being waged. When my son was born I vowed to be better with him. I diligently made my green purees, and he happily gobbled them down. When I introduced the fruits he was happy to eat both.

As he grew into a toddler it became more challenging to convince him to eat his vegetables. I knew it was probably just a phase, but still it irked me. As time went on I became convinced he was going to become malnourished from lack of vegetables so I decided to try and sneak them into foods he would eat.

So where did I turn? Pinterest, of course! There I found recipes galore for a sneaky mommy. Endless options for Zucchini brownies, Spinach muffins, Broccoli pancakes, even Kale ice cream!

I started by trying to make my own veggie and fruit squeezers, this was a disaster, an enormous messy, sticky disaster. I quickly gave up that idea and moved onto fruit smoothies laden with spinach or kale. This was successful but hardly appropriate to serve for dinner. I then created my own version of a veggie patty mixing sweet potatoes, broccoli and spinach. These were a hit and he’s eats them regularly.

Recently though, I decided I want him to learn to eat vegetables in their unmasked glory. Honestly, the real reason is making the patties is a pain and I’m sick of doing it. This has been met with much opposition, and now I’m floundering.

So my question is, did I create this situation where my child won’t eat a vegetable unless it’s buried in a brownie? If I had just persevered in the beginning would he now be trained to eat what’s put in front of him? Or is it better to get those veggies in any way we can, thoughts?

If your answer to this question is, screw it, get those veggies in by any means possible, then I have included my sweet potato veggie patty recipe below.

Sweet Potato Vegetable Patties

Sweet potato, Broccoli and Spinach make these a tasty and nutritious option. 

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Sweet Potato Chunks
  • 3 Cups Broccoli Florets
  • 1 Cup Chopped Spinach
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  2. Steam sweet potato and broccoli until very tender. Add to large mixing bowl and mash until consistency is mostly smooth. Let cool completely.

  3. Add chopped spinach, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, salt and pepper and combine. 

  4. Line a baking sheet with non stick foil. 

  5. Scoop some mixture and form into a patty using a spoon, mixture may be a tad wet to do with your hands. Patties should be about an inch and a half diameter. Fill baking sheet with as many as you can. You may need to do 2 batches. 

  6. Bake one side for 20-25 minutes, take out of oven, flip each patty over and cook the other side for about 15-20 minutes. Time really depends on your oven. They should be slightly browned on both sides. 

  7. Let cool and serve. They keep in the refrigerator for up to a week and can be frozen. 

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be tweaked in many ways. I have added carrots, cauliflower, onions and different leafy greens. The measurements are also very changeable. I just throw them together with whatever I have and don't really measure anything. I'll warn you, these patties are NOT pretty and they don't stick together perfectly but they taste good and kids seem to like them, so who cares!

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