A Guide for Mommies: How to Sneak Nutrition Into Your Kids’ Food

A young boy holding banana as a phone while eating cereal

Do you dread mealtime because it feels like a never-ending battle to get your kids to eat nutritious foods? Are you tired of the fuss and frustration of incorporating healthy options into your meals? As a parent, feeding your children healthy, nutritious foods can be challenging. With picky eaters and busy schedules, it's easy to fall into a habit of relying on processed, convenient foods that may not be the best for our health. Well, fear not! There are many ways to sneak nutrition into your kids' food without sacrificing taste or convenience.

In this blog post, we'll share some simple strategies for making mealtime magic by sneaking in nutrition without sacrificing taste or convenience. From creative recipes to helpful tips and getting into the depth of the problem, we have everything you need to transform your family's dining experience from drudgery to delight! So let's dive in and look at some tips and tricks to help you transform mealtime into a fun and nourishing experience for the whole family!

Trivia Time
The government's survey says zinc deficiency was found among 19% of preschool children and 32% of adolescents. Folate deficiency was prevalent among 23% of preschool children and 37% of adolescents. Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D deficiency prevalence also hovers between 14% to 31% for preschool children and adolescents. Since the body does not produce vitamins and minerals, children must get them from the diet. Zinc is vital for bone growth and immunity. Folate prevents congenital disabilities and anemia. The blood and nervous system need vitamin B12, Vitamin A strengthens immunity, and Vitamin D can prevent rickets.
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Mealtime Challenges of Fussy Eaters: Tips By Raka 

One of the biggest challenges parents face when trying to incorporate healthy options into their family's meals is dealing with fussy eaters. Whether your child refuses to eat vegetables or turns up their nose at anything that looks "weird," it can be frustrating to try and get them to eat a balanced diet. It can be disheartening to spend time and effort preparing a nutritious meal only to have your child refuse to eat it. However, there are a few tips and tricks you can employ to overcome this challenge and deal with fussy eater kids:

  • Offer Variety: Kids can be picky eaters, but they are more likely to try new foods if they are given a variety of options. Offer a range of fruits, vegetables, and proteins, and encourage your child to choose what they want to eat.
  • Be a Role Model: Children often imitate their parent's behavior, so it's essential to set a good example. Let your child see you enjoying a wide range of nutritious foods, and they may be more inclined to follow suit.
  • Understand Kids' Taste: When kids find a familiar taste they like, they'll be more open to trying new things during their mealtime. So try to see what your kids like and don't like, and use that information to prepare a nutritious meal for them.
  • Be Patient: It takes time for kids to develop a taste for new foods, so don't give up if they initially reject a particular food. Keep offering it in small amounts; eventually, they may come around.
  • Make food fun: Kids are more likely to eat something if it looks fun and appealing. Try presenting fruits and vegetables in a visually appealing manner, such as arranging them in the shape of a smiley face or using colorful plates and cutlery.

How do you sneak greens into kids' food?

As a parent, you may wonder if it's worth the battle to make your kids eat more vegetables. The short answer is yes! They are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are crucial for your child's growth and development. While it may be tempting to rely on supplements or fortified foods, ensuring your child is getting the nutrients they need from whole foods is essential. However, it can be challenging to get your child to eat vegetables willingly. 

One of the most common challenges parents face when incorporating more nutritious options into their children's diets is finding creative ways to sneak in greens. While some kids may happily eat a salad or steamed broccoli, others may need more coaxing. But with a bit of creativity, you can easily incorporate nutritious greens into their meals without them even realizing it. Therefore, it's worth exploring alternative methods to ensure they receive the necessary nutrition.

Hide Vegetables in Plain Sight

Another strategy to sneak nutrition into your kids' food is by hiding vegetables in plain sight. By incorporating vegetables into dishes where they are less noticeable, you can ensure your kids are getting their daily dose of nutrients. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pasta Sauce: Puree vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, or zucchini, and add them to your homemade pasta sauce. The vibrant colors of the vegetables will blend seamlessly with the sauce, and your kids won't even realize they're eating veggies.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped (for garnish)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional, for serving)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the skillet and sauté until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add the grated carrot, diced bell pepper, diced zucchini, and sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.
  4. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring well to combine.
  5. Add the dried basil, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir to incorporate the seasonings into the sauce.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  7. While the sauce is simmering, cook your preferred pasta according to the package instructions until al dente.
  8. Once the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are tender, remove it from the heat.
  9. Serve the vegetable pasta sauce over the cooked pasta.
  10. Garnish with freshly chopped basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Health benefits:

Nutrient-rich: Vegetable pasta sauce is packed with various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, depending on the vegetables used. It provides a good dose of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, and antioxidants.

 

  • Smoothies: Smoothies are a great way to pack in fruits, vegetables, and even leafy greens. Blend together a combination of fruits like bananas, berries, and mangoes with spinach or kale. The sweetness of the fruits will mask the taste of the greens, making it an enjoyable and nutritious treat.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (such as blueberries, strawberries, or mixed berries)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional, for sweetness)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • Ice cubes (optional, for a colder smoothie)

Instructions:

  1. Peel the banana and place it in a blender.
  2. Add the spinach leaves, frozen berries, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and honey or maple syrup (if desired) to the blender.
  3. Pour in the almond milk.
  4. If you prefer a colder smoothie, add a handful of ice cubes to the blender.
  5. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. If needed, you can add more almond milk for a thinner consistency.
  6. Once blended, taste the smoothie and adjust the sweetness or thickness according to your preference. You can add more honey/maple syrup or milk if desired.
  7. Pour the smoothie into a glass and enjoy it immediately. 

Health Benefits:

This healthy smoothie is packed with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants from the spinach, berries, chia seeds, and banana. It provides a refreshing and delicious way to boost your intake of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Feel free to customize the recipe by adding other ingredients like flax seeds, protein powder, or your kids’ favorite fruits

  • Muffins and Baked Goods: Sneak grated zucchini, carrots, or pureed pumpkin into muffin or cake batters. The moisture from the vegetables helps keep the baked goods moist, and the flavors blend well with sweet treats.

Recipe: Pumpkin Muffin

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (you can use almond milk or any non-dairy milk as a healthier option)

Optional toppings:

  • Cinnamon sugar mixture (using coconut sugar)
  • Chopped nuts (such as walnuts or pecans)

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease or line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and granulated sugar (or coconut sugar) until well combined and slightly creamy.
  4. Add the pumpkin puree, eggs, vanilla extract, and milk to the butter and sugar mixture. Whisk until smooth and well incorporated.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir gently until just combined. Be careful not to overmix; a few lumps are okay.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cavity about 3/4 full.
  7. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the cinnamon sugar mixture (using coconut sugar) and/or chopped nuts for added flavor and texture.
  8. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  9. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool in the tin for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Health benefits:

These modified pumpkin muffins use whole wheat flour and almond flour, which provide more fiber and nutrients compared to refined all-purpose flour. You can also use coconut sugar as a healthier alternative to granulated sugar.

 

  • Switch up the classics: Add a healthy twist to kids’ favourite comfort foods like dosa and puri

Recipe:

Vegetable Masala Dosa: Vegetable Masala Dosa is a popular South Indian dish that combines a crispy fermented crepe with a delicious vegetable filling. It's not only a flavorful and satisfying meal but also a great way to incorporate a variety of vegetables into your kids' diet. Here's how you can make Vegetable Masala Dosa to ensure your kids eat their veggies without making a fuss.

Ingredients:

  • Dosa batter (available in stores or homemade)
  • Assorted vegetables (paneer, carrots, capsicums, etc.)
  • Spices (such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander powder)
  • Salt
  • Oil for cooking

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the vegetable filling by chopping the assorted vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add the vegetables. Cook them until they are tender.
  3. Add the spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander powder) and salt to the vegetables. Stir well to combine the flavors.
  4. Take a ladleful of dosa batter and spread it evenly on a hot dosa tawa or non-stick pan.
  5. Drizzle a little oil around the edges of the dosa and on top.
  6. Spoon the vegetable filling onto one side of the dosa.
  7. Carefully fold the dosa over the filling to create a half-moon shape.
  8. Cook for a few more minutes until the dosa turns golden brown and crisp.
  9. Repeat the process for the remaining batter and filling.
  10. Serve the vegetable masala dosas with chutney or sambar for a wholesome and nutrient-packed breakfast.

Health Benefits:

  • Assorted Vegetables: Each vegetable used in this recipe brings its unique nutritional profile. Carrots are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, which promote healthy eyesight. Capsicums provide vitamin C, boosting the immune system, while paneer offers a good source of protein and calcium for bone health.

 

Veggie-packed Recipes to Fuel up Your Kids

These delicious and creative dishes not only make eating greens enjoyable but also contribute to your child's overall health and well-being. By incorporating these recipes into your kids' meals, you can ensure they receive a dose of vital nutrients without any fuss. Here are some delicious recipes that will help you sneak greens into your kids' food. These recipes not only offer a fun twist to familiar dishes but also provide essential health benefits.

Turn Rotis into Nutritious and Exciting Meals

Rotis, or Indian bread, is a staple in many households. They are versatile, easy to make, and can be enjoyed with a variety of accompaniments. While rotis are traditionally served with curries or used as a wrap for fillings, they can also be transformed into a nutritious and exciting meal, especially for fussy eaters. By incorporating dal (lentils), leafy veggies, and pre-mixes, rotis can become a healthy and appealing option that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy. Here's how you can do it:

  • Dal Stuffed Rotis: Prepare a lentil filling by cooking dal with spices and mashing it. Roll out the rotis, place a spoonful of the dal filling in the center, and fold the edges to seal it. Cook the stuffed rotis on a hot griddle until golden brown. These rotis are not only packed with protein but also have a delicious flavor that kids will enjoy.
  • Leafy Veggie Rotis: Finely chop or puree leafy greens like spinach, fenugreek, or kale and mix them into the roti dough. Knead well until the greens are evenly incorporated. Roll out the rotis and cook them as usual. The vibrant green color of these rotis will make them visually appealing, and the added greens will provide a boost of vitamins and minerals.
  • Pre-mix Rotis: Just like Spinach powder, we've got a range of nutritious and tasty TGR pre-mixes available that you can combine with different grains and flours to create healthier and delicious rotis. Whether it's Spirulina, Psyllium Husk or Fenugreek powder, we can help you enhance the nutritional value and taste of your rotis to keep your kids' taste buds excited. To check out our collection of nutritional flour mixes, click here.

Secret Mommy Tips to Help You Prepare Healthy Meals

Preparing healthy meals for your kids doesn't have to be a daunting task. But you don’t have to take our word for it since we have someone much better. We  had the pleasure of sitting down with a group of experienced mothers to gather their secret tips and tricks for preparing healthy meals for their kids. We’ve jotted down some tips proven by these mothers to make the process easier. Let's dive right in and discover their insights!

 

  • Sneaky Substitutions: I always look for opportunities to make healthier substitutions in your recipes. For example, I swap refined grains with whole grains, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, or use mashed avocado as a butter or oil replacement in baked goods. These small changes can significantly boost the nutritional value of my meals without compromising taste.
  • Make It Colorful: My kids are often drawn to vibrant colors on their plates. So I take advantage of this by incorporating a variety of colorful ingredients, like TGR roti mixes. The more colorful and visually appealing the dish, the more likely they are to try it.
  • Serve Veggies First: When serving a meal, I encourage them to start with the vegetables before moving on to the rest of the meal. By doing this, I ensure that they get their essential nutrients, even if they are too full to finish everything else.
  • Be a Stealthy Chef: I try to get creative with how I serve food to my kids. Often, I cut fruits and vegetables into fun shapes using cookie cutters, create colorful fruit and veggie skewers, or make funny faces on their plates using different ingredients.
  • Take Them Shopping: I take my kids grocery shopping and let them pick out fruits, vegetables, and other healthy ingredients. This involvement gives them a sense of ownership over their food choices.
  • Get them involved: I’ve incorporated kids preferences in meal planning by asking for their input on what they would like to eat during the week. Also, I assign age-appropriate tasks to my kids while cooking. This not only teaches them valuable cooking skills but also makes them more willing to try the food they helped prepare.

Ready to Make Meals That Include Hidden Goodness?

While sneaking nutrition into your kids' food is helpful, it's also essential to create meals that include hidden goodness right in plain sight. For example, you can add a healthy twist to your regular rotis by incorporating our beetroot, turmeric, or fenugreek Roti pre-mixes. These natural ingredients not only add vibrant colors but also bring additional health benefits to the table. Your kids will love the colorful rotis and won't even realize they're eating something nutritious. Check out TheGoodRoti nutrimixes by Rotimatic. They are ready mixes to fortify your atta with nutrition needed for your kids and family.

If you're looking also for convenience, consider using Rotimatic, an innovative kitchen appliance that automates the process of making rotis. Rotimatic allows you to create fresh and nutritious rotis at the touch of a button, ensuring that your family gets high-quality, homemade bread without any hassle. It's the ideal partner for health-conscious mothers who want to provide nutritious meals without compromising on taste or convenience. So don't be afraid to get creative, be a stealthy chef, and make healthy eating a fun and delicious adventure for your kids.