Getting Kids to Eat Veggies

October 12, 2017
Lauren and the kids

Lying about hiding, blending and baking veggies into my kids’ food since 2009. Get all my tips to trick your kids too! Hashtag best mom ever.

Lauren and the kids

The other day, I was talking to a friend about a cooking video we both had seen. In said video, the lady cooking was describing how easy it was to feed kids veggies by simply calling them “worms” or other fun names. Just like magic, ta-da!! Your kids will eat their vegetables! Now, while I admire the kids who eat their “worms”, I’m guessing the other 94% of kids will REFUSE. Not just say no nicely; straight up refuse. 

Thus this post was born.

I have three kids. Two out of the three are PICKY which means I can’t give them a bowl of mashed sweet potato, call it unicorn poop and all is well in the world. That’s not my reality folks and I know that’s not your reality either.

So, how do I get my kids to eat their veggies? It’s really quite simple:

I lie, I hide, I cover with Doritos, I cover with cheese, I dip in ranch. And when all else fails, I bribe.

And that right there is why I won’t win any parenting awards, but I don’t care. I’m giving my kids the nutrition they need (sometimes with a side of chips) and can fall into bed knowing they got some decent vitamins that day.


Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

Lying works really well with my 8 year old when it comes to new foods or recipes I’m introducing. When they start to refuse you swoop in with a “you LOVED this when I made in last April!” or “I know its new, but I got the recipe from (*insert admired aunt’s name) and it’s (*insert favorite cousin’s name) favorite!!” or “I found this recipe online and both (*insert best friend’s mom name) and I are making it TONIGHT! I bet (*insert best friend’s name) will love it!”

Works like a freaking charm. 

She knows when I’m lying about 50% of the time which means the other 50% of the time, she gets an “eat your dinner or go to bed hungry” statement from Mom.

I don’t fight with any kid about eating because I hate confrontation in all forms. I’m not worried about my kids going hungry because I gave birth to them and they are half me. We’re hefty folk. At my house, it’s eat or don’t eat and deal with the consequences. Whatever. Mama’s too tired to argue. 

Lying certainly helps the cause though.

I’m also not ashamed to blend a little spinach, frozen broccoli or kale into smoothies or add grated veggies into a pasta sauce. Red sauces, soups, smoothies and baked goods and great opportunities to mix in some extra veggies. I do it all. Even adding a few chips overtop a salad or chili will go a long way. The things my kids will do for a Dorito…

Which brings me to bribery. I am not ashamed to play the “no dessert” card, or more likely the “no extra doritos” card. (We only do dessert once a week at our house.) I’m sure there are ‘experts’ out there who think this isn’t wise or healthy (who also have those magical kids who eat their “worms”) but I live in real life, folks. And sometimes you have to pull rank and be the parent and say “eat it or else….”

My point is, I’m in the same boat as you and we’re all in this together! Try one (or all!) of these tricks and join the ranks of mediocre motherhood. Wheeeeee!!


Here are some of my favorite recipes that include vegetables that my kids will actually eat. Believe you me, we’ll get those little ankle biters eating some veggies in no time.

Healthier Crockpot Sloppy Joes–half low fat ground beef, half squash, zucchini, carrot and onion!!

Whole Wheat Vegetable Calzones–cut the vegetables extra small once they are roasted and cover with cheese for the extra picky child. Have extra marinara on the side for dipping!

My Favorite Turkey Taco Meat–stretching that taco meat by adding in a bunch on chopped veggies!

Stovetop Butternut Macaroni and Cheese–very cheesy, but also packed with butternut squash! And it’s all the same color! Winning at parenting.

Veggie Spaghetti–Instead of using tomato sauce or tomato juice, substitute in some V8 vegetable juice! That’s what I do in this recipe.

Bean-Free Turkey Chili–This qualifies as one of the recipes that you cover the veggies with grated cheese and crushed Doritos.

Guilt-Free Fried Rice–A 10-minute meal that all my kids devour. They *almost* don’t care that the vegetables are visible.

Taco Sloppy Joes–The raw veggie taco toppings get piled high onto this burger bun for a very messy and yummy dinner.

Morning Glory Muffins

Stovetop Tuna Noodle Casserole–Distract your kids by covering their fish and veggie filled dinner with crushed ruffles chips! Works like a charm.

Asian BBQ Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Fried Rice–Again with the fried rice…my kids love it regardless. Just cut your veggies small 😉

Taco Salad Pizza–of course I crushed a little handful of Doritos overtop the whole thing to get my kids to eat it, why do you ask?

Zucchini Pizza Casserole–this low carb dinner miiiight be pushing your kids into new territory that is uncomfortable to them. They might not appreciate the way you’re using the word ‘Pizza’ so loosely.

Epic Chicken Salad–There’s a whole lotta zucchini in this recipe and it’s nearly impossible to tell!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal–Who said you can’t feed your kids carrots for breakfast?

Morning Glory Muffins–zucchini AND carrot in these muffins!

The Best Zucchini Brownies–Not a super healthy dinner option, but a tasty dessert option. Yay for adding extra nutrients!

Zucchini Brownies



  • Reply
    October 13, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Veggies are not the problem here… fruit is ridiculously difficult

  • Reply
    October 13, 2017 at 6:36 am

    2 out of 3 of my daughters hate soup, so I’ve started referring to them as “bowls” and put in a bit less broth and let them add toppings/mix ins! It’s totally working!

    I like to think of it more as marketing and not lying 😉

  • Reply
    Beki jenson
    October 13, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    These are great Lauren. Looks like NYC is sitting well with you and yours. Have fun!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2017 at 7:41 am

    I love that you tell it like it is in this post. I have one picky eater and one that will just about anything. And your right, with kids sometimes your gotta lie, or tell them half truths about what is in it. Or sometimes if I want them to try something and I have made a healthy change to the recipe I wait to see if they like it and then tell them after they have eaten it all that I added something new. 🙂

    • Reply
      Natalie Howard
      February 13, 2018 at 6:16 am

      I love your tips! I have never had a problem with my older five kids eating, but my youngest was a preemie and has a tough time with new foods and textures. He is just older than Eddie (was due in February but born in December) and has curly hair, too, so I have loved seeing your posts of Eddie.

  • Reply
    Kathy Jensen
    February 20, 2018 at 7:26 am

    All parents have times kids don’t want veggies. As a mom, grandma, and great grandma I have them help me chop and prepare foods. I make it a game. My favorite so far is home made “orange applesauce” it requires Fuji, Gala, Grannysmith apples with the addition of carrots to make it orange. That idea came from a grandson who was 4 at the time and his favorite color is still orange. Wish I had thought of letting my girls do this versus discovering this with grandkids. We also make green applesauce.

  • Reply
    Bernadette Arrington
    August 16, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Hi I just recently had hernia removal/esophagus repair surgery and my daughter found your turkey burger recipe. Do you by any chance have a veggie burger recipe that you can share? My diet have to change because of the surgery and chronic pancreatitis for 10 yrs. I’m not able to eat just yet but she tried your turkey burgers and she said they were awesome. I saw you made an applause but I don’t see the recipe. Anything at this point will be gratefully appreciated. Thank you for listening.

  • Reply
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