3 Recipes That Encourage Children To Eat More Vegetables
Healthy Eating Week is an annual celebration by the British Nutrition Foundation to encourage the nation to eat and drink more healthily, as well as get more active. This awareness week aims to help people of all ages form a healthier relationship with food.
For children specifically, healthy eating week is a great opportunity to encourage healthy eating, hydration, and activity. As we look forward to this celebration of nutrition, we want to share some simple and healthy recipes you can make this week to encourage your children to eat their vegetables.
* If you are cooking for children in your care, watch out for the foods to avoid giving babies and young children. Find out more on the NHS website and adapt your recipes accordingly.
Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce
Children can be picky eaters, and one of the best ways to ensure your child is getting all of the nutrients they need for their body each day is with some clever hidden vegetable recipes. This sauce can be used for pasta dishes, for pizzas, and as a base for soups or mild curry.
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 carrot
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 punnet fresh tomatoes
- Other leftover vegetables (broccoli, sweet potato, squash etc)
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp mixed herbs
Chop up all of your vegetables apart from your carrot and celery. Add to a roasting dish. Season with salt and pepper, add your mixed herbs and drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 200C for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through. In a large saucepan, add some olive oil and heat. Chop your carrot and celery finely and add to the pan – sweat for 6-8 minutes until fragrant. Add your tomato puree and cook for 1 minute. Add your worcestershire sauce, vegetables, and chopped tomatoes along with half a tin of water and simmer for 5-20 minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.
Use any leftover veggies you have in the house and roast them in the oven for this dish! This sauce can be frozen and stored for up to 1 month.
Broccoli Crust Pizza with Veggie Faces
- 1 head broccoli
- 1 egg
- 100g parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp flour
- Hidden vegetable sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Bell pepper strips
- Olive slices
- Mushroom or pepperoni (depending what your child likes!)
Use a grater to grate your broccoli head. Microwave it for 2 minutes and then squeeze the water out with a cloth. Add to a bowl with egg, flour and parmesan cheese and mix into a dough. Place on a baking sheet or pizza tray and shape into a pizza. Bake for 10 minutes at 200C. Add your sauce and cheese, and then allow children to decorate their pizza using the vegetables to make smiley faces. Bake for 8 minutes at 220C.
If you want to avoid using egg in the base, you can swap this for 1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1 tbsp water.
Roasted Vegetable Risotto
- 250g arborio rice
- Olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 150ml lemon juice
- 1 tbsp mixed herbs
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 750ml vegetable stock
- 200g roasted vegetables (butternut squash, sweet potato, courgette, tomatoes, carrot, pepper)
- 30g feta cheese
- 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
Wash and chop any random vegetables you have in the house. Place this on a baking sheet with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast for 45 minutes. In a saucepan, add olive oil, chopped garlic, mixed herbs and arborio rice. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir until absorbed. Add tomato puree and a small splash of stock. Stir until when you pull your spoon through the mixture you can create a trail. Continue to add stock in small increments and stir until absorbed. Once added, you can add a parmesan rind and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add your roasted vegetables, feta, and parmesan to the risotto and stir to combine. Heat through for a few minutes. Serve with some fresh basil and parmesan.
You can use any leftover veggies you have for this recipe and it is a great way to disguise nutrients in a hearty and warming dish. When you have leftover risotto, you can shape it into balls, roll it in some breadcrumbs and fry it to make homemade arancini!
Finding novel ways to bring vegetables into your diet and your child’s diet is easier than you think, and these 3 recipes offer a balanced meal for all the family to enjoy.
Have you seen our FREE Nutrition in the Early Years Guide? Louise Mercieca, an award-winning Nutritional Therapist, discusses nutrition and how it can impact mental health in the early years.