Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, so please talk to your pediatrician or family doctor about any eating concerns or before adding any vitamins or supplements to your child’s food.
When my son was two, I was so proud that he wasn’t a picky eater and would eat all the healthy foods I put on his plate. I’m a nut for nutrition and all things holistic health, so I thought it’s just natural. He happily scarfed down things like salmon, goat cheese, and every vegetable we could throw at him. You get the picture.
Then he magically developed taste buds and an opinion. Now, I have a super picky eater that I have to trick into eating nutritiously. He knows when I pop extra things into his food, but it works as long as it comes in a package he likes. I try to replace many standard grocery items with an organic option and I’m generally an “exterior aisles of the grocery store” kind of gal.
Parents usually do everything they can to help their children stay healthy and make what they eat a high priority. Here are my own top five mom hacks to hide nutrition in kid-friendly foods until their “taste buds can grow” into new flavors. Although I am not a dietician, these are things that have worked in our household. Until we can get everyone in our house on board with a balanced diet, supplementation is my go-to.
5 Tricks to Sneaking in Vitamins for Your Picky Eater
- Probiotic Powder: I sprinkle this on cereal or stir into milk. Upwards of 70% of the human immune system lives in the gut. So it’s a top priority to get healthy bacteria into the gut of a kiddo who refuses to consume probiotic-rich yogurt, smoothies, or fermented vegetables. I mean, what 9-year-old doesn’t love Sauerkraut?
- Liquid MultiVitamin: Only apple juice is acceptable in our house. Apple is actually the ONLY fruit my kiddo will eat. So, to the juice I add the berry-flavored liquid multivitamin. Many children will at least eat a gummi vitamin, but for a child who doesn’t like candy or fruit snacks (um…what?), this is the only option for us.
- Fine ground chia seeds, flax meal and veggie greens: Chia seeds and flax are a good source of fiber, antioxidants and healthy fat. I grind mine in a coffee grinder to keep it fresh and often add green veggie powder to foods. The chia and flax hides perfectly in pancakes, waffles, cookies, and muffins. You can even add it to ground meat for tacos or sloppy joes. The green veggie powder is a little more tricky. I usually pop it into tomato-based sauces or ground meat for tacos, spaghetti or sloppy joes.
- Digestive enzyme supplement: Enzymes help break down food molecules and aid in absorption into the body. I use this when we eat more processed, complex carbohydrates like pasta, pizza, cereal, or crackers and chips. I open the capsule (because a full dose isn’t needed for a kiddo) and sprinkle about a third of it on the item, sauce, or dip. This can help aid in breaking down the food.
- Finally, I add grated or pureed real vegetables whenever possible. Almost all of my baked goods are sources of hidden vegetable ingredients like pumpkin, zucchini, squash, or carrots. I also always cut the amount of sugar in recipes (they are usually plenty sweet even with less sugar), and I often replace at least half of the butter with coconut oil. No one has ever complained.
Sneak in Those Veggies!
It’s a perfect time of year to get the blender out for the garden harvest. Add whatever you can into the standard kid-friendly foods. I’ll admit, my neighborhood kids have mixed reviews on the “treats” at my house. If they don’t know what’s in it they usually approve. But there’s one that always asks, “Is it full of healthy stuff?” It’s usually declined with a grimace by that kiddo, but at least my kid eats it. We’re used to it and a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do. I’m okay with being the sneaky mom as long as my children grow up healthy.
What are the sneaky ways you get veggies and vitamins into your kids?