in Mumbai (change city)
Select City
  • All
  • Delhi
  • New Delhi
  • Gurgaon
  • Noida
  • Mumbai
  • Pune
  • Banglore
  • Hyderabad
  • Ghaziabad
  • Chandigarh
  • Ahmedabad
  • Kolkata
  • Chennai
  • Coimbatore
  • Jaipur
Food and Nutrition Topics..

You are here : home > Food and Nutrition > Fussy Children > How to Make Them Eat Those Veggies

How to Make Them Eat Those Veggies

How to Make Them Eat Those Veggies

Children all over the globe shun vegetables. Almost all do, and those who don’t - eat it out of compulsion rather than a genuine appreciation of vegetables. Endearing and enduring cartoon images of Dennis the Menace, Caillou and Calvin come to mind, sitting at the dinner table and making faces when made to eat greens. The reason it is such a common trope in media is because phenomenons in real life make the best tropes as they are relatable, and so is this trope. Children not liking green vegetables, or even non-green vegetables is very much a thing that happens in real life as well. It is always a matter of wonder how children invariably fall prey to junk food like chips and aerated drinks, despite being given a head start with a healthy diet of fruit juices, soups and mashed veggies. It does make sense, though. Children are often at an age where they may not know the benefits or even the value of eating healthy, but they do know which foods they find tasty. Unfortunately for parents, and those that care for the child’s nutrition and well-being, junk food tastes good and is a very attractive option for them. So, naturally, they are more drawn to junk food as tasty (yet unhealthy) snacks over a wholesome meal at any time of the day.

Most children are born with a sweet tooth and would rather indulge in chocolates, ice creams and desserts. Even those that do not necessarily have a sweet tooth would prefer foods like chips, crackers, pizza’s and burgers over what has been cooked at home. Therefore, mothers have to cook up innovative dishes all the time to make their children eat healthily. Parents truly go to large extents to ensure their child’s nutrition while also taking care to not to upset them, even if it takes tactics like sneaking veggies into junk food to adding toppings that would lure their children into consuming a dish that may be packed with nutrients. There are simple ways to make children eat vegetables, though. Vegetables need to be disguised cleverly so that they do not get noticed by your children or become obvious. Baked in cheese or stuffed in slices of bread, they will be consumed like delicacies. Even if your child is a mini Sherlock Holmes, well on their way to surpass the detective’s skills in sniffing out veggies they don’t like from dishes, there are ways to make the veggies itself tasty and more appealing to them. Read on to find just some of the many ways you can sneak in some nutrition into your child’s diet without triggering their in-built veggie alarms.

Here we give you a few suggestions to disguise veggies in your child's favourite snacks and meals. Needless to say, you can improvise on them.

1) Toasted sandwich

Children love bread and cheese as ingredients in the food they like. Boiled down to it, most of their favourite junk food has bread and cheese in it, be it pizza or burger or hot dogs. The point is, parents can use these ingredients familiar to them in the dishes they like so much and use it to make a dish that is also nutritious for them.  Next time you plan to serve them toast or put butter and cheese or marmalade into slices of bread and call it a day, try something different. Chop vegetables like carrots, beans, onion, and capsicum into small and fine pieces. Heat some oil in a pan, and once the oil is hot, add the chopped mix of veggies. Sauté them till they have softened yet are crispy on the outside. Add a bit of soy sauce, salt and pepper. Take the veggies off heat and let them slightly cool down on a plate. Use this as a filling with dollops of cheese for a delectable toasted sandwich. Once you have put the filling and a cheese slice on a piece of bread and topped it with another, melt a little butter on the pan and place the sandwich and let it toast as you butter the other side, flib and let the other side crip up in buttery yumminess as well. You can serve this sandwich with either ketchup, or a spiced yoghurt dip. There are also tons of other sauces in the market, such a mustard or chipotle sauce or even thousand island dressing that will add a little kick of flavour to the sandwich if your child is one who is particularly drawn to intense flavours.

2) Pizza

This is another way of disguising the veggies in cheese. You have the option of making a pizza base at home or buying it. Pizza dough is fairly easy to make and you can fin many tutorials and recipes online.  But even if you can't go to the store or making douch from scratch is too much effort, use brown bread (or even white for that matter) as a substitute and make pizza toast instead. In fact bread slices are even better as they are smaller servings than an entire pizza, hence there are less chances of leftovers. They are also quicker to cook compared to a full size pizza. If you have a toaster, toast the bread lightly, so that it doesn't go soggy soft in the oven when you put the tomato sauce and veggies on it. You can get store bought pizza sauce and cover the slice of bread, or make homemade pizza sauce with tomatoes, onion, garlic and oregano. Once the slice has been covered with sauce, you can add toppings beased on your child’s likes and dislike. You can experiment with the toppings - aubergines, capsicum, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, spring onions and so on. Mix and match and try new toppings to see what your child likes or rejects. Always have atleast one topping that your child likes the taste of, even if it is not the mosrt nutritious, like olives or jalapeños. Once the toppings are done, shred a generous amount of cheese on the arranged slice, place it on the pan on low heat and cover with a lid. Once the shredded cheese starts to melt a little, take the slice out and serve. The timing for how long you leave it on the pan may be adjusted upon experience to ensure the cheese melts well but the bread it not burnt.

3) Parathas

Stuffed parathas are a great way of eating vegetables. Very few children would turn up their noses at them, especially if they are accompanied by lip-smacking chutneys and sauces. While aloo paratha is a staple in North Indian households, there is no end to what stuffing you can have in your paratha. Cauliflower and peas, carrots and cabbage parathas taste really good. You can add some greens like fenugreek and spinach in the mashed potatoes to add that extra flavour to the aloo paratha. Children love parathas because they are quite indulgent, so it is a good idea to make them as nutritious as possible for them as well. Try out different veggies in the parathas and see which your child and their taste buds agree to the most. To make parathas even more appealing to children, especially when served fresh for breakfast etc… you can add a dab of butter on top that they will surely enjoy.

4) Flavoured Rotis

Parathas can be a little heavy on the stomach. The oil and butter can make it rich, and it fills up your child very quickly. An even more effective option would be to add veggies in the flour while making the dough or atta for roti. That way the veggies won’t be covered in two layers of flour and oil, and be healthier for your children. Spinach, fenugreek, raw grated cabbage, dill or saunf, fenugreek or methi, mint or pudina, pumpkin and so on can be rolled into the flour itself. With a thin layer of ghee or butter, this roti can be had with cooked dal, raitas or pickles. You may even go as far as steaming some veggies until they are soft, mashing them and then adding them to the roti douch. You'll admit every day that Rotis never tasted better. Not only do they add nutrition to meals, but they also taste better when had with curries or yoghurt, and definitely taste better than plain Rotis. Not only your children, but you can eat them and emjoy the benefits too!

5) Sweet parathas or pancakes

The gourd family of vegetables - pumpkin, cucumber and bottle gourd - is good for making sweet parathas or puris. Knead grated pumpkin in the flour. Add jaggery shavings and roll the dough in milk, instead of water. Flavour it slightly with a hint of cinnamon powder, cardamom or nutmeg. These rotis can be deep-fried or even baked. You can even make laccha parathas instead of normal parathas for these nutritional parathas.

Even while making pancakes, instead of fruits like apples and bananas, try adding pumpkin or cucumber to the pancake batter for a change. In fact, you can make savoury pancakes or chilla for breakfast as well. The best part about such dishes are they are convenient to eat even when in a rush. If your child is getting late for the school bus in the morning, you can simply wrap the pancake, paratha or chilla and let them munch on it in the bus. You can even prepare the dough the previous night so you can simply roll it out and bake it on the tawa, as compared to stuffed parathas that take a lot of time to fill with filling, seal and roll it out. Chillas are also something you can prepare the batter for the previous night.

6) Chutneys and Dips

Vegetables can be used to make delicious chutneys. Coconut based ones can be made with tomatoes, onions, carrots and mint. Peanut chutney (or even peanut butter, if that is what your child prefers) and sesame spread can be flavoured with garlic. If your child prefers sweet dips, you can make dips like chunda, but instead of raw mango you can use grated naturally sweet vegetables such as carrots or yam. You can make kimchi from cabbage, which has tonnes of probiotics and makes for an excellent side to many dishes. You can make yoghurt based dips that have veggies in them but are also tasty. For example, youghurt with some very finely chopped pieces of carrots and zucchini, with sliced/chopped spring onions and a mixture of dried parsley, garlic powder and salt makes a very yummy dip that your children will enjoy with nachos, pita bread or lavash, but with also be healthy for them.

7) Pulao and khichree

If your child particularly shows a particular liking for, or loves rice, give themm pulao or khichree garnished with boiled vegetables. Carrots and string beans are a start, but you can mix in as many or as little of vegetables they like. Similarly, you can flavour the suji upma they may desire for breakfast some day or daliya (broken wheat gruel) with peas and carrots or even potatoes. There are many vegetables you can experiment with and many ways you can experiment them with. If they don’t like boiled vegetables, you can even chop the veggies into small pieces and lightly saute them with a sauce they prefer, and serve that as a side to khichree. Use their liking for rice to supplement their meals with nutrition.
Children love noodles and pasta. Make them in vegetable stock, if you have some ready. Do add vegetables discreetly in these dishes, too. Try to chops vegetables into very very small pieces, sauté them a little and add them to the pasta sauce or with the noodles. It will be hard for them to deny pasta or noodles, and they will have to eat the veggies along with them.

While sneaking veggies is a very common practice amongst parents for their children, after a point it is in your children’s best interest to learn to eat veggies without “dressings” and to enjoy the vegetables as they are. Once they realise the value of veggies, they will learn to make healthier choices for themselves on their own.

You may also be interested in:

Get Creative with Food
Skinny Kids
Feeding the Fussy Child
Save Edit
Sort by Newest


Haniyah.7 years ago
This is not very good advice to be honest. By hiding vegetables, you will never teach your child to love them. Also, to say in the first sentence that all kids don't like vegetables is simply a lie. If you want to offer advice to parents, at least make sure that it is correct and healthy!
Ayesha.8 years ago
Puree boiled vegetables and mix with some green chutney for sandwiches.
Naina.13 years ago
my daughter doesn't like vegetables. but she love pizzas, noddles and milk product. i got some good tips from my friends to mix the vegetables in noddles and pizza vegetable have lots of protiens, but she doesn't understand. she removes the vegetable and eat the rest. can any one help me???
zahirah.13 years ago
you could chop up the vegetables really finely so that she will find it a tough work to remove the vegetables.she will probably end up eating it.
aaaa.13 years ago
u can boil a few veggies, make a puree and add to soups with noodles and a little bit of cheese.
shyna.13 years ago
mix different color veggies and serve...looks good
Deepali.13 years ago
if he likes tomato sauce or curd, then anything like veg-parantha or veg-sandwich can be easily taken to his belly with these as food-companions.
Shalu.13 years ago
my daughter likes pasta. i mix all the vegetables in the gravy and a bit of mayonnaise. it really tastes good. try it!!!
sneha.13 years ago
dear naina if your daughter like tapala (ie like roti) i would give u few reciepe on it do tell me because i now it is very difficult to explain kid and i have applied this formula on my 3 year old daughter and tapala idea has worked
bobby.13 years ago
my daughter is smarter when i add vegetables in noodles, rice or pizza she selects out the vegs keeps it aside on her plate and eats the rest of the stuff
load more comments
Back to Previous Page   |   More on Food and Nutrition Index



All tips on Fussy Children
You ever wanted in one place.
No need to go anywhere else. No spam.

*No spam only genuine emails