Fussy Eaters: The Best ‘Hidden Veggie’ Recipes

fussy eaters best hidden veggies recipes

Fussy Eaters: The Best ‘Hidden Veggie’ Recipes

If you’re the parent of a fussy eater, you know that there’s nothing more challenging than trying to figure out how to balance your child’s preferred diet with a good variety of fruits and vegetables. Despite our best efforts, fussy eaters are hard to deal with and if your child shows minimal interest in foods letting them go hungry isn’t always an option. So, although you said you’d never do it, there’s often little choice but to bring a little stealth to your cooking game. We’re talking about hidden vegetables. It might be sneaky, but these hidden vegetable recipes and tips could be your saving grace.

Sneaky Mashed Potatoes

Even the fussiest of eaters will generally give the thumbs up to mashed potatoes. Of course, mashed potatoes aren’t the healthiest thing on the planet, which is why there’s Sneaky Mashed Potatoes. Just prepare mashed potatoes as you normally would, but improve its nutritional value by adding in steamed and mashed (or pureed) cauliflower. Its mild taste and cohesive colour mean you’re unlikely to be caught out with this one.

Mashed potato

Pumpkin/Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is another fast favourite among most children, particularly fussy eaters. As it’s basically carbs and dairy, nutritionally it’s a bit of a nightmare, but there are a few ways you can improve it and make it a positive addition to your child’s diet. We have found that this Healthy Macaroni and Cheese recipe goes down well with fussy eaters, but you could also choose to simply add steamed and pureed butternut squash or cauliflower to your go-to recipe.

healthy macaroni and cheese with vegetables

Healthy Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls aren’t just an Australian classic, they’re a favourite with kids too. While a slathering of tomato sauce does lower the health rating on your average sausage rolls, these are super easy to make at home and a cinch to hide vegetables in. Depending on how fussy and observant your kids are, grating up onion (a vegetable that counts towards your child’s intake) or peeling zucchini before including it (no green bits!) are good choices. Start with this yummy recipe.

Hidden Veggie Sausage Rolls

Gooey Zucchini Brownies

If you thought vegetables could only be hidden in savoury recipes, you are living in the past! Not only are baked sweets (in moderation) a fantastic way to add a bit more nutrition into your child’s diet, they also make for moist and delicious goodies. One of our favourite starting recipes is these Gooey Zucchini Brownies, which have a whole cup of zucchini in them. Make sure to squeeze the water out of the zucchini though, or the brownies won’t set.

zucchini brownies

Hidden Veggie Chicken Nuggets

It’s almost always cheaper to make your own chicken nuggets at home. Plus, if your kid is a bigger fan of nuggets than of veggies, being able to hide veggies inside is another great reason. If you grate in onion and zucchini (peeled) alongside carrots your chicken nuggets will really pack a veggie-filled punch. If you’ve never made nuggets before and you aren’t sure where to start, this Homemade Chicken Nuggets recipe is good, and also contains loads of hidden veggies.

chicken nuggets hidden veggies

Secret Ingredient Smoothies

For mums and dads with a fussy eater on their hands who happens to love a smoothie, there are literally endless possibilities for hiding veggies inside. With smoothies, you can pack in a large amount of mild-tasting vegetables alongside sweet fruits, and your child will be none the wiser. Vegetables like carrots, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes (cooked) and more can all be incorporated. The secret is just to balance out the flavours of the vegetables with the fruits, oh and a solid high-powered blender helps too!


Kids Fave Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are a very American food that we are choosing to embrace for the purposes of getting our kids to eat more vegetables. Essentially, Sloppy Joes are hamburger bun sandwiches that contain loose mince instead of a hamburger patty. They’re also a great vehicle for hiding vegetables, particularly if you cook them in the slow cooker as this recipe suggests. You can boost this yet further by including grated zucchini alongside the carrot and mushroom or even adding in pureed pumpkin. Just be sure the mix doesn’t get too watery or it will be hard to serve on burgers.

sloppy joes

When it comes to hiding vegetables in foods for fussy eaters, not everyone is a fan, and we can see why. However, for parents who have little choice in order to ensure their children are eating a healthy balanced diet, it is up to them to figure out what works in their case. At the end of the day, fussy eating habits are often just a phase, and it is worth making adjustments to keep kids healthy and happy.


Katie -


Katie is the Managing Director and Editor of Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking copious amounts of coffee, cuddling her kids and trying not to step barefoot on lego. Katie lives in Beautiful Brisbane with her husband and four gorgeous children.