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More Veggies Please! Clever Ways to Sneak More Vegetables into Your Diet

Have you had your five a day today? Though some of us love carrots, cauliflower, beets, broccoli (you get the idea…) and eat them at every meal, others (adults and kiddos alike!) can’t stomach the thought of consuming them. If you’re seeking some sneaky ways to “blend” veggies into your family’s favorite meals, you won’t want to miss these clever ideas.



Grab a box grater or the grating attachment on your food processor to shred zucchini, beets, carrots, or parsnips to add to all sorts of recipes. Add a vegetable serving to your favorite whole grain muffins and quick breads by mixing shredded zucchini into your batter before baking. You can also sauté shredded carrots, summer squash, or butternut squash for about five minutes before adding them to pasta sauce for a quick, veggie-filled meal. Even your pickiest of eaters may not notice!



Replace half the ground meat in recipes like burgers, meatloaf, and meatballs with cooked, chopped mushrooms. Finely chop your choice of mushrooms using a knife or a food processor, then sauté them in a little olive oil until soft—about three minutes or so. Once the mushrooms are cool, gently mix them with your lean ground chicken, turkey, or beef. Cook thoroughly and follow the recipe as is. Voila! Another veggie-ful meal for the family.



Cooked and puréed orange vegetables like butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots can be blended, unnoticed, into cheesy dishes we all love like macaroni and cheese, lasagna, or enchiladas. You end up using less cheese, which cuts some of the saturated fat and sodium. You can also add the sweeter-tasting veggies to a blender with some low-sodium broth and purée them into a smooth soup that (most) kiddos and adults will love.



Grab that blender and put it to work! When you’re making your favorite fruit smoothie, add in a frozen banana and some spinach, carrots, squash, or just about any vegetable (cooked is easier to blend, fyi). The frozen banana makes for a sweet, thick, and creamy smoothie and adds a strong banana flavor that helps hide the flavor of the veggies. Want a more colorful smoothie? Try adding beets, avocado, or sweet potatoes to change the tint. You’ll be surprised at how bright—and healthy—your breakfast will be!


Article reprinted with permission from the American Heart Association. Find the original piece here.

By: American Heart Association editorial staff; reviewed by science and medicine advisers