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6 Healthy Kids Recipes to Help You Sneak in Those Vegetables

March, 10 2021

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“Mooooommmmmmmy! What’s for supper?!”. The question every mom is faced with on a daily basis! Oh, the fun of having to sneak vegetables into every meal. It’s Ok mom, you’re not alone in the veggie struggle.

Making sure your little ones eat the rainbow, aka, getting in those all-important nutrients doesn't have to be a battle. "Have the kids eaten more than one carrot this week?”. “Does a potato count as a vegetable if eaten seven days in a row?". It’s so important to get the little ones excited about where food:

  • Comes from? 
  • How is it harvested?
  • And how to prepare it

To hide vegetables in meals or not to hide vegetables in meals? That is the question... 

Exposing your little ones to a wide variety of nutritious food from an early age will ultimately make for an easier approach to eating. Confidence and curiosity will result in them  trying new ingredients (enter wonderful green vegetables!).

So what will get the kids scooping up a second helping of cauliflower, carrots and butternut? Look below for some age-appropriate little helper kitchen tasks:

  • Picking herbs
  • Washing and spinning salad leaves
  • Measuring and mixing.
  •  Encourage them to taste, touch and smell the ingredients

Stick to healthy food, while eating out…

Of course, eating out also comes with its own set of challenges. Finding healthy child-friendly meals that aren’t a standard shade of beige isn’t easy. Luckily Wonderdal not only places an emphasis on education through play but healthy eating too!

The Health Kitchen at Wonderdal is an interactive Learning Zone, teaching kids about nutrition, healthy foods and meal prep, all with the help and assistance from the Amuki.

Our Interactive Edutainment Centre for Kids, situated on the beautiful Hazendal Wine Estate ensures the entire family gets a healthy meal while visiting. Babushka Deli has a menu that is packed with healthy alternatives and offerings.

But back to the task at hand, creating healthy recipes…

Now it's time to tie the apron Amuki apron strings (available from Wonderdal), wash those hands and grab a chopping board. We have 3 EASY AND HEALTHY RECIPES that will have the entire family asking for "more green trees please mom!" - that's code for, pass the broccoli please mommy! All these menus were created by Hazendal Estate, Wonderdal's winelands home very own chef Michele. Tried tested and delicious. 

1. Veggie-crammed pasta sauce!

Veggie-crammed pasta sauce

We absolutely adore this recipe as it can be used as a pasta sauce or as a pizza base smear.

Best of all, it isn’t just for kids, the whole family can tuck in. Whether or not dad gets a little toy robot on his plate too... Well, that depends on good behaviour.

What makes this recipe veggie-tastic?

  • Celery
  • Leeks
  • Red peppers
  • Baby marrows

Ingredient tip: Substitute the stock with water.

How to get your little kitchen helpers involved?

  • Measuring olive oil
  • Chopping basil with a child-friendly knife

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp (30ml) olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp (5ml) minced garlic
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • Handful of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • Few sprigs of fresh Oregano, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 x baby marrow, chopped 
  • 4 x cans (400g each) chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) Tomato paste
  • 2 cups (500ml) Chicken stock

 

How To Do It:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and mixed herbs.
  3. Add the remaining vegetables and cook over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and stock, stir well, bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before blending in batches. Once blended this delicious sauce packs a healthy and punch. 

 

2. Cauliflower and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Cauliflower and Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Sneaking vegetables into a meal has never been this tasty! Or this healthy. And who doesn’t love a great Mac and Cheese?!

Even the pickiest eater will have trouble resisting this cauliflower-packed supper favourite!

What makes this recipe veggie-tastic?

  • Cauliflower
  • Pumpkin

Ingredient tip: Make use of day-old bread for the crumbs!

How to get your little kitchen helpers involved?

  • Cauliflower chopping with a safe knife.
  • Measuring the milk.
  • Measuring the pasta shells 

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 500g pasta shells
  • 1 head of cauliflower, outer leaves removed, cut into florets
  • 1 cup of pumpkin or butternut, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups (500ml) milk
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) flour
  • ½ tsp (2.5ml) ground turmeric 
  • 125g grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • ½ cup bread crumbs or ground almonds 
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) Parmesan cheese

 

How To Do It:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain under cold water, drizzle with oil and set aside.
  2. Place the cauliflower and pumpkin into a steamer and steam until very tender.
  3. Add the cooked cauliflower and pumpkin to a blender or food processor. Add the milk and blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, add the flour and mix to form a paste. Cook for a few minutes, stirring continuously. Add the milk mixture and whisk well.
  5. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir in the cheese and spices.
  6. Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix well.
  7. Spoon into a baking dish. Mix the breadcrumbs or ground almonds with Parmesan and sprinkle over the pasta dish, bake and serve. Kids will love the buttery yellow of this dish and smooth texture!

 

3. Sneaky Cauliflower Cottage Pie

Cauliflower Cottage PieTell us WHO doesn’t love a warming and hearty cottage pie?

What makes this recipe veggie-tastic?

  • Cauliflower
  • Apples

Ingredient tip: Make this meal superhero-worthy by serving with some leafy green veggies! 

How to get your little kitchen helpers involved?

  • Chop celery with a safe knife.
  • Break cauliflower into florets
  • Measure the milk

 

What you’ll need:

Cauliflower Cottage PieFor the cauli mash:

  • 2kg fresh cauliflower, cleaned and chopped
  • 1/3 cup (60ml) coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) salt

 

For the meat filling:

  • 500g Lean Beef mince
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) coconut oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 apple, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
  • ¼ cup (60ml) veggie-packed tomato sauce 

 

How To Do It:

For the cauli mash:

  1. Add the cauliflower to a large pot of water and boil for 25 minutes until soft.
  2. Strain the water, add the coconut oil and salt.
  3. Using a potato ricer or immersion blender, blend until smooth and creamy and set aside.

For the meat filling:

  1. Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat and add the mince. Stir until browned.
  2. Add the onion, celery, apple and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the stock and tomato sauce and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Transfer the mince mixture to an oven-proof dish and top with cauliflower mash.
  5. Drizzle with additional olive oil or brush with beaten egg and bake in a preheated oven 180°C for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling. 

Be prepared to hear a lot of “Yuuuuuuuuuum” from your little helpers. It’s tiring work making superhero food which means second helpings are a go! 

 

4. Baked Coconut Chicken Fingers

Baked Coconut Chicken Fingers

We’re pretty sure that these chicken fingers are going to become a firm fave!

What makes this recipe veggie-tastic? Coconut

How to get your little kitchen helpers involved?

  • Measuring out coconut
  • Cutting chicken into strips with a safe knife

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 500g skinless, deboned chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 30g cake flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten (substitute with milk for an egg free version)
  • 65g desiccated coconut
  • 40g Panco bread crumbs (substitute with normal, dried bread crumbs, or use coconut for a gluten-free option.)
How To Do It:
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and place a wire rack onto a large baking tray and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix the bread crumbs (if using) and desiccated coconut and pour a small amount of the mix onto a plat, along with the flour in a separate bowl, as well as the eggs.
  3. Dip the chicken into the flour, shaking off the excess.
  4. Dip the chicken into the egg or milk, followed by the breadcrumb and coconut mixture and place onto the wire rack.
  5. Lightly spray with olive oil and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  6. Serve with baked sweet potato wedges, sweet cherry tomatoes and cucumber wheels. 

Ingredient Tip: Substitute cake flour with brown rice flour for a gluten-free option)

 

5. Super Simple Kids Friendly Veggie Fritters

Kids Friendly Veggie Fritters

If this isn’t veggie-tastic, we don’t know what is!

What makes this recipe veggie-tastic?

  • Baby Marrows
  • Carrots
  • Spring Onions

Ingredient tip: We have nothing other to say except - expect requests for more!

How to get your little kitchen helpers involved?

  • Chop the spring onions with a safe knife
  • Grate carrots with a child-friendly grater

 

What you’ll need:

2 cups grated baby marrows

2 cups grated carrots

2/3 cup flour (may be substituted for brown rice flour or chickpea flour)

1/3 cup chopped spring onions

2 large eggs, beaten

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp (30ml) Olive oil

¼ tsp fine salt

Pinch of ground black pepper

How To Do It:

  1. Place the baby marrow in a strainer over a bowl and squeeze out any excess liquid.
  2. In a bowl, add the strained baby marrow, carrots, flour, spring onions, eggs, garlic,salt and pepper and stir well.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add  ¼ cups of the mixture at a time to the pan. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon, leaving enough space between each fritter.
  4. Cook for three minutes, flip and cook for a further 2 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Remove from the pan and drain on absorbent paper.
  6. Serve with sour cream or yoghurt and chives.

 

6. Yummy Carrot & Apple Breakfast Muffins

Carrot & Apple Breakfast Muffins

So delicious, you’ll be thinking it’s actually pudding!

What makes this recipe veggie-tastic?

  • Carrots
  • Apples

Ingredient tip: We have nothing other to say except - expect requests for more!

How to get your little kitchen helpers involved?

  • Mash the banana 
  • Grate carrots with a child-friendly grater

 

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp (30ml) coconut oil, melted
  • 1 overripe banana, mashed
  • 1 apple, finely grated
  • 135g finely grated carrot
  • 80g apple puree
  • ½ cup (125ml) buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 185g Spelt flour 
  • 56g Almond flour 
  • 1 tsp (5ml) ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp (2.5ml) ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp (7.5ml) baking Soda
  • 35g finely chopped pecan nuts (optional)

 

How To Do It:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and grease a 12-cup muffin tray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the coconut oil, mashed banana, apple, carrot, apple puree, milk and eggs and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the spelt flour, almond flour, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda and gently stir to mix through. 
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and fold in gently until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups and sprinkle with finely chopped pecan nuts (optional).
  6. Bake the muffins for 35 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool in the muffin tray for 5 – 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tip: Cool muffins completely before storing. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 days at room temperature or freeze for up to 3 months. 

With the weekly supper situation sorted and the kids morphed into veggie ambassadors (sorry, superheroes) in the kitchen, there’ll be a little more time in the week mom to sit back and relax - if only for an extra 10 minutes!

Happy Veggie Meal Cooking x 

The Amuki & Wonderdal Team
Written By
The Amuki & Wonderdal Team

We look forward to sharing the wonders and magic of Wonderdal with you and your children. Wonderdal is a space where kids can explore, discover and experience a world of wonders in science, biology and nature. We hope this blog inspires you and your kids to be curious, to play and to discover the wonders of our world, together.

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Recipes
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