Sign up for the TODAY newsletter

You have successfully subscribed to the TODAY newsletter.

Subscribe now and get trending stories, celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

Beet brownies and 5 more ways to get vegetables in your kid's lunchbox

by Debbie Koenig / / Source: TODAY

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter

It used to drive me crazy: I’d send my son off to school with a balanced, healthy lunch, but as often as not, the lunchbox came home with carrot sticks untouched. I tried hard to resist the urge to cajole, confront, or criticize him— but pressure usually backfires. Instead, I got a little creative. I don’t mean that I sneak vegetables into his food, mostly because it seems unlikely that he’ll ever want to eat a vegetable if he doesn’t realize he’s enjoyed them already. Transformation is the key; make it into something else, even a different shape, and it’s much more appealing. My boy’s most likely to eat his veggies if I use one of these techniques:

Beet brownies
Blend in veggies into foods kids love -- for example, try these delicious beet brownies!Debbie Koenig
  • Cookie cutter = instant fun. Cut slices of cucumber, beets, carrots, or jicama into playful pieces. (Save the excess for your own lunch!) Got a green thumb? Use Veggie Molds to grow star- or heart-shaped produce, then slice and serve.
  • Chip it. If it’s in chip form, my kid will at least try it. Use a mandolin to slice root vegetables paper-thin, then coat with olive oil spray, sprinkle lightly with salt, and bake at 325°F until crisp.
  • Ribbon it. Similarly, if it’s noodle-like, thin and floppy, it appeals. Use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of carrots, cucumbers, zucchini—anything that’s long enough.
  • Wrap it up. Summer Rolls and flatbread wraps make great vehicles for vegetables. Shred up some mild leafy greens, carrots, and cucumbers, and add whatever protein your kid likes best. A dipping sauce or dab of condiment (my guy goes ga-ga for mustard) makes it even more enticing.
  • Blend them in. Use vegetables as an ingredient in foods kids already like, for instance these super-fudgy Beet Brownies. The root vegetable’s natural sweetness lets you use a bit less sugar, and together with whole-wheat pastry flour, it bumps up the fiber. My son wouldn’t touch a beet if I served it to him straight, but in a lunch box treat? He can’t resist. (If you’d rather not clue your own kids in on the secret ingredient, I’ll never tell.)
Beet Brownies

Beet Brownies

Debbie Koenig

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
MORE FROM today