Ha! yeah right! You’re gonna get kids or grown men to eat veggies!… “wait, this is too good to be ONLY veggies!

Well, you’d be surprised as to how many dishes can be packed with healthy vegetables, making your leaner, happier and trick you into thinking that delicious taste has to come from meat, chicken, fish or sauces.

As an adult, I can now say that some of my favorite foods are vegetables, or have a lot of veggies in them. But, I’m an adult! I was an unusual kid I guess in that one of my favorite foods was peas and carrots, but I definitely had some reservations about trying certain foods, like sautéed kale or the weird wild rice casserole my mom made when we were having company over. And by the way, Kale is so overrated when it comes to its health benefits, I find it to be just the “trendy” vegetable of the moment. Kale is a total hipster on Pinterest and Tumblr.

I had friends (and still do) who would not touch certain foods because of their veggie content, and they thought I was weird for liking them. Well, let them judge! Vegetables are the greatest and I’m lucky I had parents who made me at least try them before saying I hated them and never wanted to see them again.

My brother finally succumbed to my mom’s smoothie madness and now will drink one in the morning made of avocado, spinach, berries, and more. This is astounding, as just years ago he survived on pizza and beer. A grown-ass man drinking veggie/fruit smoothies is a sight for sore eyes. But he is happy. He just doesn’t tell any of his beer drinking buds.

For those of you with kids who share my brother’s past disdain for all things natural and healthy, do not fret! It’s actually quite easy to trick those little buggers into eating five servings a day, using the proper ingredients. You just have to TRY IT. Don’t be a kid, take a chance, you most likely are going to get hooked on these.

Pasta sauces are a super easy way to add vegetables without your picky eaters suspecting a thing. There are a couple ways to do this. You can either add some veggies to boiling pasta and then take them out and incorporate them into the sauce, or you can whip out your trusty food processor and process the living daylights out of carrots, beets, celery, onions, and more. The food processor method is one my parents swore by when I was growing up. My brother never knew how much onion my dad’s sauces really contained, and he never will! (suckaaa)

Does your child love foods like lasagna, shepherd’s pie, and other meaty dishes? No worries! Using the food processor secret, you can hide all kinds of veggies in there. But if you want to make them lighter dishes, here’s a tip: use mushrooms! That’s right, just substitute half of the ground beef (or turkey or whatever) with chopped and sautéed mushrooms. They might not seem like they offer much nutritionally, but they actually do.

Desserts seem like a crazy way to incorporate veggies into your kids’ diets without them knowing, but hear me out first. Veggies like beets, sweet potatoes, and zucchini can be added to baked goods like chocolate cake, brownies, pancakes, and more. Ha! You think I’m kidding? I dare you to try any recipe on Pinterest and then let me know how you feel. I have yet to try a healthier , lighter more delish brownie bar!

If your kids are huge fans of chocolate, think about experimenting with avocado. Yeah, I’m seriously not kidding again! Trust me, there’s no way they’ll know unless you leave avocado skin all over the kitchen table.  It’s not just for guacamole anymore! One big avocado plus cocoa powder and some sort of sweetener equals easy, creamy, healthy chocolate pudding. Avocados can also be added to smoothies for a creamier treat, along with spinach and other veggies. The trick is to balance the fruits and veggies in a smoothie so the sweet fruit flavors overpower any yucky vegetable taste.

The best part? You get to watch your veggie-hating kids devour those treats and desserts while you laugh on the inside.