It's the age old struggle: kids versus beets. Over the years, I have tried in vain to convince my kids that eating beets is great, but they were not buying what I was selling. Then I tried The Sneaky Chef cookbook, which had me preparing endless veggie purees and hiding beets in my kids most loved foods. For all my efforts, the results were often less than successful and I knew there had to be a better way. Why not take the deception out of feeding beets to my kids by making beets fun? There is no need to be sneaky in order to get kids to eat beets. Here are three fun and tasty ideas that will have kids eager to eat their beets.
Creative Painted Veggie Pizza
Use play and creativity to get your kids to eat their beets by having them create a painted veggie pizza. To make Painted Veggie Pizza you will need two balls of pizza dough, olive oil, flour, two cups of shredded mozzarella cheese and vegetable paint. First, make the veggie paint by steaming one cup of beets either in the microwave or on the stove top. After steaming, process beets until smooth in a food processor or blender. Add 1/4 cup of water so that the mixture will have a paint-like consistency. My kids love it when I make other colors of veggie paint to go along with the beet paint. Good choices are spinach, orange tomatoes and yellow peppers. I usually make a big batch of each color veggie paint and freeze for later use.
When you are ready to make your pizzas, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Divide each dough ball in half and flatten to make four small pizza crust canvases. If dough gets too sticky to work with, sprinkle with a small amount of flour. Now comes the fun part. Have kids paint their pizza crusts. I keep a supply of small food grade BBQ brushes on hand for this fun foodie project. Top each pizza with1/2 cup of cheese and bake on an oiled baking sheet about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand five minutes before slicing.
Heart Healthy Beet Apple Salad
This salad is a surefire kid pleaser, sweet with vibrant colors. My kids call this heart salad because the deep red of the beets and pink tinged apples reminds them of valentine hearts. It really is a fitting name because beets are heart healthy root vegetables loaded with phytochemicals, folate, vitamin C, antioxidants, niacin, potassium, iron and carotenoids.
To make Beet Apple Salad, you will need to peel and shred two beets and two apples. I use my all purpose grater for this, but a food processor would also work well. My kids love Granny Smith and Fuji apples, but any kind of apple would be great. Have kids use their hands to mix the beets and apples together in a bowl. They love getting to play with their food and helping to prepare the salad will make them eager to gobble up the end result, beets and all. Make a dressing by mixing together a handful of dried cranberries, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and honey to taste. Let kids use their hands again to toss dressing and beet mixture.
Tasty Baked Beet Chips
Another fun way to get kids to eat beets is to turn them into a healthier version of fat laden potato chips. Beet chips are great because the natural sugars in the beets give them just the right amount of sweetness to tickle small taste buds without added sugar.
To make beet chips you will need four beets, scrubbed clean with peels left on, one tablespoon of olive oil and sea or kosher salt. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice beets thinly, about the size of a potato chip. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and salt. Spread beets in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Flip beet chips over halfway through cooking time. Make sure you keep a careful eye on them so they don't burn. The longer you bake them, the crispier your beet chips will be.
More From This Contributor:
3 Surprising Superfoods Your Kids Will Love
Beyond Eggs: 3 Breakfast Superfoods for Kids
5 Common Nutritional Deficiencies in Kids and How to Remedy Them