The One Food That Will Get Kids to Eat More Veggies

by Stephanie Ferrari on March 19, 2018 in Food+Drink, Austin, Wellness,
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The Dietary Guidelines for Americans report that kids are simply not eating enough vegetables. In fact, kids are falling short on vegetable intake in every single category. Why does this matter? Because eating more vegetables has been proven to:

  • Reduce risk of chronic disease
  • Help maintain a healthy weight
  • Provide essential nutrients that are important for growth and development

March is National Nutrition Month, and the theme this year is Go Further with Food. As a mother of two girls, I am applying this theme to my own life by going further in the kitchen for my family, meaning I’m going to put in even more effort to incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their diets. Maybe you’d like to do the same!

As a registered dietitian, I want to share one single tip for getting kids to eat more vegetables: pair it with hummus.

Why hummus?

Not only is hummus a source of legumes (one of the vegetable categories kids aren’t eating enough of), but it’s also versatile and fun to eat. You can serve it straight up with veggies for dipping, or you can get creative with exciting recipes like the one below.

Why do I love this recipe?

  • It’s a vegetarian spin on kid-favorite meatballs.
  • It incorporates a delicious flavor of Austin-based Lantana Hummus that easily incorporates extra veggies to expand kids’ palettes
  • It has a great profile of nutrients including fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals

Incorporating vegetables into traditional foods like meatballs, macaroni and cheese, or even hamburgers is a great way to get more vegetables into your family’s diet. Happy National Nutrition Month and enjoy!

Sweet n Spicy Mushroom Meatballs are a great way to get kids to eat their veggies. Serve with brown rice, edamame and steamed broccoli, drizzled with apricot soy sauce. Courtesy image

Sweet n Spicy Mushroom Meatballs


  • 1 lb. white mushrooms, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • 3 green onions sliced, light green & white part only
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Lantana Carrot-Sriracha Hummus
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Apricot Soy Sauce:

  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ½ cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger


  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and salt to the hot oil and cook, stirring often, until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  • Add garlic and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl, stir in oats, and allow to cool.
  • In a separate bowl, using a fork, combine remaining meatball ingredients. Mix well. Add to mushroom mixture.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Form mixture into small meatballs, about 2 tablespoons each, and place on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • While meatballs bake, combine all sauce ingredients in a medium size saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.
  • Combine meatballs with 1/3 of sauce mixture. Toss to coat.

Serving Suggestion: Serve meatballs with brown rice, edamame and steamed broccoli, drizzled with remaining apricot soy sauce.

Stephanie Ferrari, MS, RDN is a Boston-based registered dietitian and the co-founder of FRESH Communications. When she’s not working, you’ll find her knee-deep in toys and leading sing-alongs with her husband and daughters.