My kids, ages 3 and 16 months, aren’t very good at eating their vegetables. Fruit, cheese, bread, french fries, ice cream, cookies, chocolate? No problem. But vegetables are another story. Carson will eat a baby carrot from time to time, and Betsy will eat a few green peas if I mix them up in her macaroni. But that’s as good as it gets around here. So in an effort to get them to eat more vegetables I decided to hide them in meatballs. Both of my kids are pretty good at eating meatballs, so I figured this was a genius plan.
The first night I gave them the meatballs plain without sauce, and they weren’t the biggest fans. And I felt like a failure. I went to all that trouble and they didn’t want them!? But the next night I heated them in some pasta sauce and we had much better results. My kids ate vegetables! Without gagging!
These meatballs are simple and geared towards a picky kid’s palate. Not a lot of spice or heat. If your kids are more daring than mine (or if you’ve done a better job of exposing them to spices!) add what you like to the mix. You could also use half beef and half Italian sausage for a more interesting meatball. I used jarred sauce, but if you have a great recipe, then use it…and then share it with me! Do you have any great meals that are healthy and delicious that your kids enjoy? I’d love to hear them. We need all the help we can get!
Meatballs with Zucchini and Carrots
Makes 24-30 meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef (85/15)
- 3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup shredded carrot
- 1/2 cup shredded zucchini (pressed between paper towels to remove excess moisture)
- 1/4 cup grated onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pasta sauce
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl and let soak for a couple minutes. Add in beef, egg, vegetables and seasonings and mix (clean hands are a great tool here) until combined.
- Form into balls (around golf ball size) and place in a greased pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes. You can pour on some sauce in the last 10 minutes of baking or heat the sauce separately.