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How to get more veggies into kids' stomachs

The USDA recommends five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but getting your child to take a single bite of broccoli is akin to two rounds in the ring. Here are some strategies for sneaking healthy foods in the dishes your kids love.

1. Puree vegetables into pasta sauces: If your child craves pasta for every meal, don't panic. Just use the blender or food processor to puree broccoli or peppers and carrots and spinach to add to tomato and other sauces. If you've got a mac and cheese lover, mash steamed cauliflower into the cheese sauce for extra nutrients.

2. Hide the goods in ground meats and casseroles: Adding a little shredded carrots and broccoli may give the meal a nutritional boost, but it won't change the flavor. Chili is chock full of beans; grate or dice in some carrots, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini.

3. Experiment with shakes and smoothies: Try a variety — strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, papaya, and bananas — to discover which your child likes best.

4. Try burying healthy foods in breads and muffins: Quick breads and muffins are kid favorites and a great "hiding" spot for carrots or zucchini, which have the added benefit of making muffins moist.

5. Put it on pizza: Many kids who won't eat broccoli or mushrooms dished up next to chicken will gobble it up served on a slice.

6. Serve it au gratin: Melt cheddar or mozzarella cheese over broccoli or zucchini to give the veggies extra zing.

7. Make fruit juice ice pops: Use whole fruit juices, such as orange, cranberry, or grapefruit, and see if you can sneak in some blueberries "for decoration." You also can make plain, unflavored gelatin with fruit juice to boost the vitamin content.

8. Make mashed "potatoes" with cauliflower rather than spuds: Use flavorful cheeses and milk to make this delicious dish a family favorite.

9. Wrap it up: Try pureeing a variety of vegetables with beans to make a spread you can smear on tortillas.

10. Sneak them into sandwiches: Sending your son to school with his favorite sandwich of turkey or tuna? Adding lettuce, tomatoes or cucumbers will give the lunch extra crunch. Try bananas on peanut butter sandwiches for an extra helping of potassium.

— Food Network Kitchens