UAB Medicine News


Stealth Health: Sneaking Healthy Foods into Kids’ Diets

Kids are notorious for not eating their vegetables. And maybe even some of us adults don’t love them as much as we should.

If you’re looking for a way to ensure that your family gets their 4-5 daily servings of vegetables and fruit, try sneaking them into some ordinary dishes to help meet that goal. Check out the recipes below that have a sneaky, healthy extra ingredient.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins


3 bananas, mashed

2 large eggs

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups raw old-fashioned oats (ground into oat flour)

¼ cup ground flaxseed

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon



Preheat oven to 350°F, and line 12-count muffin tin with high-quality foil muffin liners.

In large bowl, whisk together bananas, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla.

Add oats, ground flaxseed, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl and stir to combine.

Spoon batter evenly into 12 muffin cups.

Bake 15-18 minutes, until toothpick inserted into muffin is clean.


Vegetable Tomato Marinara Sauce


1 tbsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 tsp Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup tomato paste

2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

Optional: parsley and basil, chopped



Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add garlic, onion, carrots, and zucchini and sauté until tender, 5-6 minutes.

Add Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

Add the crushed tomatoes and soy sauce and stir to blend.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30-60 minutes.

Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Optional: Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.

Serve with parsley and basil.


Chocolate Zucchini Brownies


8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 cup shredded zucchini

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup white whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips

2/3 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped, divided (optional)



Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil, letting it overhang on the sides, and coat with cooking spray.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat, add unsweetened chocolate, and stir until melted. Add sugar and salt; stir until well combined.

Stir in zucchini and vanilla.

Add eggs, one at a time, vigorously mixing after each addition. Fold in the flour until almost incorporated.

Fold in chopped chocolate (or chips) and ½ cup pecans (if using) until just combined.

Transfer batter to the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining pecans (if using). Bake until the sides look dry and the middle is firm to the touch, about 30 minutes.

Let cool completely, then lift out of the pan using the foil. Cut into 16 squares.


Nutrition Information

Per serving (one 2-inch brownie): 220 calories 12 g fat (8 g sat) | 2 g fiber; 25 g carbohydrates | 3 g protein | 8 mcg folate | 39 mg cholesterol | 17 g sugars | 17 g added sugars | 226 IU vitamin A | 1 mg vitamin C | 16 mg calcium | 3 mg iron | 49 mg sodium | 128 mg potassium


Creamy Berry Peach Smoothie


1 can (15 ounces) sliced peaches in 100% juice, drained (1½ cups peaches)

1 cup frozen mixed berries

½ avocado

1 cup almond milk



Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.


Nutrition Information

Calories 19 | Total Fat 29g | Dietary Fiber 9g | Protein 4g



Strawberry Pineapple Kale Smoothie


¾ cup frozen strawberries

1 cup packed, baby kale

1 banana

1 cup ice

2 cans (8 ounces each) pineapple chunks in juice, drained

1 cup almond milk (can substitute dairy milk or plain, low-fat Greek yogurt)

4 fresh mint leaves, optional



Combine all ingredients in blender and puree.


Nutrition Information

Total Carbohydrate 29g | Dietary Fiber 9g | Protein 4g

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