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If “Eat your vegetables!” is a constant (and frustrating) refrain in your house, boy, are these ideas are for you. I have three small kids and not one of them likes carrots. Not really. Not if you asked them. But when I cook carrots in dishes like these, voila. Suddenly everyone’s a fan.
Honey-Glazed Carrots: One of my most-successful strategies at home is adding beloved flavors to previously unpopular foods. Kid-friendly ingredients like honey and lemon transform plain carrots into a thumbs-up dish — or at least one that everyone’s willing to try without a fuss.
Mini Mac-and-Cheese Cups with Carrots (pictured above): The secret to getting these to hold together is a mixture of beaten egg and ricotta cheese, making everything just gooey enough before baking to stay solid when it’s time to serve. Bonus: These carrot-packed pasta cups work well for lunchboxes too.
Pastina with Peas and Carrots: Giada De Laurentiis’ “little pasta” dish can be made with any pasta shape you (or your kids) like. And with special ingredients cream cheese and mascarpone cheese, this creamy dish is bound to be a hit, carrots and all.
Healthy Carrot Muffins: With wheat germ, tons of grated carrots and even sweet pineapple, these muffins are a great way to start the day. Tip: Freeze half the batch for another busy morning ahead.
Roasted Rainbow Carrots: Sometimes all it takes is the element of surprise. Do your kids know that carrots come in other colors than orange? Roast up a batch of whole carrots in as many colors as your farmers market offers, and just see if those knee-high critics aren’t impressed.
Carrot Pancakes with Cream Cheese Spread: When was the last time you ate carrots for breakfast? These pancakes pack in a healthy ratio of two cups grated carrots to only one-third cup brown sugar. And sure they’ll work for Saturday morning, but who wouldn’t love a stack of these cakes on breakfast-for-dinner night too?
Slimmed-Down Carrot Cake: We love Trisha Yearwood’s healthier take on classic carrot cake, full of grated coconut and carrot puree.
Charity Curley Mathews dreams of raising kids who eat (and enjoy) real food. A former VP at MarthaStewart.com, she’s a contributor to The Huffington Post and heads up Foodlets.com: Mini Foodies in the Making…Maybe. Together with her husband and three small children, she now cooks in North Carolina.