During our Season 4 premiere in 2009, Rachael came to the rescue of one mom looking to add a little variety to her kids' diets, from their lunch boxes to their dinner plates. These picky eaters would only eat buttered noodles, hot dogs and chicken nuggets — so Rach shared her tips for swapping out less healthy ingredients and sneaking in more veggies, tofu and whole grains.
Tip #1: Add puréed carrots and butternut squash to homemade mac and cheese — your kids won't even notice!
"Mac and cheese is not a bad thing, but we can make it a little bit better," Rach says. "Use a nice, super sharp cheddar so you don't have to use a ton of the cheese, and then the same color as the cheese is your opportunity to sneak in any kind of vegetable you like."
Here, Rach added puréed carrots and one box of defrosted butternut squash to the yellow cheese sauce. "It's nice and sweet," she says. "It will just taste like the cheese sauce once it's all incorporated."
Tip #2: Swap in tofu dogs for pork hot dogs
"They're literally pure protein," Rach says about the tofu dogs.
Tip #3: Use whole grain pasta in your mac and cheese
"They'll never see it coming because it's underneath the cheese sauce," Rach says.
Tip #4: Try sneaky swaps in your kids' lunch box sandwiches
Use a slice of whole wheat bread for the bottom of your kids' sandwiches, but hide it underneath a white bread slice on top, Rach suggests. She also snuck a ton of ground-up spinach into a yummy garlic and herb cheese spread under slices of lunch meat.