Start the day off right with one of our favorite family-approved breakfasts — which includes a veggie! Hidden Veggie French toast is a fun, easy, healthy breakfast for both kids and adults.
While we’re all about exposing our family to real food and lots of veggies, there are times when tucking nutrient-dense ingredients into foods they already enjoy can go a long way. This Hidden Veggie French toast recipe is loved by our entire family, both kids and adults, and allows everyone to get in a serving of vegetables first thing in the morning. Bonus: This recipe freezes and reheats well too!
If your picky eater is more like a hidden veggie detective, simply tell them you made the French toast version of carrot cake. As soon as they hear the word cake, they’ll be on board!
Carrots are an important food to include in your family’s diet.
Ensuring veggies are part of our daily diet is key to supporting our health, no matter how old or young we are. The carrots in this French toast recipe are naturally sweet and chock-full of vitamins and essential nutrients our bodies need to thrive.
- Packed with vitamin A (helps your body’s natural defense against illness and infection)
- Contain calcium and vitamin K (important for bone health)
- Excellent source of beta-carotene (great for eyes and skin)
- Rich in fiber (helps keep blood sugar levels under control)
- Contain iron (needed for growth and development)
Meals with purees added aren’t just for picky eaters!
Did you know that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend we eat 2-3 cups of vegetables per day? And, according to a study done by the CDC, only 9 percent of adults eat the daily recommended amount. That means that the vast majority of us are at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
We get it! It can be difficult to find creative ways to eat all those veggies each day, especially when it comes to picky eaters. But, we’re here to let you in on a little secret — pureed veggies will change EVERYTHING! From pureed broccoli in scrambled eggs and mushrooms in sloppy joes to sweet potato puree in a quesadilla and pumpkin in creamy pasta sauce, adding a variety of purees to your family’s meals is a super easy, tasty and effective way to boost their nutritional intake!
Pureeing your carrots
We have an entire recipe dedicated to Pureeing Carrots, but here’s the basic rundown.
- Steam or boil your carrots ahead of time.
- Once softened, puree them in the food processor with a tablespoon or two of water (just enough to blend into a smooth puree).
No time to puree? No problem!
Pureeing veggies is easier than you think, but when in a pinch, you can always head to the baby food aisle to snag a jar of pureed carrots. The only ingredient listed should be the veggie itself. We’ve done this in the past and have been successful.
How can I prep ahead to reduce time in the kitchen and simplify healthy eating?
While pureeing takes minimal effort, steaming the carrots takes a little bit of time. If you have a hungry family awaiting breakfast, it’s better to prep your carrot puree in advance. We often do this while multitasking around the house (between loads of laundry, while cooking other meals, etc.) OR on our designated meal prep day.
- General prep: Puree carrots over the weekend or when you have free time. While you have everything out, prep a big batch and freeze the leftover puree in mason jars. It lasts in the freezer for 3 months!
- Prepping for super hectic mornings: Put eggs, milk, vanilla, puree and cinnamon in a mason jar the night before. In the morning, shake until thoroughly mixed or use a hand-held immersion blender to blend. Pour into a bowl, dip bread and cook. Toss the mason jar in the dishwasher.
How to shop for the best ingredients:
- Bread: Choose FfL-friendly bread, made with limited ingredients that you recognize such as grain, water, yeast and salt. The refrigerator or freezer section of the supermarket is a great place to find these loaves.
- Puree: If using a jar of pureed carrots from the baby food aisle, the only ingredient listed should be the veggie itself (carrots). If possible, choose organic.
If you frequent FULLforLife, you know we’re a huge advocate and fan of batch cooking whenever possible. At this point, we make double batches of 75 percent of our meals to simplify the weeks to come.
This is a GREAT recipe to double! While the ingredients are out and the dishes are dirty, why not make extra to eat throughout the week or freeze for future meals? We often do this on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Then, we freeze the leftovers for future meals OR we store them in the fridge to eat for brekkie or lunch (often served cold).
The PERFECT side to your Hidden Veggie French Toast so your family stays full for hours!
The best way to balance out your carb-heavy French toast breakfast and feel satisfied for hours after is to pair it with protein and healthy fat. We call this combination of protein + fat + fiber the “PERFECT food trifecta.”
Plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or a combination of the two with a little fresh fruit is a wonderFULL way to do this! Mix a tiny amount of maple syrup in unsweetened yogurt or cottage cheese (if your family will eat it plain, this isn’t necessary). Then, top it with a few slices of banana, peaches or berries.
A piece of Hidden Veggie French Toast (fiber) served with yogurt or cottage cheese (protein + fat) and fresh fruit (fiber) will keep your family full and satisfied for hours. Plus, they’ll have eaten something from each of the major food groups first thing in the morning. What more could a mom or matriarch ask for?!
Why it’s important to use maple syrup or honey over commercial pancake syrup:
It’s no secret that pancake syrup is far less expensive than pure maple syrup or honey, but those savings may come at a cost. According to a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization), the caramel color used in most commercial syrups contains 4-MeI, which has been shown to cause cancer in mice and possibly people as well.
In addition, most commercial syrups are made with an array of heavily processed, unpronounceable ingredients (sugars, preservatives, flavoring) that have been shown to have damaging effects on our bodies.
The moral of the story is if you want to add a little extra sweetness to your French toast, stick to what nature provides us with: maple syrup or honey (sorry, Log Cabin, Mrs. Butterworth, and Aunt Jemima). If you want to save some extra cash and calories, slice a banana or add some blueberries on top of your French toast for a little extra sweetness, rather than drenching your French toast in it.
Kid-friendly and great for school lunches
This Hidden Veggie French Toast is not only great for breakfast, but it’s also perfect for school lunches. Simply slice each piece into strips for easy finger food. If frozen, pull a few strips out in the morning, put them in your kiddo’s lunchbox and they’ll be thawed by the time they’re ready to eat!
Some amazing ways to use your leftover carrot puree
Some ways to “reinvent” your leftover French toast:
- Sliced into strips (for brekkie, lunch or a snack): served cold with a side of plain yogurt that’s mixed with a drizzle of maple syrup as a dipping sauce.
- Cream cheese and strawberry French toast strips: fresh berries and a smear of goat, cream or cottage cheese as the filling, sandwiched between two pieces of French toast and sliced into strips (served hot or cold).
- Fancy PB&J style sandwich: fresh banana slices or 3-Ingredient Blueberry Jam and a smear of nut butter as the filling, sandwiched between two pieces of French toast. Pack for lunch, no syrup needed.
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this Hidden Veggie French Toast, we would love to hear how it turned out! Leave a comment below sharing what you served it with (fruit, yogurt, maple syrup, etc.) and how your picky eater responded to it. We love hearing from you and your ideas inspire us all!
If you’re looking for more ways to include veggies in your meals, check out our list!