The Scoop on Food

How to Spiralize Your Kid's Lunch

Ali Maffucci creator of Inspiralized.com and the Inspiralizer shares ways to add healthy, spiralized veggies to your kids' midday meals.

Pizza Muffins Ali Maffucci
As you've probably noticed, a spiralized vegetable craze is sweeping the nation. That's largely thanks to Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized.com, a food blog all about cooking creatively with the spiralizer, a kitchen tool that turns vegetables and fruits into noodles. In June of 2013, Ali quit her corporate job to pursue Inspiralized. Since then, her best-selling cookbook, Inspiralized, was published and she launched her branded spiralizer called the Inspiralizer. In this guest post Ali shares ways to add healthy, spiralized veggies to your child's midday meal.

Let's be honest: it can be a challenge to find healthy, nutrient-dense food to pack for your kid's lunch that also meets his taste buds' approval. I have the perfect solution: spiralizing! The spiralizer is a kitchen tool that quickly and easily turns vegetables and fruits into noodles. These noodles can be whipped up into tasty bowls of pasta, fit for even the pickiest of eaters (who says no to spaghetti and meatballs?!). By tossing these vegetable noodles with kid-friendly ingredients and sauces, the vegetables become delicious bowls of noodles and perfect for packed lunches. With these tips and simple recipes your child will be eating more vegetables without even realizing it. Choose to share the information if you want...but it can be our secret!

A few tips for spiralizing for kids:

  • For zucchini: if your child sees green and runs, peel the zucchini first. Zucchinis are white fleshed and easily "confused" with regular spaghetti.
  • After you spiralize your vegetable, trim the noodles with a scissor. Otherwise, you may find your child jump-roping a sweet potato noodle.
  • Stick with vegetables that are mild-tasting or vegetables that your children already enjoy. For example, a turnip might be too bitter for their liking and not as easily masked with a sauce or dressing. Some kid-friendly veggies include zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes/sweet potatoes and broccoli stems.
  • If you're packing lunch (and your kid is not eating it immediately), separate the sauce from the noodles. This applies mainly with zucchinis, which release moisture once they're heated. To avoid a watery pasta sauce and thus a child's disinterest in their lunch, separate the sauce from the noodles and simply have your kid mix it together before eating – it's more fun anyway!

One spiralized lunch box favorite are these Pizza Egg Muffins with Potato Noodles. This recipe is easy to make ahead and freeze and is also great for breakfast. If you're looking for something with more greens swap in zucchini noodles for the potato noodles.

Recipe: Pizza Egg Muffins With Potato Noodles

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and spiralized with Blade C
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 dozen large eggs
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ cup diced turkey pepperoni slices
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 12 slices of turkey pepperoni
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the potato noodles. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes or until potatoes are cooked to al dente, uncovering occasionally to toss.
  3. Coat the muffin cups with cooking spray and then pack each about halfway with potato noodles, snipping the noodles with kitchen scissors as you go.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, onion powder and diced pepperoni and season with salt and pepper. Stir to mix and then pour into the muffin cups on top of the potato noodles, filling the cups about three-quarters of the way.
  5. Top each muffin with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese and a slice of pepperoni. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until eggs have set completely. Pop out of the muffin pan. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Wrap individually and freeze for up to three months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Here are links to a few more recipes your kids might enjoy: Italian Zucchini Pasta SaladChicken Zucchini Noodle Soup, and Winter Kale, Sausage, and Butternut Squash Lasagna. Happy spiralizing!

Ali Maffucci lives in Jersey City, NJ with her husband, Lu. You can follow Inspiralized on TwitterFacebookInstagramPinterest and YouTube.

Healthy Snacks: Veggie Pancakes