Veggie loaded meatballs

by | Oct 20, 2017 | Food and cooking, Kid's Health topics

Veggie loaded meatballs

by | Oct 20, 2017 | Food and cooking, Kid's Health topics



So the battle to get kids to eat their veggies continues.


Seriously, if I had 20 cents for every time a parent came to me in clinic and told me that their kids won’t eat veggies, I would have retired by now.   NO KIDDING!!!

In fact, despite LOVING vegetables (especially the well-seasoned (honey) roasted kind) now, I distinctly remember hating them when I was a kid.

Mum used to make me sit at the table until I had eaten them all.  I remember I made myself eat them FIRST off the plate, so that I could finish my meal with a nice taste in my mouth.  In particular I recall hating green beans, pumpkin and squash and actually physically GAGGING on them when trying to eat them.  Go figure.  Tastebuds change with time.  Although… in my defence, I do think my mum often BOILED veggies for us to eat (she was the most awesome cook for Chinese food in the WORLD, but Western style food was not really her forte).

The dieticians that I worked with at the old Royal Children’s Hospital used to tell me that THEY would explain to patients that, “…each time they tried a new food, their tastebuds would change a bit, meaning that something that they might have previously not liked, might later be yummy.”  Kids had to taste a food a minimum of 10 times before they said the “didn’t like it.”  I think this is a good strategy!  I tell MY kids that they “like” a particular food, even if I have hidden it in something else 😉

So meatballs are really, really REALLY easy to make.  You can pretty much put anything in them in terms of vegetables as long as they are grated or in tiny pieces such that they stick into the mince.  I have wondered if you could make all-veggie “meatballs” too but have never actually tried it.  I imagine I’d use something like mashed sweet/normal potato as the “mince”  but then I suppose they’d be more a veggie “nugget” then wouldn’t they?  Ahh well… something to try another day.



500g mince beef      (Note you can use any mince:  pork, chicken – doesn’t matter.  If your kids really hate veggies though, I think beef is a stronger flavour so hides it better; also, you can use “Heartsmart beef” the most expensive type with the least amount of fat, but I find that mince with a slightly higher fat level is often a bit tastier)

1 XL or jumbo egg

0.5 cup grated parmesan cheese

0.5 cup breadcrumbs

2 tab fresh minced garlic

3 medium carrots – grated

1 medium zucchini – grated and the excess liquid squeezed out

1-2 green shallots (spring onion) OR just medium sized brown/white/red onion (less visible to kids) – chopped finely

1/2 tsp dried oregano (or fresh if you’ve got it)

1/4 cup of chopped fresh coriander/parsley (I often use a combo of both)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (I am pretty heavy handed with this)

A good pinch (1-2 tsp) salt

1/3 – 1/2 cup of milk



  1.  Mix all ingredients together and shape into balls
  2.  Shallow fry until brown all over or oven bake at 170 degrees for 25 min until cooked through



  • Spaghetti and meatballs (just boil some pasta and serve with a pasta sauce with parmesan sprinkled on top)
  • “Hedgehogs”  (with rice)
  • Bunnies in a burrow (in potato mash and steamed greens)


My kids LOVE meatballs.  Even the Little 2 year old General (aka Nicky) who is pretty fussy with food, will scoff 6-7 of these in one meal.

Hope your kids (and whole family) like them too.


Please let me know if you try the recipe (and post a pic with a comment) and as always, SHARE, SHARE, SHARE away on Facebook, Pinterest – whatever.

You can also follow me on Instagram as  drmeggsiecooks


Until next time, happy cooking and eating!


xxDr Megs


PS I am going to attempt cooking crocodile, rabbit and potentially kangaroo this weekend for a family lunch… will keep you posted on how it goes 😉




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About Dr Megs

About Dr Megs

Megan is a Brisbane and Ipswich-based paediatrician in public and private practice, and mum to two small children. You can usually find her working hard in private practice at Paeds in a Pod North Lakes and Greenslopes, and in public practice at Ipswich Hospital.

PLEASE NOTE: This blog is written for the purpose of providing GENERAL advice about common children's health topics (and of course recipes). It is NOT a substitute for a proper medical assessment and examination by a qualified physician. If your child is unwell, seek medical and attention and advice in person.