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Eight sneaky ways to make food healthier

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We see fortified foods everywhere these days, with added vitamins and nutrients in milk, bread and even pet food. But did you know you can easily add some extra nutrition into your own homemade dishes? Vegetable color blends into many foods and drinks but it's the texture that gives you away, so break out those food processors because we're about to get sneaky!

One important note: always know your audience and never add in foods that others may be allergic to.

1. Throw some spinach in your sauce
Cooked veggies blend well. Incorporate carrots, peas and sautéed spinach into your favorite pasta sauce and puree it all together. You'll add some vitamin A and protein to your meal without compromising the flavor of the sauce. Bonus: frozen spinach and peas work just as well as their fresh counterparts, and spinach is a good alternative to kale, which can cause upset stomach.

2. Bite into a better burger
Cook sweet potato and carrots, blend together and add to ground beef to boost up your burger. You can use this trick with meatballs and meatloaf too.

3. Elevate your chili
Basic chili has beans and tomatoes, but mix in some carrot, sweet potato or butternut squash puree to get more out of this winter game day staple.

4. Revamp breakfast
Starting your day with pancakes or waffles? Whether you make them from scratch or use a mix, you can add pumpkin or butternut squash puree to get in a serving of veggies. Don't forget the dusting of cinnamon! 

5. Go nuts for health
You can also substitute half your flour with almond meal in those pancakes and waffles.

6. Make your brownies green
Yes, you can disguise a dose of healthy greens in your dessert course. All it takes is half a cup of pureed spinach leaves added into the wet mixture of chocolate brownies.

7. Smoothie out a hectic morning
Whip up a smoothie with spinach, frozen mango, almond meal and Greek yogurt. Or, go for peanut butter, banana and spinach. The combination of fruits and nuts will give you some great flavor, while the spinach adds all those nutrients you need to get through the day.

8. Add avocado
Stay full all morning by including avocado in your smoothie for a healthy serving of fat and vitamin E. Try blending two avocados, a handful of spinach, one banana, eight ounces of Greek yogurt and one cup of frozen pineapple pieces. If necessary, use coconut water to thin it out.

Do you have some sneaky kitchen secrets of your own? Why not share? I'll never tell!

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