cupcakes 

Did you know that the USDA recommends getting five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day — nine?! C’mon, it’s hard for a girl to count greens, especially if she’s also counting calories, carbs and dollars while shopping. Good thing there’s a way to sneak extra veggies into your diet — by baking with them. Check out these five vegetables that you can put in your next batch of homemade cupcakes. That’s one small step for carbs; one giant leap for veggies.

Zucchini
Shredded zucchini seems to dissolve into cupcakes in the oven — you usually can’t taste or see any difference from them. Because of this, they’re great for fooling your niece or boyfriend into eating more veggies. Get recipe here. 

Beets
If you’ve ever cooked with beets, you’re well aware of their crazy ability to stain things magenta. What could possibly make for a better natural cupcake coloring than this? Very little. Make your cupcakes a bit pinker and sweeter all at once with shredded fresh beets. Get recipe here. 

Carrots
Carrots aren’t just for cake, you know. They’re rich in natural sugars (and tons of skin-rejuvenating carotenoids), so adding these to your cupcakes is smart for your stomach and for your skin. Get recipe here. 

Sweet potatoes
Sort of an obvious one, so it’s surprising that people usually just use canned pumpkin and sweet potatoes for pies. Use the same stuff in your cupcakes for a smooth, creamy and irresistible sweet boost. Take it a step healthier, and use fresh sweet potatoes, forgoing the can and chemicals that come along with it. Get recipe here. 

Sauerkraut
You’ve probably just made a sour face, haven’t you? Yes, we’re talking the same sauerkraut your Polish grandmother used to make in her basement. The juicy, cultured cabbage makes for one surprisingly awesome addition to cupcakes — it melts into the batter and pairs deliciously with chocolate. Enough said. Get recipe here. 

Image: lamantin