There are pros and cons of hiding vegetables and other less attractive ingredients in more popular foods for kids. It’s a trick I’ve employed countless times and I wanted to share the positive and negative aspects to following this deceptive tactic.
There are some negatives to hiding vegetables…
Before I share a couple of ways I’ve hidden vegetables, I thought I’d highlight some of the negative consequences of this technique.
The vegetables being sneakily hidden means that they aren’t actually learning about the taste and texture of the vegetables in their true form.
If baked treats are a “sometimes food” and all of a sudden they are being presented with more and more baked treats just to get them to eat a serve of broccoli then this isn’t really sending a positive message about healthy eating!
I overcome these negatives by ensuring that a serve of fresh vegetables is presented along side the hidden ones. Sometimes they will eat both, sometimes only the hidden version, but at least they are being presented with the vegetable and encouraged to taste it. I like to chat with them about what the food feels like and tastes and what special powers the specific vegetable will give them – bigger muscles, be able to run faster, or whatever task they are interested in at that specific time. Maybe that’s also a little sneaky, but I believe it does help them to understand that there is a strong connection between the food that they eat and the activities they want to perform.
Also, I hide vegetables less in baked treats and more in savory dishes (as you’ll see below), which is when they would usually be eaten.
The Benefits Of Hiding Vegetables
For extremely fussy children, sometimes the ONLY way to nourish them properly is to hide vital ingredients in food that they love.
You can seriously broaden their intake of vegetables by hiding a portion or two in other foods without the nagging and arguments which often accompany kids being presented with vegetables.
These are just some of my more popular ways of getting the kids to eat more vegetables:
Roast Zucchini Sandwich Spread – I hid Zucchini in a spread for the kids sandwiches.
Spinach & Avocado Spread - the kids LOVE Avocado, so I pureed a handful of spinach leaves into the avocado to increase their leafy green intake.
By concealing the spread within sandwiches and serving them in a cute muffin the meal (below) that delights the kids they happily ate through this meal. I also included cucumber stars and apples cut into bears using mini vegetable cutters.
Veggie Scrambled Eggs – 6 Ways – I’ve successfully hidden 6 different vegetables in scrambled eggs for the kids. It’s simply a matter of mixing the vegetables through the batter (zucchini in the below picture) and cooking it for the kids.
It’s not just vegetables I’ve hidden. My main area for concern with my picky eater has always been protein. I’ve resorted to hiding protein (in particular red meat) in some of his favorite foods in order to increase his red meat intake. My Burger French Toast Recipe is the perfect example of this.
Now you’re aware of some of the pros and cons, what do you think about the the tactic of hiding vegetables in other food for kids?
Now for an exciting announcement - now that the dust has settled on the launch of my eBook (The Grain Free Lunch Box), I’ve started writing the next eBook… The Picky Eater Survival Guide (due for release late 2013) – where I will be sharing the challenges and triumphs of feeding an extremely picky eater in a book I’ve been composing in my mind for a number of years now. My almost 5 year old has been picky since weaning and the entire inspiration behind my blog – I was inspired to get him to say “yummy” which is the meaning behind the name of my blog.
I’m now finally putting pen to paper, bringing to life the book I always wanted to read while struggling with my picky eater and am so excited to be bringing this to you. The book will be full of techniques to feed a picky eater – no matter how picky, you will find ways to provide your kids with a nourishing diet full of nutrient dense food.
As the book is still a work in progress, I’d love to hear from you – please share your picky eater dilemma in the comments (or feel free to email me if you’d prefer to be private) and I will attempt to explore your dilemma in The Picky Eater Survival Guide.
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