Do you want broccoli or cookies?

>> Monday, October 8, 2007


Jessica Seinfeld was on Oprah today sharing the secrets of hiding vegetables in other foods so kids will eat them. My first thought was "what a good idea!" especially considering the chore that meal time has become lately. But then do our kids learn the value of healthy eating? When they are old enough to make their own food decisions, will they choose a rounded diet or will they continue to eat chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese because that is what they know (they don't know it had cauliflower and spinach puree in there). I know she is trying to simply get kids those nutrients and for that reason I will probably try some of her recipes. But it seems that you should also teach kids to eat vegetables that they recognize as vegetables so that the will actually learn to eat vegetables... Is the short term solution of getting the nutrients in their little bodies worth the risk that they will not learn the larger long-term lesson? From a mama who hates the meal-time battle even at 18months, what is the right balance?

7 comments:

Catherine October 8, 2007 at 4:05 PM  

Oh, I'd been meaning to watch that today and forgot - I wanted to know what her "lifechanging secret" was so thanks for letting me know what it was about.

I'm totally with you. On the one hand, I think its probably good to add veggies. But not STOP giving them in their full form. Or, as you say, kids will not learn to add them themselves (unless they only cook from their mom's cookbook . :)

Do you have her recipes?

TwoSquareMeals October 8, 2007 at 7:56 PM  

I agree with you and Catherine. I do occasionally "sneak" veggies into food, but I also have worked hard to just teach my kids that they eat what we eat. If they really don't like a veggie after a few tries, then I only make them a small bit and try to provide enough other stuff to balance it out. Some of those recipes are good ideas of sneaking in some veggies, but I draw the line at dessert! Dessert is not meant to be healthy. If I don't want to eat chocolate cake with beets, why make my kids?

I have actually had a major revolution in the dinner table mindset since having a second child. We don't battle any more. I may encourage my kids to eat more or to try the beans, but I don't spend my meal worrying too much about it. If they don't eat well and go to bed hungry, they wake up and eat a huge breakfast. Over the course of a couple of weeks, they seem to get about the right amount of calories and the right variety of foods. And they are learning to eat dinner so they don't have to go to bed hungry.

B October 9, 2007 at 4:03 PM  

OH my goodness, I could not agree more! I think it's a good idea, but should we be sneaking the food in? I think they should learn to recognize the food and eat it regardless of whether it's "hidden" or not. Easier said than done though. Blah.

Anyway, TAG you're IT! I'm "tagging" you from my blog to do the Seven things meme. You've gotta post 7 things about yourself and then tag 7 other bloggers to do the same on their blog. TAG!

Rachael October 10, 2007 at 1:06 PM  

I think it is a great idea - especially because by having the foods hidden, their palates still get sensitized to them so they are more likely to eat it later. I have found this with taking my fish oil each day - i hide it in grapefruit juice but was still gagging on the texture/taste at first - but now after a month i don't even notice it.

I don't think hiding veggies in other foods will make them less likely to eat healthy as they grow older - it's having healthy eating habits and appropriate portion sizes in the home that affects that more than anything.

Jennifer October 17, 2007 at 8:22 PM  

I don't hide food. I just cook broccoli. No cookies if no broccoli, it is that simple. Broccoli not ate can go in bowl in fridge for later eating pleasure. It is pretty simple...she likes broccoli though, so it is usually chowed right down.

Atwood-Family of 3 October 27, 2007 at 3:09 PM  

I say hide away! Anne is going to dis peas and embrace mac and cheese pretty much no matter what I do so, I say go ahead and hide until he's old enough to reason with. (No honey, please take a bite of peas and then you may have a bite of mac and cheese.)

Heather October 30, 2007 at 7:00 AM  

I got Jessica's book as a birthday gift a few weeks ago. It's awesome!!! She does not suggest that the sneakable veggies be the only veggies you serve. She still makes a side dish of veggies. But by sneaking veggies into the dish that the kids will eat, she is less stressed about them eating their veggies, therefore, less stress at mealtime.

I love the concept and have tried a few recipes with great success. Parents need to eat their veggies too!

PS. I am loving your blog! I've got you marked as one of my faves!

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