Kids, Zero. Mom, One.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think adding veggies secretly to favorite foods is just fine, but keep serving the unadulterated stuff too.  A lot of foods are an acquired taste.  My kids were required to eat a small amount of each vegetable served, and by the time they were 10 or so, they loved vegetables of all sorts–broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, even brussel sprouts!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m definitely doing a combination of both. When I became a stepmom, my girls were 8 and 10 and wouldn’t touch vegetables. Now they love them and I’m pretty sure the recipes I came up with had something to do with it. I’m hoping in a couple of years, my little ones will come around! But in the meantime…

  2. My kids hated the recipes that came from Seinfeld’s book, and, quite frankly, so did I. Too bland. We puree to our OWN heart’s desire, now, and sneak in veggies whenever we can. Good job, mom! 

    • Anonymous says:

      I was very frustrated by the book- I tried a lot of the recipes and most of them didn’t turn out at all- And I consider myself to be a pretty experienced cook! The exception was the sweet potato pancakes. My kids LOVE them. 

      • Oh, really? I may have to go back and check that recipe. Only one that semi-panned out was the cauliflower mashed potatoes, mainly because we “jazzed” ’em up with roasted garlic in butter, low-fat sour cream and seasonings, sprinkling with a little cheddar cheese for good measure. Her book, in theory, is great, but I think it would work better as an online community of folks sharing recipes as opposed to using hers, though.

  3. Kathy Melchin says:

    I tried the Deceptively Delicious route also – too confusing!  I will have to try it this way – sounds much easier!

  4. Robmtchl says:

    LOL. Very sneaky. We used something much less creative. We told our kids they were dinosaurs and the had to eat their “trees”. It didnt work as well as your burgers though.

  5. NancyB says:

    What a great idea! I love making Mock Mashed Potatoes with cauliflower.
    My son grew up to love the veggies he loves and hates the one he hates (“hot tomatoes”).  But asparagus, brussell sprouts, artichokes – he loves them.  I think if we teach them Moderation – with chips, with soda, with candy – as well as giving them healthy food choices they will be ok.
    Too funny — I didn’t notice that marshacwp mentioned some of the same vegetables that I did!

    • Anonymous says:

      Good points. My kids aren’t denied treats, but I try to limit them as much as I can without being overbearing about it. My big thing has been to feed them WHEN THEY’RE HUNGRY. I discovered that they often don’t want a snack at “snack time,” so I’ll wait until they ask for one. And they ask for food far less often than I would think they’d want it. They’re also learning to get HUNGRY before they eat that way– something I think too many of us have forgotten.

  6. Rebeccah says:

    GURRRRRRL! You can put fresh chopped spinach into about any soup, stew, spaghetti whatever without changing the taste much at all. Mine think it’s BASIL.  NYAH NYAH NYAH NYAH!!!!

  7. Kimberly says:

    I am soooo glad you wrote this!  I totally agree with you.  I just don’t get parents who give up and just feed their kids junk.  I do think it is still important to serve non-hidden veggies too so that they do eventually learn to enjoy them (which I am sure you do).  I think sometimes Asian and Italian flavored veggies go over well with kids.  Like stir-fries (without using bottled sauces- Mark Bittman is an excellent resource for easy from scratch sauces) or lasagna with chopped zucchini, carrots or spinach.  In other cultures kids eat veggies with no problem but in American it seems to be an issue.  Maybe what they eat at school is to blame?  I don’t know….

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks, Kimberly! I’ll have to look that up. I’m still giving them visible veggies, (trying oven-baked zucchini “chips” this weekend) too, but at least now I’m not so worried about it!

  8. Brittany says:

    My best friend would add the puree to peanut butter and sneak it into the pbj sandwiches 🙂  

  9. Liz Miller says:

    I’ve had an enormous amount of success linking outcomes to intakes, as it were. Unpleasant poops? Not enough fruits, veggies, and water. Easy passages? YAY! That’s because of all the water and fruit you ate!

    And, BTW, children’s obesity is highly correlated to their biological parents’ weights. Twins studies and adoptive studies have proved it pretty conclusively.

  10. Liz Miller says:

    Oh, and tomato sauce can hide an enormous amount of veggies. Heck, you can make it with some low-sodium V8.

  11. Melissa says:

    I once substituted shredded zucchini and carrots for half the meat in a lasagna recipe. We had friends over for dinner that night, who have a 2 1/2 year old, and his mom said he would eat NO pasta except spaghetti. 

    Child wolfed down an entire serving of my sneaky-veggie-lasagna and kept proclaiming “Yummy! Is yummy, Mama!”. 

    Score for me. 🙂 Mwah ha ha haaaaa…

  12. Comfy Mom says:

    I do roasted eggplant in meatloaf (using about a third as much breadcrumbs as usual). Broccoli pureed with pesto sauce for spaghetti & pizza sauce. But I’ve had most success with testing different texture preparations. Turns out my kids just don’t like the texture of most ways of cooking veggies. Steamed/boiled/microwaved are out for everything. Root veggies can be roasted until mush & some can be fried (not carrots). Everything else but cauliflower can be pureed into soup or eaten raw.

  13. mom2 says:

    Great idea. My son , who is now a high school senior, would only eat corn (not much nutrition there) and raw carrots in the way of vegetables until about 3 years ago.  I never forced the issue, but always put dressed up green veggies on the table. Sometimes he would try a teaspoon full of something, but I always served some kind of fruit with dinner for him as well. Now suddenly he will eat and try anything! Some tricks I’ve used in the past are pured peas and frozen pured squash in turkey meatloaf. Keeps the meat moist (not too much squash or it will be too wet) and no one knows it’s in there. I also make mashed potatoes with skim milk and fat free greek yogurt instead of whole milk and butter and/or sour cream. Yukon Gold potatoes work best as they have a buttery flavor.You would not believe how good this is. Company raves about the flavor and ask what my secret is. My kids were none the wiser until they got older and I clued them in. This way you don’t feel guilty about 2nd helpings and you are getting all the protein from the greek yogurt.

  14. Tanagriz says:

    My 15 month old son loves the organic squeezy pouches…the broccoli and apple is his favorite.  I think it might have something to do with the delivery system versus eating regular broccoli (which he’ll eat, but not as often as I would like).  We especially like the ones from Plum.

  15. Bellasaid32 says:

    I do the exact same thing with my pasta sauce. One bag of cauli, one bag of zuccini, a can of crushed tomatoes, Mild italian turkey sausage and ground turkey mixed with 2 cans of tomato sauce. Saute and then puree with an immersion blender. Add a can of tomato paste to keep the color right. 😉 Put over whole wheat pasta and call yourself a genius while your kids wolf it down.

  16. Jenna says:

    Have you tried the v8 fruit juices? They’re pretty good!


  17. Robyn says:

    I am definitely trying this!  My 5 year old HATES veggies …. and fruits (although he likes the squeezable fruits from Trader Joe’s and can tolerate smoothies).  If they like smoothies, a good friend of mind puts spinach in hers and says it’s awesome!  Also, I do put cauliflower in lieu of cheese in mac&cheese because my son can’t tolerate dairy.  Now, you don’t need to replace it like I do but it’s super easy to add in.

    • Anonymous says:

      GREAT idea! My son loves mac and cheese and I hadn’t been able to sneak anything in with it without him complaining… UNTIL NOW. Mwah ha ha ha ha!!

  18. Mary A says:

    Bowing to you.

  19. Old Grey Mare says:

    An easy way to add pureed veggies into other foods without a lot of work that can attract their attention is by adding baby food to it — a little here, a little there.  I started with baby food carrots in my beef stew because my kids (who always have been good about eating their vegetables because I started making that normal EARLY) would pick out the “chunks” of carrots.  In a few years they started liking the carrot chunks but I still kept also adding the baby food carrots because we like the additional flavor.  Baby food is not cheap per ounce but there is no waste, it can be stored to use at any time, it has no added sodium or sugar, and is available in organic.  I stock up during sales like at Publix currently B1G1free.
    My son is now 24 and recently thanked me for raising them being used to eating whole grain bread, varied vegetables, and tofu.  [we weren’t vegetarians]

    Another hint is that crisp raw bell peppers [especially red ones] are delicious but the thin tough skin is somewhat unpleasant in the mouth [sometimes even for adults] and a bit difficult for toddlers to bite, so that is a turn-off.  I would actually peel their bell pepper slices when they were toddlers and they loved them.   It’s easy with a sharp knife if you don’t do it until after they are sliced [also, I ate the tops and bottoms myself and just peeled and gave them the straight side pieces — easier to peel and no awkward “curls” to bite].  I gradually removed less and less when peeling until they were still loving it completely unpeeled by at least 1st grade.

  20. Corri C says:

    My MIL makes a cauliflower pizza crust that I love…and I HATE cauliflower. SHe rices cauliflower and mixes it with mozzarella, bakes it for a few minutes, then we top it as we would any other pizza…it’s yummy. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, just looked up this recipe and I can’t WAIT to try it! It works for Atkins too, which my husband and I like to do together every few months. 🙂 Thanks for the idea!

  21. Kristin R says:

    There is another set of cookbooks in the “Sneaky Chef” series.  I’ve had good success with some of them.  I get away with adding lentil to our burgers, and white beans or carrots/sweet potatoes to mac n cheese a lot.

  22. Brooks2 says:

    Great idea! I need to try that. I don’t have a food processor. I need to get one.

  23. Miriam says:

    I know this is going to sound totally insane but about a month ago I simply stopped buying most processed/canned food.  All of it.  From canned soups to chicken nuggets to sodas.  

    What we discovered is that our kids don’t actually hate vegetables.  They just like everything else better. If vegetables and other, healthier foods are all that’s available they’ll eat them.  

    Of course, this means we grownups also have to go without all that lovely convenient high fat/salt food as well.  

  24. Heatherpforr says:

    Low Sodium V8 is your friend!  I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER make spaghetti sauce without it 😉

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