A Novel Way of Getting Kids to Eat Veggies

Part of raising a happy, confident and successful child is to raise a healthy child (hmmm… perhaps I should add that to my blog description – learning how to raise a happy, healthy, confident and successful child).  This is the reason why I occasionally explore options for healthier eating and supplements, such as probiotics and pediasure.

When my SIL2 first told me about a new cookbook she heard about for encouraging kids to eat more healthy foods, I listened politely with little interest.  I thought it would be another cookbook like the one by Annabel Karmel – just your regular kids recipes that would have interested other children except Gavin.

Oh, just in case you’ve been following my blog from that far back…  I did eventually buy a recipe book by Annabel Karmel and tried a few of the recipes in it.  Unfortunately, none of it went down well with Gavin.  He didn’t enjoy anything that I made (I ended up eating it all) so I never bothered to make anything else after that.

Of course, he was still new to solids back then.  Now that he’s older, he might actually enjoy the other recipes that he wasn’t old enough to handle back then…

But I digress…  I was talking about the recipe book my SIL2 mentioned.  What caught my full attention was when she started to talk about hiding veggies in chocolate brownies.  Vegetables in your dessert?  Now that’s a first!

This novel concept was all the rage back in 2007 when the book was first published.  Who came up with this novel concept?  Missy Chase Lapine, author of the controversial cookbook titled “The Sneaky Chef“.  Controversial because there is another cookbook titled “Deceptively Delicious” by Jessica Seinfeld that came out at the same time.  According to Lapine, she had sent her manuscript to Seinfeld publishing and was turned down.  Shortly after Jessica Seinfeld published “Deceptively Delicious”.

While googling the Sneaky Chef, I found an excellent review comparing the two cookbooks – “Deceptively Delicious” and “The Sneaky Chef”.  I liked Debbie’s review because she makes direct comparisons between recipes she tried from both books which none of the other reviews did.  In a nutshell, these were my take-home messages about the two books…

Deceptively Delicious

Deceptively Delicious

Deceptively Delicious presents better as a cookbook because each recipe comes with a photo of the finished product and the cookbook is spiral bound which makes it easier to use in the kitchen.  The photos, however, are more pretty than anything because none of the recipes Debbie made looked anything like them.  Sounds to me like every other recipe book I’ve ever owned.

Deceptively Delicious contains more recipes from scratch – good if you’re the kind that doesn’t like using “pre-mixes” and all that jazz.  I’ve also read another review that compliments Seinfeld’s recipes on the fact that she includes more low fat and low sodium options in her recipes.

The Sneaky Chef

Sneaky Chef

The main part of Debbie’s review that caught me was the fact that Sneaky Chef won in the taste department.  Just from that one comment alone, I would have bought the Sneaky Chef over Deceptively Delicious if I had a choice between the two books.  The Sneaky Chef also includes more whole grain options in her recipes which is a more nutritious option to regular flour.

The gripes about The Sneaky Chef was the fact that some of her recipes seemed as though they hadn’t been “tested” because the instructions in the recipe had to be modified to produce an edible end result.  I’ll talk more about this in the next post when I tried making her Brainy Brownies for Gavin to taste test.  The other gripe was that some of her recipes used processed foods.  Well, if you don’t like using processed foods, I’m sure you could make your own from scratch.

My Thoughts on the Concept of Sneaking Healthy Foods into Yummy Recipes

I have yet to see either of the cookbooks personally, however, I have seen a few free recipes on the Sneaky Chef’s website. The thing that struck me was that the actual quantities of veggies contained in each recipe is actually very little.  Half a cup of pureed veggies divided into portions doesn’t amount to very much at all.  Then again, I guess it can be argued that some veggies are better than none.

The other thing that this concept doesn’t really do is teach children the value of eating healthily and how to choose healthy food options.  Again, I guess you could argue that this is something you could teach them when they’re older.  My brother and I didn’t really learn to appreciate eating our veggies until we were well into our teenage years.  Having a rather “unhealthy” start to life (my father worked for Fraser and Naeve so cordial and fizzy drinks were our mainstay liquids) didn’t stop me from becoming a vegetarian later either.

At the end of the day, I guess the ends justifies the means – especially where toddlers are concerned.  And if sneaking healthy food options into not-so-healthy foods is the only way to do, then do it we will.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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