No Veggie Left Behind

by Missy Chase Lapine

A grateful reader recently wrote to me and said she had a better chance of getting Brad Pitt to call her for a date than to get her kids to eat their vegetables. And her name was not Angelina.

I'm not eating thisWell, fear no more. The days of the picky eater are over, and there's a new life for those super healthy foods we could only wish our kids would eat. How is this possible? Haven't we tried every trick in the book to get our kids to stop demanding white and start eating green food? We've made log cabins out of asparagus and forests out of broccoli stalks. We've promised trips to Disneyland if they'll just take one more bite, and we've turned every food on earth into a mini version of itself hoping they would think it was cute enough to eat. And yet there our kids always sit, staring defiantly back at us with their lips pinched shut.

Every single green bean and leaf of spinach has still been meticulously separated from the buttery mashed potatoes with surgical precision. In the end our garbage disposals are better nourished than our families.

So get smarter. Get sneaky! Most of us know perfectly well what our kids should be eating; the trick is simply how to get them to eat it... hmmmmm.. Hide it! Get out that cute mini food processor and puree the super veggies with a little water. Make yourself a smooth and creamy puree that will hide perfectly in all kinds of meals kids already like to eat.

Do your kids like mac n' cheese? Most kids love it and it has a kid-friendly cheesy taste that covers up the "White Puree," which has almost no taste of its own. Throw some white beans, zucchini and steamed cauliflower into blender, then mix the puree in with their favorite boxed macaroni and cheese. Set it on the table and keep your little secret to yourself. They'll eat it right up without a peep of protest. Try steaming and pureeing orange and white veggies like yams, carrots, peeled zucchini and cauliflower and mixing it into pizza and pasta sauce. With this method, you'll smile all the way to the dishwasher after you watched the kids gobble up previously rejected healthy foods. The whole world opens up to you with the sneaky method.

In addition to healthy meals, there will now be peaceful meals, and you can start teaching good nutrition in a much less pressured environment. Because you're confident that your kids are already getting the nutrition they need in the sneaky recipes, you don't have to fight with the same edge in your voice over the plain broccoli stalks that aren't hidden. And all those veggies you used to walk right past in the grocery store? There's now a recipe for every one of them. Your new motto will be: No vegetable left behind.

Missy Chase Lapine is the author of The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals (Running Press, March 2007). She is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine and the founder of a natural baby product line Baby Spa™. Missy is currently on the Culinary Arts faculty of The New School, in New York City, and operates The Sneaky Chef workshops, which is a program of cooking classes and demonstrations that teach families how to eat healthier. She is available to individuals, groups and businesses for private cooking instruction, workshops and personal coaching in The Sneaky Chef methods and recipes. Missy lives with her family in Westchester, New York. For more information, please visit www.TheSneakyChef.com.

Copyright © Missy Chase Lapine. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.