Did you know that French fries and fruit juice are the leading sources of vegetable and fruit intake in children and teens in the U.S., according to a recent Ohio State University study? If you are like me, meal time can get a little bit old making sure my kids eat enough of the good stuff .
One of the things I strive for is to associate meals with happiness and conversation, not power struggles. Recently, I came across a cookbook I had received as a gift with many ideas for “deceptively” sneaking pureed fruits and vegetables into my children’s meals and snacks! What a great idea! At first I thought, “no, my kids need to learn how to eat broccoli and spinach, it’s part of life, and mixing it into foods to camouflage the taste and color is never going to teach them healthy eating habits. Until, I realized that I could do both: I can expose them to a variety of fruits and vegetables preparing them with every meal AND I can sneak a little more in here and there without them even knowing! After all, it’s more than a challenge meeting the recommended guidelines of 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
So here’s what I started to do:
Every week, I challenge myself to pick out two new recipes to incorporate the “veggie deception” model. The secret to the success of your newfound deceit will be in your organization and planning. I then aim to do all my pureeing at one time – so far the beets and sweet potato puree have been the favorites (not that they even knew they were there!).
So whether it’s your spaghetti sauce, your macaroni and cheese or your chocolate cake, don’t hesitate to find creative ways to blend the season’s best into your favorite foods (And don’t forget, canned or frozen vegetables work just as well as the fresh).
Wishing you good, healthful and peaceful meals ahead!