Friday, April 20, 2012

Foodie Friday: Deceptively Delicious

As you may know, Ryan does not eat fruits or vegetables. The only way he will eat them is in squeeze pouch (pureed) form. But lately he isn't as interested in these, so I am desperate to find a way to get these important nutrients into his body. I recently checked out Jessica Seinfeld's "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook from the library.

The idea behind the recipes is that you "hide" pureed fruits and vegetables into typical recipes that kids will eat. The kids eat the food because they don't taste the vegetable, and the parent wins because their child is eating healthier. So is it okay to deceive your child in this way? My opinion, at least for Ryan, is yes. As long as I continue to offer him whole fruits and vegetables on the side, I see no problem with hiding some inside his food. That way he's getting what he needs, and still being given the opportunity to try the veggies on his own. (Side note: Ryan ate a few bites of watermelon the other night, for the very first time! Then a few days later he ate 3 pieces of broccoli. I almost passed out from shock.)

I have tried a few recipes from this cookbook and I have discovered one major issue. The concept only works if the food you are sneaking the veggie into is a food your child will eat. So putting pureed cauliflower into a grilled cheese sandwich might sound genius, but it won't work for Ryan because he won't touch a grilled cheese sandwich.

Here's what I've tried, in an attempt to get more produce into both Ryan and Adam:

Meatloaf with hidden carrots. I thought the taste was good, but the texture was really weird. Kind of like "fake" meat, and not actual ground beef. Adam and Ryan both do not like meatloaf, so this was a fail.

Couscous with hidden butternut squash and carrot. The color was a little orange, and I definitely tasted the butternut squash, which was fine with me. Ryan wouldn't eat it. Adam ate some, but thought it was strange.

Pancakes with hidden butternut squash. I also added a little bit of pureed banana to help sweeten them up. Adam wouldn't try them after I told him about the banana. I liked them. Ryan tried a bite and spit it out. A few days later I offered them to Ryan again (froze the leftovers) and he ate almost an entire pancake!

Macaroni and Cheese with hidden butternut squash. Adam ate it and didn't comment. Ryan wouldn't try it. I liked it, but could definitely detect the subtle squash flavor.

So overall these recipes haven't been too successful! I still have some leftover vegetable purees in the freezer, and I think I can sneak them into some of my own recipes without them being detected. Foods like chili or spaghetti would probably be good meals to use for this. Have any of you tried this method of "sneaking" veggies into everyday recipes? How do you get your picky toddlers to eat or even try fruits and vegetables?


  1. I'm *very* lucky that Susannah actually likes veggies and fruit, so it's never been much of a challenge for me. She does love to have her own little bowl that she can carry around. I wonder if Ryan in part picks up on his dad's pickyness?

    I guess I would start by asking what *are* their favourite meals, and work from there. Hiding veggies in tomato-based things seems pretty easy- the tomato has a strong enough flavour that it can hide a lot! And anything else with strong flavours is good too. Good luck!!!

  2. Have you tried freeze-dried fruit and veggies? Scarlett won't touch most fruit, but she chomps down on freeze-dried bananas (not banana chips), peaches, snap peas and whatever I find. She also likes dried mango from Trader Joe's. My friend's kids love the freeze dried peas.