To Hide, or Not to Hide, Veggies in Food?

How Do You Get Kids to Eat Vegetables?

Nothing is more frustrating than caring for a finicky eater on a daily basis. It is no surprise to experienced nannies that children go through phases where their foods can’t touch and must be certain shapes, textures, and colors. Most kids go through a phase when they struggle to finish their vegetables.

In fact, science shows it is literally human nature that all kids go through a finicky eating phase around two-years of age. To ensure kids get proper nutrition, clinical studies actually recommend giving finicky eaters more vegetables by mixing the veggies into foods they already like. See our article “Why Kids are Finicky Eaters: What Science Shows Works with Finicky Eaters.”

One of most popular cookbooks with recipes that include vegetable purées is Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. Of course you can google plenty of healthy recipes online as well.

Opponents of mixing vegetable purées in foods that kids already like argue that children won’t learn the texture and taste of vegetables if they are deceitfully combined into other foods. By not serving children intact, fresh vegetables they won’t learn the habit of eating veggies at every meal.

When adults hide vegetable purées in baked goods, kids get mixed messages. For example, sometimes brownies are a healthy food and other times they are told they are a dessert and only to eat brownies sparingly. Serving baked treats just to ensure little ones are getting some cauliflower, broccoli, or spinach isn’t really teaching kids to eat healthy.

Perhaps a combination of both methods is best by serving fresh vegetables along side the hidden ones. Also an honest approach of telling children that spinach was in the smoothie they loved may actually be okay and encourage them include veggies to other foods as they age.

References:

Scientific Secrets for Raising Kids Who Thrive

Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food

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