Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Food You Can Sneak Veggies Into

Kelly the Kitchen Kop asked if anyone had read the books The Sneaky Chef or Deceptively Delicious. I thought I would repost an old post from my old blog about trying out these methods. I am still a little skeptical about how many servings of fruits and veggies you really get out of doing this, but since I have a really picky 4 year old (who used to eat anything!) I have had to become creative in how I get her to eat her vegetables. So I learned what foods you can sneak veggis into. She has been eating things that she would normally turn her nose up at. I have to tell you this works on adults too. I have compiled a short list of the things I have tried so far. Most of my ideas came from the book The Sneaky Chef and others I came up with on my own.

Some of the concoctions look terrible, but I have tried each one and they are actually very good. Some recipes have other healthy things instead of veggies. All the recipes are healthy and full of good things.

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Pancakes (SO GOOD and actually healthy)-blueberries and spinach
Breakfast Ice cream-Pumpkin, banana, berries, avocado, apples
Breakfast cookies-Whole grains and cottage cheese
Grilled Cheese-Any orange veggie pureed
Mac and Cheese-Any orange or white veggie pureed
Spaghetti sauce-You can add anything white, red, or orange This is easy to hide things in
Pigs in a blanket- Sweet potatoes or butternut squash
Quesadillas-Sweet potatoes, squash, zucchini, cauliflower, white beans
Chicken Nuggets-Any white or orange veggie snuck into the wet step before breading
Fish Sticks- The same as chicken nuggets
Meatloaf-Just about anything Peas, spinach, and broccoli pureed are a great combo
Lasagna- Hides a ton
Burritos-White veggie and white beans
Brownies-Blueberries and spinach (Sounds bad, but my kids cleaned them up!)
Pancakes-Pumpkin and any fruit
Smoothies-Pumpkin and any fruit (Can be made into Popsicles)
Biscuits- Sweet potatoes and squash
Mashed potatoes-Zucchini and cauliflower. If your kids will eat orange mashed potatoes you an add some sweet potatoes to the white ones.

All of these recipes work best if the "snuck" in item has been pureed first. It makes it easier to hide and less noticeable for kids or some adults. I have found that baby food works well in a pinch.


  1. Around 2 years ago, I was a Nanny for Triplets. While trying to get them to eat, I would puree Veggies and add them, plus Salmon to a pancake batter. I would saute them, call them Salmon Croquettes and give them to the Babies (toddlers) to eat as finger food. It went over very well. They always finished them, when we went out, as I pushed them in their stroller. For Families on Kosher diets this workes even better with Matza Meal Latka Batter. In over 35 years working as a Nanny or Baby Nurse I have only come across 1 small child ( Jewish or not, who did not like Matza Meal Latkas, no matter what recipe I followed [side of box] with or w/o the veggie puree.)

  2. When my first child was 18 months, I remember going to her doctor checkup visit and he sat me down, looked me straight in the eye and said. "Your child may now begin trying to tell you what she will and will not eat.... Don't do it! Or you will be eating pizza and hot dogs every night for the next 18 years!" While I thought his approach was rather comical, I took his advice. My first child never gave me a problem but my second child made up for it. At 18 months, she refused to eat meat for the next 18 months! What we did was we put about 3 bites of it on her plate at meals and told her (kindly but firmly) that she must eat it. There were no exceptions. She finally realized that she was not going to avoid it and she would eat it. At around 3 years of age, she no longer gave us any problems. Both children now eat anything put in front of them.
    Had I known the Lord as my Savior then, there would have been many other more substantial reasons for helping my child to see that she should eat whatever is served. Of course, you can't reason with an 18 month old but you can make it clear what is expected at mealtime. For an older child it is good to help them understand that: 1) They must obey dad and mom because this is good in the sight of God. 2) Helping them to see that we should be grateful for whatever the Lord has provided. 3) Also, if we cater to their changing likes and dislikes, we could be teaching them to be self-focused on whatever pleases them. The Bible never teaches us to be self-focused but to be exactly the opposite. I say this because for those who know the Lord, I would like to encourage you to give your child Biblical reasons for why you do what you do. Or why they should eat their dinner with thankfulness and cheerfulness even if it's not their favorite thing. This resoning will reach much further than just the dinner table. Rather than hide what's being served, you have a wonderful opportunity help them appreciate your efforts to feed them wholesome food. Later on, they may even appreciate that fact that you wouldn't let them have their way :)!
    Thank you for reading this very long comment. I pray that someone is encouraged by reading this and not offended or discouraged. May the Lord keep growing and teaching us as we seek to do all for His glory, even while at the dinner table : ).
    Thank You--heidi

  3. Heidi,

    I have to say that I completely agree with you. The main reason that I posted this was due to the fact that I had not done such a great job with showing my 4 year old that she had to try everything on her plate. She was giving me so much trouble. I was worried that she may be missing something.
    We only used this method for a short time along with still serving her whole fruits and veggies. She is now required to try everything on her plate. At first she really did not like it, but she is now starting to see that she is not going to get out of it. She is also starting to realize that she does like some of the new foods.
    We have been using breakfast as our time to have Bible study with the children. We make sure to thank the Lord in our prayers for what we have been given. We have also had many discussions about being thankful for what we have been given to eat. Even when it is not our favorite.
    We do still have struggles because we started so late with my 4 year old, but the 2 year has been easier. Hopefully when the new baby arrives I will be even better at guiding them.
    Thank you for your honest opinion. Like I said I agree with you.
    Hopefully this post can give some other mothers hope to start their children on the path to a healthier lifestyle. The point of "hiding" the food is not to completely keep them from ever knowing it is there so they can still eat "junk" food, but to enhance what they already eat. Believe me you can never completely "hide" the good stuff. It still comes through in texture and taste. I was hoping this method would help expose my children to more things. In fact, they now prefer their pancakes with pumpkin or sweet potatoes.