September 1, 2010

Deceptivly Delicious...Too Deceptive?

In case you've never heard, Decepively Delicious is a book on how to sneak vegetables and other good things into food your children will like, allowing them to get the nutrition they may not otherwise receive. It was written by Jessica Seinfeld, wife of comedian and television star Jerry Seinfeld (my husbands hero!) I was in Books-A-Million recently, and I saw this book on the clearance table. What she basically does in this book is take recipes for kid-friendly food, like chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, and sneaks various vegetable purees into it. She managed to get spinach into brownies without kids being able to detect it. It's a good theory. I've done this to a degree with my own kids. I've snuck extra veggies in spaghetti sauce, sweet potatoes into pancakes, even spinach in smoothies. But, I've never pureed the vegetables.

I had heard of this book way back when it first came out, and I was a bit skeptical. Why would I want to decieve my kids? Sure, I want my kids to get nutrition from fruits and vegetables. Sure, I want them to eat things that I know they won't touch in their natural form. But, how can I convince my kids to eat their vegetables when they can't see them?

It seems like a good idea. Sneak the veggies into food I know my kid will eat, thus making the food more healthy. And I admit to doing that frequently. However, I firmly believe in serving whole vegetables and fruits to my children. No, they don't always eat them. In fact, my oldest son will touch a piece of broccoli to his tongue, then tell me it is yucky without even tasting it. That's fine. At least he's seen the broccoli. He's familiar with it. While he doesn't like it right now, someday he may change his mind about it. He's been introduced to vegetables. He may not touch it today, but tomorrow he may take one bite. Then next week he may take two bites. Then the week after that he may not want to touch it at all. My point is, although he may not like it now does not mean he will not like it later. But it would have taken twice as long to get him to eat the vegetables if I had only snuck them into foods rather than serving them whole.

In the end, I didn't buy the book that day. Many of the recipes in the book are variations of things I already do in my kitchen. I'm not saying this is a bad book. Quite the contrary. There are lots of good ideas that I had never thought of. I actually want to make a few of them for my husband, who has a difficult time eating some vegetables. While I agree that using the "sneaky" method to get veggies into our kids is a good idea, I believe that it should only be used to supplement your childs vegetable intake. You can use these recipes to make your childs favorite foods, but don't neglect giving your kids whole vegetables along with these foods. Make the Deceptively Delicious chicken nuggets, but serve them with a side of steamed baby carrots or green beans. Your kids will eventually eat them, once they know what they are.

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