Getting kids to eat veggies – the sneaky way

AAP 13 March 2008
Any parent will tell you there’s nothing new about sneaking vegetables into your kids’ food. Whether it’s grating carrots into the bolognaise sauce or secreting zucchini into your meatballs, most parents will plead guilty to committing an act of culinary subterfuge at some stage. That’s the premise of a new cookbook for children, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get You Kids to Eat Good Food, by Jessica Seinfeld (who also happens to be the wife of actor Jerry Seinfeld).

…Deceptively Delicious advocates the “trojan horse” approach to food, with recipes like chocolate pudding with avocado and chocolate chip cooks with chickpeas – but not everyone thinks hiding veggies in chocolate pudding is a good idea. Sydney-based child psychologist Kimberley O’Brien says it’s common for kids to develop strong aversions to vegetables. “It’s pretty common for children between the ages of six and ten to be really resistant to eating their vegetables,” she says. “They can build up to a fear or phobia which can lead to major tantrums, with kids basically turning upside down on their chairs to avoid eating broccoli.”

But tricking them by hiding vegies in other foods can backfire, she warns. “If the food tastes fine and the kids don’t notice the taste of the vegetables being hidden inside, then it’s a good idea,” O’Brien says. But “the risk is they will notice the taste, and then they’ll feel deceived and maybe distrustful about future meals.”