There’s Got to Be a Better Way: I Say No Hip Hip Hooray for Hooray Puree’

6a00d8341c58f853ef01157036110e970c-250wiI was shopping at my local Costco in Chicago today when I stumbled upon one of the many sampling stations set up throughout the store.  I had skipped the others, but this display caught my attention. All of these moms were gathered around a tall guy in a hair net talking about children’s nutrition.  He was demonstrating a new product called Hooray Puree?, tubes of frozen pureed vegetables to sneak into macaroni and cheese, brownies and other “kid foods.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Here was the concept of Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious come to life in the aisles of Costco!  I guess it was only a matter of time before a company jumped on this idea. Is it really an indication of the power of this trend?

If you read my earlier posts [Debating the Merits of Stealth Veggies and An Update on the Seinfeld Food Fight] then you know I’m not a fan of this stealth vegetable tactic.  I’d rather parents work on new ways to get kids to love vegetables, rather than focus on hiding them.6a00d8341bfc7553ef00e54f2ddeb28833-640wi

Even so, I know sometimes that means getting creative at mealtime.  It’s not always easy, but I think there are better ways to teach kids to enjoy eating vegetables. I appreciate the company’s interest in children’s diets, but the recipes they promote to use with the purees are not really going to help.  Each 4-ounce packet (including spinach, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and butternut squash) is equal to 1 vegetable serving.  But then most of the recipes only use 1 packet and they serve 4 or more.  That translates to less than 1 ounce of vegetables per serving!

For example, the beef stew recipe featured on the company’s web site is 1 can of Dinty Moore Stew and 1 packet of carrot puree.  So for one serving of this delicious stew, your child would get about a tablespoon of carrots!  Come on.

Similarly, the macaroni and cheese recipe is 1 box of mac n’ cheese plus 1 packet of butternut squash puree. Once again, that’s only 1 ounce of vegetables per serving.  I wouldn’t want parents to think they’re off the hook, they gave their kids vegetables with just a dollop of mushed vegetables mixed in. The meat loaf recipe features 2 packets of purees, but the recipe serves 6-8…so that’s still just about 1 ounce of vegetables per serving.  You’d be better off adding grated carrots and small bits of red pepper to your meat loaf mixture. There’s got to be a better way!


Hooray Puree is made by a Chicago-area company called ReeRee Foods in Elk Grove Village.  Since it’s a local creation, I feel a little bad being negative.  But I wish this desire to get kids to eat better would result in a different type of product.  I think this will only distract parents.  And even though the intent is admirable, the actual product — and stealth technique —  is not.

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