Are Covert Veggies a Good Approach?

One way to get kids to eat their vegetables is to hide them —   a stealth approach popularized a few years ago by Jessica Seinfeld and Missy Chase Lapine.  

Perhaps you remember the lawsuit over veggie plagiarism between the sneaky and deceptive authors.  

hiding vegetables
photo credit: wudzy on flickr

Hiding vegetables was the topic of my kids’ table column today in the Chicago Tribune.  Hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think.

Is it ok to disguise veggies?  Do all forms count?  Does the deception trouble you? Or do what it takes?

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  • Laurie

    I have no problem serving “hidden” veggies, but I do it in addition to serving them in the fresh form. The variety makes it easier for me to get my daily servings too.

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  • shris

    I serve veggies that are camouflaged by other flavors, but I am honest when the kids ask what’s in it. I am pretty good with stews and soups and one-pot-meals, so there are frequently dinners where the veggies are inseparable from other ingredients. I don’t regard that as sneaky, because the stuff is clearly visible. But it’s only one component.

    Of course, if you start them with veggies when they’re very very small, it’s easier to get them to like veggies. It also works well if they’re not completely overcooked, mushified, and stanky.

    You gotta start em on the veggies early. You gotta make em tasty. If you can grow a few in your yard that’ll help a little. Or let them pick out something that looks interesting at the store/market. I don’t think you have to hide the veggies. My kids eat all kinds of veg I never tried til the last year or two, because we have been teaching them to try new things their whole lives.

    My son told his principal his favorite vegetable is broccoli. My daughter eats raw bell peppers in her lunches at school on a regular basis. My kids love hummus and they’ll eat any number of different kinds of greens–cooked or raw. My kids are 6 years old.

    The biggest food issue I have with my kids is getting them to eat up leftovers–because their teachers have ingrained into their little brains that they have to get a variety of foods, and leftovers are the same thing over again. Fortunately for me, leftovers can often be incorporated into a new meal–another soup, a casserole, a saute with a new ingredient..

    I will say it’s hard to teach a kid to like a vegetable you won’t eat yourself. My sister-in-law and her son are proof of that, I think. Her son definitely avoids vegetables. My sister-in-law has a limited list of veg she likes, and she’s passed it on to her son–through habit, I think, more than genetics.


  • Just provide plenty of options, fresh and cooked, and be honest with your child about what they are eating.

  • Love the photo! Is that a chocolate, carrot, pesto smoothie??? 🙂 I do NOT believe in hiding veggies in my kids meals and being sneaky about it. I do make a lot of meals that include veggies mixed in to them (i.e. stir fried rice w/ veggies or marinara sauce w/ added carrots and peppers), but I always tell my kids what’s in their food. I find they may be more likely to eat something they normally wouldn’t when it is mixed in with their favorite foods. My son will tell you he doesn’t like onions, but I chop them up and put them in a lot of the foods that we eat (and he knows it) and he will eat them that way. I really think as parents that we need to encourage our kids to try new things (again and again), but we also need to be respectful of their likes and dislikes, and not “trick them” into eating things they don’t care for.

  • I am not sneaky about veggies either, but I do try to include them whenever I can. I have also learned that there is no reason to assume that they have to be hidden. I was recently feeding my 2-year-old mac and cheese with cauliflower in it and carefully combining each spoonful to have both pasta and veggie in it. She said, “No, mommy, just the broccoli!” because she only wanted the cauliflower. Good reminder to me that kids actually LIKE eating their veggies! 🙂

  • I personally don’t believe in it simply because I feel my job as a parent is to teach my kids how to be successful adults. Part of that means knowing how to eat right. So, if I’m sneaking healthy things into less-healthy things, I’m not really teaching them anything. Its a short term solution to keeping your kids relatively healthy, but it doesn’t solve the long-term problem of, “how do I make sure my kids say no to packed/processed junk and yes to fresh fruits and veggies”?

  • I don’t believe in hiding veggies. What does that teach kids? It neither teaches them how to be honest nor how to eat. I am always honest with my own kids about what’s in their food. I don’t make a big deal out of it, and then it’s not a big deal to them. We should be teaching kids HOW to eat through tasting, and cooking, and trying new foods.

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