Conflicted over whether you should sneak pureed veggies into your child’s spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, or birthday cake? A recent study shows that kitchen stealth improves kids’ health, especially when it comes to picky eaters.
Last week, an American Journal for Clinical Nutrition study showed that hiding vegetables in preschool children’s food tricked them into consuming twice as many vegetables while consuming 11% fewer calories. Researchers didn’t just puree carrots into tomato sauce, either — they pureed more unpopular vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, squash, and cauliflower into familiar foods like tomato sauce, zucchini bread, and chicken casserole.
Not only did kids eat the same amount of each entree as usual, without reporting any taste difference, but they also continued to eat the same amount of veggie side dishes as usual.
Study co-author Barbara Rolls defended the sneaky method used by many parents to get their kids to eat more vegetables, saying that the ends justified the means.
“Some people argue that hiding vegetables in foods is deceptive and that doing so suggests that whole vegetables are not acceptable,” she said. “But I don’t agree. Parents modify recipes all the time. For example, it is well-accepted that applesauce can be used to replace oil in cake batter.”
Ready to dust off the blender now? Here are some great stealth-vegetable recipes to try with your family:
Chocolate Pancakes, Hidden-Vegetable Mealoaf, and more from “Recipes for Kids Who Hate Vegetables”
Ten Ways to Sneak Vegetables into Your Child’s Diet from the food network.
This Green Smoothie Does Not Taste Like Grass (a way to get your kid to eat kale!) from Snack Girl.
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