Food Fraud!

This is a pet peeve of mine: the theory that it is a smart idea to get kids to eat vegetables by  “hiding”/”disguising” them. So you “sneak in” as the proponents like to say, a serving of vegetables into the mac and cheese or other dishes that kids love and they will eat it without objection. I always want to ask this question: what happens when the kid leaves for college or gets a job (assuming the economy improves!)? Will he/she gravitate to the salad bar at the cafeteria or buy a nice steamer with their first pay check? No, because they will not have learned to enjoy veggies and make them a part of their diet.

So,what do we do about the daily veggie war? I would remind you of the old rule of parenting: kids do what they see not what they are told. So if your kids see you enjoying vegetables at your meal they will follow as well. Also, kids will eat it if it is tasty. Vegetables cook fast and there are plenty of recipes out there to suit the needs of all cooks. Splashing on some olive oil, salt and pepper and putting a tray of broccoli heads in the oven  does not take much longer than spinning  it in the microwave but it tastes much better.

I wrote this after learning that Kraft is adding a portion of freeze dried cauliflower to its instant mac and cheese and marketing it as a “healthy” option. First, what nutritional value do you think the kids will get from freeze dried anything? Second, in the time it takes to reconstitute the mac and cheese from the box, you could roast up some cauliflower heads and get more taste and nutritional value. Third, it is up to us parents to decide what is healthy, do not rely on what the box says.

Instant mac and cheese is a great option for crazy days when we seem to be rushing from work to school to ballet to swimming without pausing to breathe, but pushing veggies is still something we need to do.

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One response to “Food Fraud!

  1. Great post, and suggestions. I agree, I’ve never been a fan of the idea of ‘disguising’ vegetables for kids (though I’m not a parent), because it reminds me of those mail order diet programs. You don’t actually learn what makes food healthy, or how to enjoy it, and that keeps the eater thinking it’s a chore, something to be disdained.

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