Recently, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study about the health benefits of hiding veggies. The verdict? Adding pureed veggies to dishes helped reduce calories consumed and increase nutrient intake. For those (adults and children) who don’t like veggies, this seems like a win-win, right?
While there are dietitians who say they disagree with hiding veggies, I am not one of them. Don’t get me wrong… I encourage adults to venture outside of their comfort vegetable zone and try exotic (or even just new) veggies and fruits. And, parents can (and very well should) introduce their children to new veggies as is, meaning without pureeing or grating into recipes. But if you (or your children) refuse to eat a delicious side of sauteed kale with roasted garlic and walnuts, why not add some pureed kale to your pasta sauce or soup?
When I was pregnant, I pictured feeding my son exotic purees and, later, bite-sized pieces of delicious and nutrient-rich vegetables and fruit. Ha… I was way off the mark! Sure, I offered him colorful fruit and veggie purees, but my son wanted nothing to do with them. Now a toddler, my son continues to launch broccoli, green beans and sweet potatoes off his tray and instead reach for cheese, bread or [sigh] anything processed.
In light of reading this article, I decided to “sneak” some veggies into an Israeli couscous dish. (Oh, and I should add that he liked Israeli couscous last time I made it.) I lovingly diced (and I’m talking TINY dice!) organic zucchini, squash, broccoli and mushrooms (along with some white beans), sauteed them in olive oil and a little peach juice, mixed it all in with the couscous and topped with diced peaches.
The bottom line…. Most of the time we know what we should be eating (or feeding our kids), we just have trouble doing it. So if sneaking some carrots, zucchini, mushrooms or broccoli into your casserole helps whittle your waist and up your nutrient intake, I say do it… while, of course, continuing to eat and/or offer delicious veggies in their non-pureed form.
Oh, and how did my “sneaky veggie” couscous go over with the toddler? Well, not so great… he ate a few bites, discovered the chopped white beans and quickly chucked the rest of his couscous onto the floor. My husband, however, declared it “Delicious!” and asked for seconds.
We’d love to hear from you. Do you “sneak” veggies or fruits into dishes, baked goods, etc.? What are some of your favorite ways to disguise them? Please share with us!