Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Confession Time

All right. I admit it! I can't hide it any longer.

My kids are picky eaters.

There...I said it.

It's true! Oh, they don't demand peanut butter and jelly every night of the week or require their sandwiches cut into specific shapes (although they used to) or even refuse to touch anything green! But they have preferences when it comes to food and they make those known in quiet, brooding ways.

I used to say they weren't really picky, they were just purists when it came to food. They will eat potatoes but not gravy, pasta... with no sauce please and even salad, hold the dressing. The Professor's favorite meal out is a kid's rib basket sans BBQ sauce. You might think that's a punishable offense in Texas, but it isn't.

They had always been good about eating their vegetables provided I didn't try to do something insane like mix them with chicken and bake them in a light flaky crust. (I know that technically, eating plain vegetables and lean meats, mostly raw without any heavy cream sauces is actually very healthy, but it sure makes for boring, uncreative menus for this chief cook and bottle washer!) And I could usually force convince them to try new foods with minimal bribery incentives. Until one of them who shall remain nameless to protect her self esteem decided that "eat your vegetables" meant lick them and hide them under the bread crusts. This quiet disobedience came at its own price when the guilty party had some "digestive issues" that resulted in a trip to the pediatrician.

So what's a Mom to do? I want them to eat healthy. I want them to make healthy food choices. But I also just want to get those vegetables down their throats so that I can check it off the All-Good-Moms-Do-This-List in my brain.

Wash behind their ears? Check.

Change their underwear? Check.

Eat their veggies? Check

So... I hide the veggies. Mostly just the ones they consider odd.

But they seem to like them hidden. Should I feel bad about that? Probably. Do I think that Zucchini Bread is a perfect substitute for the vitamins and fiber of a crisp, crunchy zucchini? No. But that will have to be OK for now.

Here are some of the ways I bury the veggies and please let me know if you have anymore:

  • Zucchini can be hidden in any sort of quick bread. I have two different recipes. One recipe has poppy seeds but it is vaguely reminiscent of corn bread and not as sweet as the Chocolate Zucchini bread my kids love! Does the vegetable even count if it is surrounded by chocolate? Never mind...I don't want to know.
  • I have a bran muffin recipe that calls for raisins or prunes. I have re-hydrated them with hot water and pureed them just like in this recipe for Orange Bran Muffins. I know prunes and raisins aren't veggies, but they are good for the digestion.
  • Sweet potatoes are great in a muffin like this one.
  • It wasn't until I found a recipe like the one above that I even thought to do the same to carrot muffins. Instead of shredding the carrots like most recipes call for, I cook them and mash them. Actually, carrots are the one unanimous vegetable favorite around here and they prefer them raw, but Husband and I love carrot bread, muffins, cake, etc... In my children's eyes cooking a carrot is like dipping it in Castor oil first.
  • A personal favorite around here is butternut squash. Oh, they just eat it up like crazy.... when I mix it with mashed potatoes, that is. I substitute butternut squash for half of the potatoes that you would use to make you favorite mashed potato recipe or check out this one instead.
Seriously, if you have any other suggestions feel free to post them here or if your kids are like mine...feel free to rant. My kids would appreciate it (and so would I)!


  1. Graet ideas!
    Shredded cooked carrots, yellow squash or zucchini can be hidden in spaghetti sauce pretty well, too. Especially if you also add meat to the sauce to add disguise the texture.

  2. Part of my problem is that they don't like sauces. I have two that like a little bit of red sauce on their pasta and two who eat it with just butter and cheese. None of them like white sauces or gravies of any kind. Nobody likes salad dressing.

    I have thought about sneaking them into a homemade pizza sauce, but
    haven't tried it yet.

    I don't have to worry about The Professor because he will eat just about any vegetable raw except for brocolli which he likes steamed. However, he is the most resistant to change. He would love it if I came up with a two week menu that repeated over and over, but I get bored with that. Not to mention the fact that Husband and I like to try new things, but who wants to spend time cooking TWO meals for dinner.

    The girls will try new things without too much complaining. One of them usually doesn't like it and the other one is mostly easygoing. The baby is still 2 so all bets are off for his food preferences--he is one of the ones that likes red sauce though.

    I hate admitting it because I am afraid that some people will think I just cater to my children's likes and dislikes and if I really pushed the issue (ex...this is what I made for dinner so eat it or go to bed hungry) they wouldn't be picky. I am not spoiling them. They always have to try something before they can refuse it but I do allow them to have their own opinions and preferences. I also make them try things over and over to see if their palates have changed. The Professor really doesn't like any kind of bean, but he has to "re-try" them ever couple of months.

    Sorry for the rant!

  3. I tried this sweet potatoe souffle two weeks ago--it not really a souffle, more a casserole. But, it's like dessert for a side dish. It went great with roast turkey. My kids even ate it fro breakfast the next day!

  4. Oh, Barbara, thank you for reminding me about that option. I have a Sweet Potato Puff recipe that they love that I don't make often enough because of all the steps involved. I will try the souffle (even though secretly that word terrifies me) especially if you say it more casserole-like.

  5. Matilda, Did I already ask you if I can post a link on my blog to yours? I can't remember if I asked (I'm losing it!).
    Sorry to use the comment box--I couldn't find your e-mail address on your page.

  6. I asked my younger boys what makes them not picky - they said because they like food. My suggestion would be to take them to the market with you, let them pick something out, and go home and figure out what to do with it. We have had some interesting dinners this way. Especially when they all pick out something 'wierd'. Have fun with food.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!