Many parents have figured out ways to get kids to eat healthy foods, and one common way is trickery. I won’t call it complete deceit; the meal’s healthy food is nearly always evident, just…let’s call it… unobtrusively disguised. Yes, I confess, this parent regularly tricks her children into eating healthy meat and vegetables by hiding them. The butternut squash and apple bake I described in the previous post is a good example. The healthy squash was sandwiched between a layer of apples, and a cornflake-sugar-pecan topping. Both topping and apples blended in with the squash’s vibrant orange making it less noticeable. A child might think, “Hey, if I like what’s on top and what’s on the bottom, and everything looks more or less the same, then I might like what’s in the middle.” True, savvy kids aren’t so easily fooled. They use counter-tactics such as picking and poking at their food to discover and dislodge offensive vegetables from their concealment, but parents usually get a bite or two of healthy vegetable into their children before the vegetable’s revealed.  

One easy vegetable topping which I grew up with is a mix of fine bread-crumbs toasted in butter and poured over zucchini or cauliflower. A great meatloaf disguiser is cranberry topping. My kids actually ask for this one! A friend long ago recommended burying asparagus beneath Velveeta…but in Wisconsin we can do better. My friend has a point though, cheese is the ultimate disguiser of healthy meat and vegetables. Click on “Continue reading…” for some cheesy ideas.

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