Missy Chase Lapine’s The Speedy Sneaky Chef released this morning full of ideas on how to sneak more fruit and vegetables into family dishes to increase the nutritional quality of their meals. We have to ask though – is sneaking in the good-for-you foods sending the right message to your kids about healthy eating?
In her 2007 book The Sneaky Chef, Lapine inspired parents to “sneak” fruit and vegetables into their children’s meals by adding fruit or vegetable purees into unexpected dishes, like spinach puree to a pan of brownies. Her latest book offers readers 75 all-new healthy recipes that they can prepare, relying on convenience foods like jarred tomato sauce, boxed macaroni and cheese and prepared pancake mixes.
While adding fruits and vegetables to packaged foods will inarguably up their nutritional ante, there are pros and cons to relying on bags, boxes and jars to get dinner on the table. Though Lapine recommends only the highest quality products, even some natural and organic options, the reality of today’s economic times is that many families will opt for lower-priced packaged foods, many of which contain artificial dyes, high-fructose corn syrup and other highly processed ingredients with little to no nutritional value..
Adding “hidden” vegetables in meals has been a popular tactic for parents in getting their kids to eat the food they often turn up their noses to. Cookbooks like Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook “Deceptively Delicious” and Missy Chase Lapine’s “The Sneaky Chef” espoused the benefits of doing so.
Now, researchers are suggesting that adults can stand to benefit from hiding vegetables as well. According to researchers at Pennsylvania State University, if you hide veggies by pureeing them and adding them to your entrees, it reduces the number of calories in the meal without sacrificing texture or taste.
An added benefit found in the study was that participants got more than double their fiber intake of veggies without even knowing it. You see, the participants in the study were unaware of what was being added to the foods they were eating. The cooks were adding vegetables that had been steamed and then pureed. (more…)