According to a research study published in April 2011 in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding pureed vegetables to dishes such as casserole or macaroni and cheese results in reduced caloric intake and increased nutritive value of meals.

But you may know that playing a “sneaky chief” with kids ‘meals may backfire, so it is best to play fair.

Kids are smart and they will find out the truth sooner or later.  And then they might not only continue rejecting veggies in their natural form but also refuse to eat the meals with the good stuff “hidden” in them.

To prevent this disaster scenario, follow these rules:

  1. Make sure your children know what they are eating. Do not try to use any “secret” ingredients in your recipes. Your little spies will figure it out and never trust you again, so the “safe” meatballs may turn into a rejected food if you try to sneak some spinach into them.
  2. Get them to help you prepare the food next time. This way, they will get an opportunity to see and explore the vegetable in their raw state, smell, touch and taste it before you turn it into a puree together.
  3. Ask them for new ideas and experiment together. Can we add blueberry puree to a brownie recipe? You bet! Carrots to tomato soup? Why not!
  4. Always, always serve vegetables and fruit with all meals, even with those that are “nutritionally enhanced” with super-purees. This will ensure the crucial exposure, a foundation for learning healthy eating habits for the rest of the life.

Sneak vegetables in your child's meals the smart way.

 Here is a description of 4 TYPES OF VEGETABLE AND BEAN SUPER PUREES and how they can be added to a variety of foods.

4 types of vegetable and bean super purees

  •  All purees can be made out of a single ingredient or a combination of ingredients of the same color.
  • All vegetable purees are prepared similarly: washed, peeled, cubed (if appropriate) and then steamed and blended into a puree with a couple of tablespoons of water.
  • You can also just grate raw veggies and incorporate them into the recipes before cooking. This will provide a little more texture.
  • Dry beans will have to be cooked in advance and then pureed. Canned beans can go into the blender or food processor straight after rinsing them under running water. If the mixture is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water when blending. Edamame can be just steamed; it does not need to be cooked for a long time.
Super-puree What is it made of? Where to add it?
1. White puree Cauliflower/Zucchini/White beans
  • Mac and cheese – substitute 1/3 to ½ of cheese sauce
  • Lasagna – substitute 1/3 of tomato sauce
  • Tomato or any other soup – to your taste
2. Green puree Spinach/Broccoli/Green beans/Edamame/Kale
  • Pasta tomato sauce – substitute 1/3
  • Lasagna – substitute 1/3 of tomato sauce
  • Chili  or any soup – to your taste
3. Brown puree Red kidney beans/ Mushrooms
  • Any ground meat recipe (meatloaf, meatballs, burgers) – substitute 1/3 to ½ of ground meat
  • Chili or any bean soup – to your taste
  • Pasta tomato sauce – substitute 1/3
  • Lasagna- substitute 1/3 of tomato sauce
4. Orange puree Carrots/Sweet potato/Butternut squash
  • Baked desserts such as chocolate cake, carrot cake, muffins – substitute half of the fat
  • Mac and cheese – substitute 1/3 to ½ of cheese sauce
  • Pasta tomato sauce – substitute 1/3
  • Lasagna – substitute 1/3 of tomato sauce

References:

 

Spill MK, Birch LL, Roe LS, Rolls BJ. Hiding vegetables to reduce energy density: an effective strategy to increase children’s vegetable intake and reduce energy intake. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;94(3):735-41. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

 

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