I’m a proud owner of Deceptively Delicious. I often chop up vegetables into bits and pieces, so that they aren’t recognizable to my family. I am thrilled when my kids (and my husband) have no clue about the mass amounts of vegetables I’ve snuck into their dinner, and they tell me how GOOD it tastes. The best is when I’ve put fish into a dish, and my husband (who claims to dislike the stuff) eats it and doesn’t know there’s fish in it, until I spill the beans.
Yeah, I’m sneaky.
Some would call me dishonest. Why won’t I slice up the veggies and “make” my kids eat what’s good for them? Others might say I’m only making the situation worse.
I don’t think so.
You see, both my boys started out in life with no aversions to food. I can’t say the same for my husband, although he’s really coming around. He thought sushi was disgusting before he met me. The boys were given a wide palette of foods, and most were accepted with open arms. They weren’t picky eaters, and considered vegetables as a delicious side dish to whatever else I’d prepared. Then they got out of that phase. My 8-year old recently told me, “Mom, there’s no good food in the house”. He was staring into a fridge abyss of vegetables and fruit, and the pantry boasted whole wheat. After going to school five days a week, he has witnessed what others bring for lunch. He’s told me about the mini-cookies, candy, bags of potato chips, and puddings galore. I allow him to eat those things, but not on a daily basis, and he doesn’t understand why. He doesn’t care when I tell him that eating healthy is good for his body, his mind, and keeps him from getting sick. That won’t register with an 8-year old, you know?
Mealtime is a constant battle. “How many bites before I’m done, Mom?” He’s almost always referring to the salad, and if it’s not the salad, it’s cut up veggies. I’ll even supply the ranch, but he doesn’t want it. When I tell him a specified number of bites, he’ll make them small bites. Really small bites. My 3-year old has picked up on this habit. Gone are the days of eating broccoli. That used to be his favorite veggie. He won’t even touch it now, not if big brother won’t. I’ll slice up carrots, and cucumbers. Bell peppers of various colors, and it won’t matter.
I had to think outside the box. I bought the Deceptively Delicious book in an attempt to get some healthy foods into my boys’ bodies. And my husband’s, although he’s a fantastic salad eater. He loves the stuff. They all love the Meatball Soup recipe the most. I’ve also taken to crock pot meals, where I can chop up the veggies using my little chopper, and it makes it more bearable for the kids. They rarely notice what’s in the crock pot, other than the meat, and the flavors.
My latest venture is juice-related. My husband purchased a Breville for me, and I love it! We all love it! My kids are fascinated with juicing! Just this morning, my little guy asked that I juice something up. Part of the fun is including the kids, from step 1. I let them choose the fruits, and we work on what vegetables they want. They have noticed how even kale can be juiced undetected, so that always goes into our juice. Along with carrots. Cucumbers. Celery. They see it going in! There’s no anguish or squirming from them, or from me! After I wash the produce and chop it up, that’s the best part. Placing the produce into the juicer. Afterwards, they help me by scooping out the top layer of pulp, and then we stir the juice up, and my boys like adding ice. The little guy will sit at the table, spoon in hand, and “eat” the juice and ice mixture.
Depending on the day, mealtimes are still a battle. They’re kids, and they’d love it if we switched to an all candy and cake diet. There’s only so much I can do. I’m no miracle worker. I’m just a mom trying to feed her kids healthy foods, whether that’s juiced, puree, or chopped up into tiny indistinguishable bits. Whatever it takes.