Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fess Up No. 4

I recently was talking to a friend about food tricks with kids. You know, Jessica Seinfeld but not that extreme and weird. In case you didn't know, I have opinions about everything and I have opinions about Jessica Seinfeld's trickery with food. Her book is great and all but you aren't TEACHING kids to like vegetables. I would rather teach my kids about vegetables than sneak it into everything they eat. Spinach brownies? Really? Stop pretending they are good. They just aren't. And all she makes is toddler food. I am not into chicken nuggets for dinner even if they are made with eggplant and kale, or whatever it is she puts in them.

I have a few tricks in my apron pocket that I use to get the goods into my kids bodies. I'll share a few and then you share a few. I am a little crazy like Jessica Seinfeld, but not that nuts. I do have a bit of food trickery I use so maybe I am being hypocritical. Oh well, let's begin.

1. Instead of buying Eggo waffles, make them. You can make a big batch of waffles, wrap them in plastic and freeze them, just like an Eggo waffle. When you are doing breakfast, put your own homemade waffle in the toaster and wah-lah! Breakfast! You can make the waffles whole grain and put all kinds of goodness in them, like flax seed and oat bran. You're kids still hate them? Put food coloring in the batter. Blue waffles are so much more fun, even if they are whole wheat.

2. From the get-go, lie to your kids. That really is the only way. Jack still thinks granola bars are candy bars. And don't any of you tell him otherwise.

3. For ice cream on the fly that is better for all, freeze yogurt. You can even put it into popsicle molds. I have also frozen chocolate-covered bananas. Click here for the info.

4. For little kids who haven't quite been around the block and don't know any better, dice up dried fruit and call them fruit snacks. It's fruit and a snack, so you aren't a liar. I have found that dried mangoes and dried apricots are big hits. For the lucky people who can go to Trader Joe's, dried mangoes are really cheap there.

5. Jack LOVES soda. Like he is asking me for my diet Coke as I am typing this. In the past I have tricked him with fruit juice and club soda. I can control how much fizz goes into it and what kind of fruit juice. I am such a freak about having control- all the time.

Those are the ones I can think of right now. Fess up. What are yours?


My crazy crazy life said...

My trick: I tell my kids "Eat Your Veggies Or You'll Die" like a charm!

Jen said...

Yogurt in an ice cream cone holds onto sprinkles better than ice cream. :)

Artichokes are furry! And fun!

Kathy said...

I agree with everything you said about sneaking in veggies - it does not teach your kids to like the veggies.

We have a one bite rule at our house, or if you prefer - a "polite bite". It took my son several years of choking down that one green bean but now he always has second helpings of green beans and sometimes thirds!!!

Come on now - who's the boss? We are the parent!!! If you're giving in now over the veggies - what will you give into later on? I'm very opinionated too especially when it comes to raising kids - you've got me riled up!!! ;) LOL!!!

Love your blog!!!

Mal Robin said...

Im Whit's sister (I know, lucky me!) and we had that same rule all growing up, we called it the "no thank you portion," it usually was a few bites worth but it taught us the same lesson. My mom also from very young made us big people food, none of that chicken nugget crap. Now, years later, there is not one veggie I don't like! Its hard to make a dish I hate, usually if its all creamy and fried, I don't care for it. If you ask me, thats the way to go!

Kevin said...

Naming veggies is great. My mom told me brussel sprouts were "Barbie Cabbage." I ate them, but still to this day I don't like them. I wish I did because they are "Barbie Cabbage."

You can try not letting your kids have veggies too. Say they are only for grown ups. All of a sudden they won't anything else. This does have to be done at an early age. There is no fooling a 4 year old.

What happened to conversations with a 3 year old. I miss them!

Jones Family said...

Ok, that last post was from me. Kevin was signed in, oops!

Cheryl Fowers said...

Whitney you are a Gourmet Goddess! I showed Mr. Fowers your website, he LOVES to cook too, and every time we plan dinner now he say's "let's go to Rookie Cookie." We have tried several of your recipes and have a ton on the docket that Mr. Fowers is gung-ho to make! Just wanted to let you know that we think your amazing and Mr. Fowers agrees that you sound like a really cool Mom!

karin said...

I have one son that used to eat almost anything but we had a little bit of struggle when he turned four but we just made him "try" it and then he usually ate it all. I have another son who would gag the one bite of veggies we would have him take but now asks for carrots and green beans and LOVES spinach (he still gags peas down but by the third bite he is fine).
I generalize food, like "eat your meat" the second son had issues with eating some meat just because of the name so I just called it "meat" and he was fine. We don't do "kid" food either, unless it is spicy and then they get a quesadilla or mac and cheese but that is pretty rare, they have learned that if food is "hot" to have a drink.

Sweet Pea Chef said...

I pretty much have the same list. My brain is mush today, so for some reason I can't think of other ones, though I do it all the time...

I guess one other one is my kids think juice is still just 50 juice and 50 water.

moseyalong said...

I can't sneak ANYTHING past my daughter. She likes all her food "separate" (I can't even mix the veggies in with pasta!) She knows she has to try a bite of everything - the "no thank you" bites as others have mentioned.

I'm finding that if I include her in the food shopping and prep (sometimes), it makes her more willing to try whatever we make. The Farmer's Market is a great tool - I get a coffee, she gets a fresh honey stick, and we wander around buying what appeals to us, then go home and cook it.

That said, a year ago (when she was 3 and 4) she would literally gag and tantrum if I tried to force anything other than soybeans and carrots down her gullet, so age definitely is a factor!

Love your blog - I think I followed you over here from cjane. I'll be back to visit and get ideas...

Kalli Ko said...


you are a genius.

and don't think i don't have your homemade baby food tutorial all bookmarked and ready to go for next month. sheesh.

Morgan said...

i love it.
ellie likes "bugs bunny carrots" and jonas thinks corn is candy:)

Morgan said...

why in the world did i not think to freeze yogurt. that's a great idea. genius you are.

candace said...

I have no kids, but I have tried a few things on my non-veggie eating husband. I put honey on cooked carrots right before serving instead of butter. It's less fattening and it tastes like candy!! Really, it's delicious.

Give LDS Gifts said...

I love your yogurt idea. I freeze my own waffles all the time, but since my waffles are just a little too big to fit into my toaster, I put them in the oven.

I set the oven for 350 and immediately put the frozen waffle straight on the rack. When the oven is done preheating to 350, it beeps and I know that my waffle is ready to go. It takes about 6 minutes, but I just keep my son busy with other things, getting ready, etc.

Thanks for the great blog!

beck said...

So I totally have that book and I love it! Just think of the food like a casserole. It has veggies in it they are just purreed. You don't have to lie to your kids just because she did. Anyways, I am being devil's advocate cause its fun but a couple of your ideas are the exact same ones as in the book. Thought that was funny and wanted to share. Sorry if it ruined your day.

meg said...

Too bad Seinfeld didn't actually come up with her own ideas.


You know, I got The Husband to try (and really like) Hummus with a no-thank-you portion. It doesn't only work on kids.

It gives me great pleasure to watch Nephew Jack eat stuff I won't even touch. Mangoes? Sick. Avocados? Nasty.

Go Jack.

Gina Rochelle said...

My friend loves that book but uses it more for her husband than her toddler.
My kids eat cold peas and carrots because we call them balls and squares and they rolla dn bounce them to their mouths. It's all in the name. Broccoli is little trees. My daughter calls soup and cornbread cake and ice cream. Ants on a log (raisins on pb on celery) are a hit.
When potty training my daughter I used frozen juice ice cubes on sticks instead of candy to bribe.
Here's some other picky eater ideas: