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My biggest gripe with her "approach" is that you're still not teaching your kids anything about healthy eating! Sure, you can sneak some butternut puree into their pancakes and know that they're getting some stealth vitamin A, but they still have no incentive to try peas and carrots. I don't think there's anything wrong with feeding your kids food that has veggies "hidden" in it (like zucchini brownies), but I wouldn't lie about it and I certainly wouldn't do it without ALSO presenting whole veggies AS VEGGIES for them to get used to. My kids are not great veggie eaters, but we're getting there, little by litte.


Also, remember, serving sizes for little stomachs. What worked for me was to require just one spoonful of the veggie of the day. Also, I read once that kids would never cry for fruit the way they'd cry for candy. Not true. My kids cry for strawberries and blueberries!


First of all, if someone gave me a brownie with freakin' spinach in it, I'd punch them right in the mouth! (Not that I condone violence at all...)

I agree with you on all points. My sister's kids are picky, picky, picky - until they help you make a meal...then, they'll clean their plates and ask for seconds. To me, it's all about getting children involved.

I grew up a strict meat and potatoes girl - until I started dating my 1/2 Korean boyfriend...he opened me up to a whole new world of tastes!


i totally agree with you! thanks for saying it!!!!! its kind of giving a really lame and backwards message to the kids.

Deborah Dowd

I am totally with you on this. Deceiving kids about anything sets the wrong example from my perspective!

izzy's mama

You KNOW I'm with you! I haven't gotten around to posting on this yet but you seemed to have covered all of the important points! When parents have a genuine love and appreciation for food, they pass that on to their children.


I worte a review of this book because I was asked to. (www.parentingourchildren.com)
I tried some of the recipes, and they were ok, but my kids eat veggies and LOVE fruit.
My question was, if you always hide food when do they learn to eat a vegetable or fruit?
Talk about spoiled!

Biggie @ Lunch in a Box

Excellent points here, I wholeheartedly agree with your approach and have done the same thing with my three-year-old. If you've seen my kid's lunches you know he eats the same things we eat, not just "kid food" (knock on wood that this continues!).


Wonderful post. Can't believe some parents have lost so much authority in the household that they have to resort to deception to feed them healthily!


I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. When I first saw the book being discussed on Oprah, I was thinking just how much I love fruit and veggies and this was not always the case, but just like I change so can our kids.

What changed me? My parents! When they started eating healthy, it stuck w/ me.

My daughter loves the texture and sweetness of a big HoneyCrisp apple. She loves how cute snap peas are when you open them and find small peas.

Maybe we just need to start looking at veggies and fruit in a different light, like you describe.

Thank you!


I have to agree with all of your comments. My 4 kids are now in their late teens and 20's. I remember back many years ago when they were small and having some mother tell me how she fixed three different meals at dinner to get her family to eat. That did it for me! No way. My kids had to try a bite or two of everything, but I never had them eat something they hated. This may be a stretch for some, but we always had dessert. If you didn't eat your dinner, you didn't get dessert. I can probably count on one hand the number of times someone didn't get dessert. They are all good eaters today, though I have one who would probably be happier if vegetables didn't exist.


My kids hate veggies & the only fruits they will eat are apples & grapes. So I 'hide' things in the food they will eat. We had meatloaf with pureed roasted eggplant last night & pizza with spinach pesto tonight. We'd had eggplant parmigiana 2 nights ago so it was no effort to puree the leftovers. They ate none of it in it's natural form but they gobbled up the meatloaf. So did DH & I. My kids were around while i was making the meatloaf & the pizza so I can hardly claim any great secrecy. The 5 year old even worked the blender for the pesto. But while they ate the meatloaf and the pizza, they refused the glazed carrots and picked the peppers off the pizza. I do not make special meals for my kids. I make one dinner, they can eat it, or not as they wish. I make a mix of things during the week that I know they like, that I know DH likes & that I like myself & try to include at least something in every meal that everyone will eat, even if it's just apple slices with the pork chops the boys refuse to taste but DH loves. I happen to like meatloaf that uses eggplant instead of breadcrumbs and I like spinach pesto. Why not make they food they will eat more nutritious? You work with what you are given. I don't think that anyone is advocating you hide broccoli in the brownies and say "Hey kids. I quit! I'll never serve another veggie again." But if you are going to serve meatloaf anyway, and you know odds are good they will eat it and not the salad or the vegetables, where is the harm in throwing some pureed parsnips into the meatloaf?


I saw that Oprah show, and Jessica says that she puts a helping of veggies on her kids plates.

Having said that, my mother used to try to sneak spinach into baked ziti, and I HATED it. To this day, I hate spinach, and hate that she tried to do that. Why not just say "I'm making spinach as the vegtable, so if you're not going to eat that, make yourself a different veggie"?


I am so glad that I stumbled onto your blog and this post. I remember seeing the show and thinking, "That is one sure way for your kids to not trust you when it comes to food."

I can say this from experience, despite the fact that I don't have kids (and when I do, don't plan to make different meals either). I love food, there were moments in time when I didn't like particular foods when I was a child, but I was allowed to have a choice. We always had so many varieties of food that it was easy to make those choices.

My husband is an extremely picky eater. He sniffs at every new food, questions what is in each meal and it drives me mad. The reason why? His mother used to "sneak" foods he didn't like into his meals and his brothers would laugh at the dinner table, and give it away. He's never been able to enjoy food really because of it. And it's really sad.

I was taught that there was such a joy and wonderment to food. The only thing that was ever required was to try something once before I decided I wouldn't like something. It's a good rule to go by, I think.


I like the ideas in the book more for my teenagers...all of my kids will eat anything.. I have 4 children ages 2 - 14....they eat fruit...any veggies...the little ones don't love lima beans though...anyway....I like something I can make..like say muffins with whole wheat and carrots and peanut butter and banana etc. for those times when they need something quick for breakfast that can be eaten on the bus or before a soccer game and also manages to cram as many food groups as possible into the snack...nothing wrong with that...my kids like to eat healthy and I sell it to them by listing all the ingredients and it's nutritional impact...peanut butter for protien and whole wheat for good carbs and carrots!!!yada yada.. I like the ideas...I don't think you should hide nutrition from kids....make them appreciate what it does for thier bodies


I think you should have a week with a picky eater and then decide if you want to try putting pureed/minced veggies and fruits into food. I have a daughter who is very picky and a son who will eat anything and it is a world of difference. I'm not serving up separate meals, but my daughter rarely eats dinner because of her pickiness. So, if I can put some veggies in the meatballs, I'm going to do it. How is giving your kids vitamins better than the real thing? The only thought I had on Jessica Seinfeld's book was - how is this new to any mom of a picky eater?

That said, I completely agree on the kids menu at restaurants. It drives me crazy that it is always some sort of crap food and teaching our kids that there is 'their' food and 'ours.'

Final comment - I have two kids that are total opposites living in the same house. It's not necessarily what you do but who they are. I was the same as my daughter and absolutely love food right now. We just have to be patient with our kids and not take it personally if they don't eat our veggies.

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