2

votes

Why do parents try to "hide" the health aspect of food when serving children things like vegetables?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 05, 2012 at 1:01 AM

I saw a post by a parent (unrelated to this site) who is eating paleo. She used cauliflower to sub for another ingredient in a meat pie. She was excited that her children liked the pie and said that they said it was the best they've had...and her spouse enjoyed it as well. She said that she didn't want to tell them about the substitute.

I am wondering what parents here do...

I'm trying to be open-minded because I'm not a parent. I'm not judging, but I just never understood why parents try to "hide" the health aspects of food. I see commercials on TV with parents not telling their kids that their favorite snack contains a serving of vegetables (Chefboyardee, but that's besides the point). My friend also hides vegetables in her children's pasta sauce and she told me not to tell them it had pureed veggies in it or they wouldn't eat it because her kids only wanted "plain with cheese"...even though her kids enjoyed her version with vegetables. So basically, they think that they are getting away with not having to get their carrots and onions (and whatever else she threw in).

I'm just wondering why it wouldn't be healthy to be honest about the ingredients so that children can understand that healthy food can taste great instead of tricking them. I mean one day they will be old enough to make their own food choices and it would probably be beneficial to have grown up knowing that they ate vegetables and loved it.

I can see how it might be an issue if the child is underweight and extremely picky because of a sensory disorder that makes new textures and foods difficult because of anxiety about anything new. But for healthy children who express liking a food...why not tell them what's really in it?

19acef0aed67ef8dc1118d8e74edb349

(2954)

on June 19, 2012
at 11:22 AM

In a rural town in Portugal I never heard children being scared of healthy food. Even at school we got delicious home made lunch with lots and lots of vegetables. The only thing I wouldn't eat is beef, because my mom didn't know how to cook it! It was always overcooked and I'd chew and chew and chew and it was midnight and the steak is still not ready to swallow! It was the only thing I would cry at, no matter how much I chewed it would never go away. I suspect I'll get down votes for this, but I suspect kids are fussy today because 1: too much junk 2: peole can't cook delicious food anymore!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:22 AM

Thanks for the comment, Jenny. I definitely forgot that there are different levels of "lying." I don't think your mom was lying at all!I'm glad she didn't tell you that your smoothie was just like a regular milkshake that other kids drink. I think it's great that your mom made your healthy food sound so spectacular with magical powers. That's pretty cool.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:15 AM

My mom used to call every kind of soup "pirate soup" and we would get so excited. She also called smoothies "monster juice". Tried that on my friend's 3 yr old when we were living together, worked like a charm! Pirate soup, noodle soup..whatever works!

5fbdb4d1266cfbd9dd36b4c219bbdb96

(749)

on April 05, 2012
at 01:48 AM

I absolutely agree with that. At a certain point, they definitely need to be taught to make good decisions!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 05, 2012
at 01:21 AM

Thanks, that definitely makes sense. I actually used to be a preschool teacher and children can be incredibly picky. Of course, I only spent a minimal amount of time with them during lunch and snacks. I'm sure it can be quite the battle at home. You should like you're making delicious and appealing meals! I love spaghetti squash. I think age is definitely a factor though. Two is an age when it's normal for ALL kids to be picky because the introduction of new foods takes about 7 tries before they feel okay with it. But if the child is say, in middle school, I think I would feel differently.

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4 Answers

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6
5fbdb4d1266cfbd9dd36b4c219bbdb96

on April 05, 2012
at 01:14 AM

Preparenting, I would have agreed with you...I vowed to never lie to my children, that he/she/they were only going to eat all natural organic foods, and that we were going to raise them valuing health and wellbeing...

Actual parenting, I consider myself lucky if I can get her to eat on a daily basis. I will lie, cheat, and steal if I had to on some days to even get food into her, let alone the best and most healthy food. Kids are strong willed and they hear things, or they make decisions without any basis of understanding. They may decide they hate vegetables because their friends hate vegetables, or because they don't like the way they look, or the color. Sometimes you have to choose your battles, because if you push too hard, you will never be able to get them to try anything.

The weirdest part is that they change their mind too...they could love tomatoes one day, and the next day hate them. Sometimes, you make decisions to just try to do what's best for them.

Today, my two year old ate an entire plate of spaghetti squash calling it noodle soup...I did not correct, and going forward, it will be called noodle soup. :)

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 05, 2012
at 01:21 AM

Thanks, that definitely makes sense. I actually used to be a preschool teacher and children can be incredibly picky. Of course, I only spent a minimal amount of time with them during lunch and snacks. I'm sure it can be quite the battle at home. You should like you're making delicious and appealing meals! I love spaghetti squash. I think age is definitely a factor though. Two is an age when it's normal for ALL kids to be picky because the introduction of new foods takes about 7 tries before they feel okay with it. But if the child is say, in middle school, I think I would feel differently.

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:22 AM

Thanks for the comment, Jenny. I definitely forgot that there are different levels of "lying." I don't think your mom was lying at all!I'm glad she didn't tell you that your smoothie was just like a regular milkshake that other kids drink. I think it's great that your mom made your healthy food sound so spectacular with magical powers. That's pretty cool.

5fbdb4d1266cfbd9dd36b4c219bbdb96

(749)

on April 05, 2012
at 01:48 AM

I absolutely agree with that. At a certain point, they definitely need to be taught to make good decisions!

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on April 05, 2012
at 02:15 AM

My mom used to call every kind of soup "pirate soup" and we would get so excited. She also called smoothies "monster juice". Tried that on my friend's 3 yr old when we were living together, worked like a charm! Pirate soup, noodle soup..whatever works!

0
Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

on September 19, 2012
at 02:21 AM

I hide veggies in all sorts of things. When I do though, I try to also put some on the plate as it is. I'll hide zucchini in meatballs and then put some sauteed zucchini on the plate too. I want them to eat the veggies for the nutrients but also see them in real form so they are exposed to them. Hopefully one of these days they will decide they like them.

I agree with the above who said kids like something one day and not another. My 4 year old was eating cherry tomatoes like they were candy a week ago, now she won't touch them.

0
06fa9a9944e092eff72f07d8b66e4194

on September 19, 2012
at 02:13 AM

I agree with parents who hide veggies for kids who swears they hate something. My son for example don't eat spinach and if he knows it is in it he wont even try the dish. So I hide the spinach and he loves it ! The difference is ask him after he is done eating, was that good? Then I say good because you just ate spinach and walk away leaving him to think about it.From this my son is slowly warming to vegetables.

0
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on April 05, 2012
at 01:58 AM

I also notice that even with my 15 year old, if he knows that I've made something he loves but made it "healthy" he will be "looking" to hate it. He loves rice, if I make a dish and tell him "Oh Sean, I made cauliflower rice and it tastes fab!" He knows it's not the rice he loves and he's on high alert for it to actually taste like crap which means if he knows I've made something "healthier" it'll be bad even before giving it a chance.

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