3 Mistakes to Avoid While Fighting Childhood Obesity by Hiding Fruits and Vegetables in Comfort Food

by Martha Rather on May 2, 2009 · 2 comments

By Martha Rather


The situation confronting all Americans concerning childhood obesity and the future of our children has gotten quite severe. In fact it is so severe that many cookbooks have been published that recommend hiding fruits and vegetables in your children’s food. We will do anything to get them to eat better nutrition.


Fruits and vegetables are the building blocks of a healthy body. Without them we feel like we are starving and cannot eat enough to compensate for the lack of those nutrients. When we continue to eat foods that contain only “empty calories”, we end up storing all those calories, building fat, and feel hungry with depleted energy.


In our quest to feed our children better, it is easy to make mistakes. Here are 3 of the biggest stumbling blocks to our success.


Mistake 1 – The feeling that hiding fruits and vegetables from your children is an Ethical issue.


It is not. It is the parent’s responsibility to feed their children healthy food to build strong bodies. While there are issues of time management and convenience foods, education about good nutrition is never an ethical one.


Consider age appropriate behavior. Young children will probably not notice. Older children can be invited to learn to cook and help develop family favorite recipes. As Mom learns new cooking habits herself, this could be a shared activity. Most people are more hungry for attention and shared activity than they are for food.


Mistake 2 – Have you noticed that your child seems to really hate certain foods?


Have you considered that there could be a food allergy present? I know that when I was growing up, I thought potatoes were the worst tasting things in the world. I refused to eat them.


Later as an adult, doing research, I discovered that there was a rare allergy to potatoes that existed. People that had this allergy did not suffer from it, because the first symptom was this terrible taste. Lucky me.


However there are many other kinds of food allergies. It is worth looking into for the health of your child.  


Mistake 3 – Do you think that your child does not notice if you eat your vegetables?

Does it matter if the parent is eating his or her vegetables? The answer is a huge loud “Yes.”


Children mimic their parents. Children need to see their parents setting the example of eating, and most importantly – enjoying – a healthy diet. You might feel the need to hide some fruits and vegetables in your adult comfort food as well. Adults also have obesity issues and hunger issues.


Bonus Mistake – It would be a huge mistake to minimize the importance of exercise in a well rounded healthy living program.


Consider choosing a family activity that has the entire family moving together. It could be walking or it could be dancing around the kitchen while the holistic cookies are baking. Do whatever works.


About the Author: Martha Rather, the co-owner of Mother Nature and Son restaurant, in Albuquerque, NM, has been researching how to improve the nutritional quality of cookies and cakes for 35 years and counting.  Her new e-cookbook is entitled The Holistic Cookie — Enjoy Nutritious Time-tested Recipes, and also includes recipes for casseroles and other comfort food.  Click here to visit Martha’s website and get a FREE copy of her famous Chocolate Chip Holistic Cookie Recipe.


[Editor’s Comments:  My wife is constantly hiding fruits and vegetables in the meals she prepares.  She is also careful to make sure she gives each child a small serving of the veggies “on the side” whether they like it or not. 

Additionally, we always make sure WE are both eating the vegetables with our kids so we set a good example.   

We don’t seem to have much trouble with the girls…they’ll both eat just about anything.  But the boys….ugh!  We’ve given up trying to “force” them to clean their plates, veggies and all, because sometimes you just have to pick your battles.  It was becoming such a negative experience to try different foods, that we just stopped being so pushy about it. 

We’re at the point now where if they eat it, GREAT!  If not…well at least we tried. 

Do you have any good suggestions or experiences you want to share?  If so, just leave us a comment.  We’d love to hear about them!]

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 How I Lost Thirty Pounds in Thirty Days May 3, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll certainly be subscribing to your blog.

2 Melanie May 4, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I let my son help me make the dishes that I put the pureed fruits or vegetables in. He is only 4 so he thinks they are cool colors that we make the food. He loves yogurt too, so what I will do is get the fruit out that is in the yogurt and line them up so he sees what he is eating and he is more willing to try that fruit.

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