5 Reasons to Fight Childhood Obesity by Hiding Fruits and Vegetables in Their Comfort Food

by Martha Rather on April 3, 2009 · 5 comments

The growing epidemic of childhood obesity in America is shocking. It is discussed on nightly news, talk shows, and is extremely evident everywhere you go. We all care deeply about our children, but what can we do to stop this trend?

I have noticed that the diet of many obese children includes mostly junk food with very few fresh vegetables or fresh fruit. These children are starving for nutrition at the same time that they are over-eating.

How can this be?

It is because the food they are eating has few vitamins or minerals, little fiber, and is said to contain mostly “empty calories.” “Empty calories” means calories with no nutrition to build energy in the cells – just the compulsion to store fat. In the meantime, the child feels hungry all the time and is lethargic.

Here are 5 reasons to help fight childhood obesity through education about how to give them a more nutritious diet by hiding fruits and vegetable in their everyday food.

Warning: This involves cooking at home and not purchasing restaurant food continually. However, with a little forethought, you will be surprised how much time and money you will save.

Reason 1: Fresh fruits and vegetables will give the child necessary nutrients that their bodies are craving. These nutrients help reduce brain fog as well as give their bodies energy to be more active. They provide the building blocks of a strong healthy body.

Reason 2: The higher fiber content of whole grains and whole fruits and vegetables gives a feeling of fullness that can bring a sense of satisfaction – previously unknown. The higher fiber content also helps ease elimination problems.

Reason 3: It has been shown that with education, children will begin to prefer the more nutritious food. They will ask for it and prefer to eat your home cooking. Given enough time for their taste buds to adjust, the ultimate question will be “Why does restaurant food taste so weird?”

Reason 4: This new way of eating will help grow habits that last for a lifetime. This can change the course of their health and their entire lives.

Reason 5: The main reason we are hiding fruits and vegetables in their junk food is that they will actually eat it. Example: a child might not want to eat a carrot, but will eat a cookie loaded with carrots and not know the difference. Eventually their taste buds will prefer this healthier alternative.

Bonus Tip: Why not get your child (male or female) involved in cooking? Learning how to cook is a skill that will be used to improve their whole lives. Some of my fondest memories of my Mother are the times I spent helping her cook in the kitchen. This kind of family bonding can feed the hunger that food does not touch.

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: With 5 children, I can certainly relate to the issues some kids have eating vegetables.

While none of our children would be considered “obese,” we still want them to eat healthy and nutritious foods.

We don’t seem to have many problems getting the girls to eat…they’ll both eat almost anything. But the boys…they’re the worst!!! They frequently have what we call “hunger meltdowns” because they refuse to eat what we make.

We do what we can, but sometimes it’s so difficult. My wife, Melanie, often cooks meals using recipes from Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. Her book was a big hit on Oprah! I wouldn’t consider all of the recipes to be “healthy” (she uses too many processed foods), but she gives you some good ideas on how to sneak fruits and vegetables into your meals. Sometimes it works and the kids eat, and sometimes it doesn’t.

I’m really looking forward to trying out the recipes in Martha’s book. If you have a favorite recipe or tip for getting your kids to eat (or at least try) healthier foods, please do me a HUGE favor and leave a Comment. I’d love to hear your ideas!]

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ronnie April 3, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Dipping apples in peanut butter was always an easy to get my kids to eat fruit. Peanut butter and celery or pb and banana sandwich …
I will check out the web site. Thanks for the healthy minute.

2 Michele April 4, 2009 at 1:04 pm

This is so important now a days. Kids are sitting inside with the video games instead playing outside like we use to. So on top of eating poorly they are getting no exercise. I think this is a fantastic idea, putting veggies and fruits into yummy foods. I have no kids but this will work out fantastic for my boyfriend : )

3 Melanie April 4, 2009 at 3:25 pm

I just made these cookies and WOW! I did use the agave nectar instead of sugar and I used lemon extract instead of vanilla extract. It was like eating my grandmothers lemon bars that are so bad for you, but so good. I’m so pleased with these cookies. Even my 4 year old who hates to try anything new loves them!

4 Carrie April 5, 2009 at 4:58 am

I have The ‘Deceptivley Delicious’ book..lots of good ideas !..I also think that alot of kids, ( including my son !) Do not like the ‘look’ of , say …a mushroom , or a carrot in their food…so I sometimes make a puree in the blender of potatoes, and other veggies that he wouldnt normally eat freely, and it works as a good soup thickener, or soup base. My grandma once told me ” Your grandpa says he doesnt like mushrooms, but he DOESNT know he has been eating them for 40 years ! ” She blended them in his foods ! Great article !

5 Martha Rather April 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Hi Everyone,

I am so pleased that you liked my recipe. I really think that eating more vegetables is one of the keys to better health. If a person has to hide them in cookies or cakes in order to eat them, why not? I really like them that way myself. The “advanced” holistic cookie recipe has pureed organic carrots in it and the kids love that cookie just as much. You can’t even see the carrots.

I just want to remind everyone that this is just one recipe in a whole e-cookbook – lots of great, tasty ideas there. Check it out at http://www.TheHolisticCookie.com

Thanks again,
Martha Rather

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