Taste of Health Lara Richardson | 5 years ago

Your Hidden Healthy How To: Mix Nutritious with Delicious using Stealth Techniques

The good news: Most kids outgrow picky eating habits. The not-so-good news: It’s up to you to fulfill their nutrition needs until then. And that’s not always easy.

In fact, we all struggle to get our kids to eat healthier snacks and meals. But, time and repetition are our friends. “Sometimes, kids need to sample new flavors as many as 15 times before accepting them,” says Monica Gallant, MS, RDN, LDN, the clinical nutrition manager for multiple facilities connected with Carolinas HealthCare System Pineville. “So, be patient and don’t give up because the more new foods you put in front of picky eaters the better.” However, when your patience is fading, or your best bribe won’t work, it’s OK to fall back on a bit of healthy trickery. To help you, we’ve rounded up some stealth cooking methods that use hidden, but healthy ingredients in classic kids' favorites, so you can satisfy your picky eater’s nutrition needs on the down low. They’ll fill up on what appears to be their standard fare. You’ll smile, knowing they just downed a whole extra serving of vegetables without a fight. Who knows, maybe they’ll even thank you. Pizza: What goes great with pizza? Pumpkin! It may sound odd, but you can easily add extra fiber and cancer-fighting beta-carotene to your favorite sauce using unseasoned pumpkin puree. Shoot for one cup of puree for every ½ cup of pizza sauce. Pasta: Using pureed or shredded vegetables is quite possibly one of the oldest (and best) ways to sneak in extra veggies, vitamins and minerals into meal time. Marinara sauce, for instance, can camouflage well-blended zucchini and carrots. Burgers & Fries: Opt for low-fat beef, but feel free to try other lean meats, like ground chicken, turkey, buffalo and lamb. Want to be sneakier? Add finely chopped mushrooms to your burgers for more fiber. Fries are delicious – no doubt about it. So are sweet potato fries. Buy them frozen or make your own. Bake them or broil them, but don’t overdo it on the dipping sauce. Get Smooth: Whether you make one for breakfast or a snack, smoothies are hard to resist and they’re a great place to hide vegetables, such as spinach. Combine raw baby spinach, a banana, blueberries, low-fat Greek yogurt and orange juice, blend and enjoy. Nutrition Nugget: Want to get your kids to try new things? Try to enforce a “no-thank-you bite” policy, meaning they have to at least try new food being served. Start with small samples. Don’t give up. And by all means: Try new things! Looking for healthy snack ideas? Branch out from the classic Ants on a Log. Do you wish you had a community to inspire you and support the choices you make to improve your family’s nutrition habits? Now you do. Join the conversation, or start your own, using #TasteOfHealth