Understand the Pros and Cons of Hiding Vegetables
Annika Crossley, RDN, CD
Many parents have concerns when their picky eater isn’t getting many veggies in their diet. Vegetables are packed with lots of different vitamins, minerals, and fiber – so these concerns are valid! You may try to make sure your child gets more veggies in by hiding them in other foods like sauces, smoothies, pasta, rice, and more. However, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons of hiding veggies:
- Your child eats more veggies, and in turn get more of those wonderful nutrients that they need.
- You can worry less about their nutrition and what they are eating.
- Meal times may go a little more peacefully and your child might be happier with what they see on their plate.
- Your child is not learning that veggies are a normal and important part of meals, which can lead to poor eating habits later in life.
- You and your child are less aware of their developing tastes, and your child may continue to refuse recognizable veggies that they have actually been enjoying in a form they don’t recognize.
- If a child discovers that you’ve been sneaking veggies, it can break trust and reaffirm the idea that veggies are a “bad” food.
So, how would a Foublie coach recommend approaching this situation? If your child claims to not like eating vegetables, try offering them both ways! Make veggies part of every meal and snack – both hidden and recognizable. For example, zucchini bread for breakfast (hidden), and roasted zucchinis during dinner (recognizable). Talk to one of our coaches for ideas on how to do this! We can personalize it to your situation.
For the immediate future, try not to worry about nutritional deficiencies or pushing your child to eat more veggies if you are following our recommended strategies (See: Division of Responsibility). In the long run, with some changes, your child will become comfortable with seeing and eating veggies on a daily basis. It’s hard but possible!