Good Food Blog
Battle of the broccoliPosted at 11:30AM, 22 September 2008 by Graeme Allister - Blogger
Getting kids to eat their greens used to be a matter of tears, tantrums and threats. Evening meals stretched ever-closer to bedtime as parents demanded that the reluctant child remain at the dinner table until their plate was empty. Now, it's a matter of compromise, deception and outright bribery.
Kate Moss, not a woman known for her maternal skills, has found a novel way to make daughter Lila eat her veg; she blackmails her . Unless Lila eats up, her mother won't give her any of her clothes when she turns 16. Though this is probably less effective if you've got a wardrobe of George at Asda rather than Giorgio Armani, it's good to know that being a model doesn't equal having a model child.
The government is trying a similar idea to get kids to eat better. The School Foods Trust, set up to make school meals healthier, is running competitions for children to win mp3 players and tickets to the premiere of High School Musical 3. It comes after a tie-in with the Disney/Pixar film Ratatouille last year to promote healthy eating.
The recipes are for child-friendly dishes such as brownies and chocolate pudding, but with hidden ingredients like spinach and avocado
Of course some children will resist the veg no matter what incentives are offered, which is where some good old-fashioned subterfuge comes in. Jessica Seinfeld (wife of comedian Jerry) has written a bestselling cookbook called Deceptively Delicious . The premise is simple: what kids don't know won't hurt them, and might even do them some good. The recipes are for child-friendly dishes such as brownies and chocolate pudding, but with hidden ingredients like spinach and avocado to make sure children are eating well.
If it sounds controversial, it is, but not for the reasons you might think. It isn't angry children rising up in protest that their favourite food has been besmirched with vitamins, but a fellow author who claims Seinfeld stole her idea. Missy Chase Lapine wrote The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals , which shares the same premise (and recipes) as Seinfeld's book. Still, American parents are delighted with Seinfeld. "The truth is, since using this book, my boys have (unwittingly) eaten more vegetables in the past week than they probably have in the last year", wrote one mom.
So, confession time. What tricks do you use to get your kids to eat their greens? Pretending those parsnips are chips? Hiding healthy ingredients? What about bribery? Does it work or does it just reinforce the notion that there's something "wrong" with vegetables?