There is a big hoo-ha going on in bloggerland about Jessica Seinfeld’s new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. Two issues: first, her book very strongly resembles a cookbook which came out a while back called The Sneaky Chef, by Missy Chase Lapine. Second, apparently a lot of moms feel that hiding veggies in food is not teaching your children to eat their veggies.
And Parent Bloggers Network wants to know how this resonates for me.
Regarding the first issue: I have nothing much to say other than I am not surprised.
Regarding the second issue? First some background on my child: Nik ate everything we put in front of him until he was about 15 months old. Then his taste buds decided to go on a permanent sabbatical, and he refused everything except cookies (no nuts), waffles, pancakes, french toast, buttered toast, pizza (without a lot of junk on it), chicken nuggets (including the restaurant versions), orange chicken, Trader Joe’s breaded tilapia (mmm!), cod sticks, grilled cheese sandwiches, and garlic bread. If it is breaded, he will definitely try it…and then spit it out if the insides are too mushy or taste different. But he loves his carbs!
No veggies, and no fruit at all. So I would make smoothies and throw in yogurt, bananas, berries, flaxseed, protein powder, juice. And then after a summer of that, he turned his nose up at smoothies.
All of this combined with the fact that he was not very verbal made for a real fun mealtime routine. I always present veggies to him, but then I have to deal with seeing them thrown on the floor or on the table. Now he tries to pass them off to his sister.
I checked out websites, books, theories, philosophies, any way to get something of nutritious value into my son. For the past year I have spent what seems like a second mortgage on pediasure (a supplementary drink). He gets one bottle every night, and sometimes one during the day.
My son was diagnosed 8 months ago with PDD-NOS, an autism spectrum disorder. Apparently this level of pickiness is one of the traits of children on the spectrum. His ABA tutors have that as one of his goals, but that is down the road, and I am not looking forward to those weeks of hell. [This is not an excuse, believe me, it is just a fact.]
My chief concern is that Nik get the nutrition from the veggies. As one of his therapists told me, it is my responsibility to put nutritious food in front of him, and it is his responsibility to eat it.
So I bought The Sneaky Chef. And I loved the ease of the recipes. I made the mac and cheese with hidden cauliflower, the shredded zuchinni in chocolate cake, the pureed carrots in tomato sauce (which then gets used as the sauce for pizzas.) I look forward to trying the chicken nuggets and the cookies. I have no guilt whatsoever about this. He is not going to sit in therapy for years because I hid his veggies and fruit!
[By the way, both his dad and I were extremely picky eaters as children. I remember subsisting on rice and yogurt, and going for 3 weeks eating only jam sandwiches. Nik’s grandma is quick to remind me that his dad was just as picky.]