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“Hiding” Veggies: Is it Good or Bad?

There seems to be some debate on whether or not moms should “sneak” veggies into their kids’ food.  Some moms are big fans of the practice and there are even a few cookbooks out there with recipes designed around this, while other moms are more traditional and believe children should be taught to eat their vegetables …period.

So, what’s the best method?  My own, personal opinion is as long as you’re having success in getting your kids to eat their veggies, keep doing whatever is working for you.  I’ve never had to resort in the “hiding” method.  There are a couple veggies my kids don’t like–specifically John doesn’t care for cooked greens like spinach, kale or collards and neither teen likes olives.  Therefore, I don’t give them olives and when I prepare pasta with greens I try to minimize the amount of greens in John’s serving.  Pretty simple solution.

My success has been rather than hiding the vegetables, I spice them up and prepare them in ways that make them as appealing as possible.  It can go a long way in how accepting your kid is at trying or eating his/her veggies.  The Fruits & Veggies–More Matters website has some great ideas for adding extra taste to your veggies.  I’d like to share one of my kids’ favorite meals and you’ll be suprised that it contains alot of veggies.  Here’s my recipe for Stuffed Peppers–hope you enjoy it as much as Alex and John do!

Stuffed Peppers

1 pound ground chicken breast
1 cup instant brown rice
2 cups spaghetti sauce*
3 large red bell peppers, halfed lengthwise and seeded
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
*I use leftover homemade spaghetti sauce, but you can use jar sauce, just choose the lower sodium, vegetarian options.

Place the halfed, seeded bell peppers in a baking dish and cover with foil.  Place in an oven at 350 degrees and bake 20-30 minutes, until peppers are just softened.  In the meantime, prepare the brown rice according to package directions and set aside.  In the 2 T olive oil, cook ground chicken breast, onion and garlic until meat is browned.  Add brown rice and 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce, mix well.  Remove peppers from oven and spoon meat/rice mixture into peppers.  Pour remaining 1 and 1/2 cups of spaghetti sauce over peppers.  Cover with tin foil and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes.  Remove tin foil and sprinkle low-fat mozzarella cheese over peppers.  Bake another 10 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Enjoy! (serves 4)

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  1. Stuffed peppers sound delicious. I’ve never made them with chicken. Will have to try it. This is the way I encourage my kids to eat vegetables without them knowing it. Enjoy!

  2. I think we create the veggy issues for our kids. Veggies are colorful crunchy sweet tart and wonderful. If given as candy they will like them. Don’t hide celebrate. Make them beautiful and fun. Get creative. Of course a green been casserole where the vegetable has been killed of color and flavor will not do the trick…

  3. I agree with Catherine – in many cases we as parents create food issues for our kids. It has been said that children may not listen to what we say, but they are great imitators. If you want your kids to eat veggies (or anything for that matter), youi have to set an example as the parent and eat it yourself. It also helps to make eating a wide variety of foods, and trying new or unusual foods, a part of normal behavior in your household.

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