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jen maiser

omg - things like this drive me up a wall.


You obviously do NOT have children in today's world. They are continuously bombarded by junk food ads (see link below) and getting them to eat healthy food has become a major challenge for parents everywhere. I have been using The Sneaky Chef method for about 2 weeks now and am hugely grateful that someone has finally given parents a tool that works--guaranteed. I still put the bowl of veggies on the table and extol their virtues, but I don't have to fight them like I used to because I know they're at least getting some REAL nutrition in the stuff I snuck in. I'll talk to you when you have kids.

Dr. Biggles

Well, I got 2 boys ages 6 and 11. I think you're spot on. I don't own a food processor, nor do I have a blender. And stay away from our brownies !!!

Here's what Papa says, "Eat this carrot stick, now please."

My boys get pretty well bombarded with ads on nasty food daily. Early on I told them they're welcome to watch and they'll see friends eating such things. They will not.

How do I enforce this? Easy. I prepare one of my basic high-roast chicken meals. This includes mashed taters, a little gravy and usually broccoli. Then I place the prepared food next to it and ask them to choose which meal they'd like to eat. I ain't lost yet.

Ramblin' thoughts. Thanks for listening.



I, too, am free of kid knowledge. But I keep hearing how hard it is to feed willful children.
When did kids get so much power?
(BTW, did I not hear you may be enceinte?)

Jalapeno Girl

Jen-I'm with ya!

MarciaBG-I will be having a child soon but don't think I will be sneaky with him/her. I'm not saying "never" though and will keep you posted.

Dr. Biggles-see! You give me hope.

Cookiecrumb-if enceinte means that I am pregnant, you heard correct. I am almost 4 months along.

Jalapeno Girl

Jen-I'm with ya!

MarciaBG-I will be having a child soon but don't think I will be sneaky with him/her. I'm not saying "never" though and will keep you posted.

Dr. Biggles-see! You give me hope.

Cookiecrumb-if enceinte means that I am pregnant, you heard correct. I am almost 4 months along.

jen maiser

Yippee! Congrats! I had a feeling, but didn't want to be nosy. :-)

Dr. Biggles

Pregnant ??? Whadya go and do that for?

Congratulations and cheers to yours and those others that need cheering.

You're going to have a lot of fun, this I can assure you. And speaking of fun, Zachary and Eli need some looking after this coming week. If I could drop them off each morning, that'd be great. You could get some hands on training!

AHAHHAHHAA, oh man. I'm killing me, again. I'm here all week, take your time.


Jalapeno Girl

Hi Jen,

I bet you had a feeling if you talked to Tea anytime lately! hehee. Thanks.

And Dr. Biggles, I know it's crazy to go and get pregnant but it seemed like I've enjoyed enough sleeping and drinking for now... onto a new adventure. I have eons of babysitting training but thanks for the offer!

rachel m

she isn't a 'tv personality'. she's a mom who devised a strategy for making sure her picky kids get the nutrients they need. a lot of kids reach a certain age and will no longer eat what they're told, leading to major battles and fights. i admire that you think you'll never have these problems with your future children, but that doesn't mean you should go around boasting that someone else's work makes you sick. you can disagree, strongly, loudly, but there really is no need to be nasty. especially when you actually know pretty much nothing about the author.

Karen A

Wow! I am appalled that someone could be so rude and even wrong. Kids need fruits, veggies, whole grain, etc. and it's getting hard to find these "whole" foods these days. Kids are picky and if you can get them to eat these fruits and veggies by sneaking them in than why not?!! You are not making them destined to a life of pureed food. You can still introduce them to fruits and veggies but when they are not ready and willing they still need those essential nutrients. Also, have you even tried any of these recipes? Don't bash what you haven't tried!!! I only hope that you have a child who is picky. Don't tell others how to be healthy because quite frankly, just like parenting there are numerous ways to succeed!!!

Jalapeno Girl

Karen A-You are entitled to your opinions just as I am. If you don't like what I have to say, don't read my blog. It's that easy. And no, I haven't tried the Sneaky Chef's "recipes" (place food in blender, press button, serve) and don't feel I need to.


I have three kids, 9 y/o and under. My first child didn't like sweets at first and ate her veggies with no problem. I, too, thought that I would have no problem at all getting her to like and eat only healthy foods.

What happened? Life. Unless you live on a farm with no television or contact with the outside world, or in a bubble, children will be exposed to junk food, candy and soda pop at some point in their lives. I remember the first time my oldest was given candy at age 3 - it was at church, and she was given a Tootsie Roll, which she absolutely loved!

We do not buy junk food or candy (they get enough from grandma, friends, etc.) So, consuming vast amounts of junk food is not the problem. My kids will eat certain fruits and vegetables. However, they have very narrow lists and they rarely like the same ones as their siblings.

The Sneaky Chef has made dessert more exciting by suggesting recipes you can easily make with frozen fruit and your food processor. The breakfast cookies are also a hit any time of day. They like the crackers, made with chickpeas and cheddar cheese (I love these) and the tacos. They want me to make the meatballs to have with their spaghetti.


I, too, had such thoughts about kids, food, and nutrition.

And then I had a kid.

I'll tell you one thing - parenting is a humbling experience. There are many things I am currently doing with my two-year-old, including feeding him pureed veges and fruits in a desparate attempt to get proper nutrition in his body, that I'd never, NEVER thought I would. Maybe I should have done something differently - ? Perhaps. But this is a learn-as-you-go adventure, and no one is perfect. Talk to me when I have Kid #2.

Hold on - you just strapped yourself onto a wild roller coaster!

Toddler Mommy

You sound like me before kids. :)

We don't keep sweets in the house. Treats and snacks have always included fresh fruits, cheese and whole grain crackers, milk, etc. I've never served white bread or processed sugary snacks. Until my son was 18 months old, I prided myself on the fact that I provided only the healthiest options. Bragged about how he'd eat beans right out the can, pop grape tomatoes like candy, etc etc etc.

Ahhhh... those were the days.

Now, with two under the age of four, it's a constant battle. Just when you think you've got the upper hand, somehow, you lose it. Their tastes change from day to day, and even though I still refrain from sweets, their choices have become narrow and ever-shifting. Enter the Sneaky Chef - glory hallelujah. I still offer all of the good stuff, but when I know I've got some hidden stuff in there as a backpocket plan, it makes me feel good... my job is to teach them about good food, but also to make sure they get some of it in them. This helps tremendously on the second goal, while keeping my sanity to boot.

Congrats and good luck to you and your first!

Sharjah Sue

There is no one on earth more stubborn than my two-year-old at dinnertime, and no amount of discussion will get him to eat the broccoli unless he feels like it. It's not for lack of giving variety early on. I made all of my son's baby food, usually using expensive organic ingredients, whole grains, etc., and seaonsed it with garlic and herbs. I gave him every fruit and veg I could find and he ate them with abandon until he was almost two. Then, slowly, he began rejecting many things. Fortunately, the Sneaky Chef recipes have allowed me to get some vital nutrients in him (and yes, you do cook the things in the book; the purees are just added ingredients). You cannot reason with a two-year-old, and you don't want mealtimes to become battle zones, so why not just add some pureed cauliflower and zuccinni to his pasta sauce?


It's interesting that you find putting fresh steamed (and yes puree'd) veggies in recipes so egregious. How do you feel about the fact that the food industry puts high fructose corn syrup in just about every prepared food, leading to the highest ever incidence of Type II diabetes in our nation (this is a fact, btw)? And how do you feel that another common additive in our foods today is partially hydrogenated oils, which is basically like coating your arteries with a Crisco-like substance, leading to clogged arteries? Why aren't you aghast at that--something that is truly heinous and actually dangerous? You really think that getting some added veggies in a recipe is a bad thing? You sneak eggs into your recipes, right? I mean you cook with eggs, mixing them into a batter. Sneaky! Have you ever substituted one ingredient for another when baking? Ohhhh you are being sneaky and deceptive if you ever have. Really, there is so much to be offended by when it comes to food and how it's processed in our society. I would think that anyone given the opportunity to make a delicious recipe that also happens to use healthy ingredients would be thrilled with such a thing. Who said that kids can't ALSO be presented with a variety of fruits and veggies alongside their healthy entrees? You make it sound like it is an either/or proposition.


When it was time for my son to eat solids, I made every bit of food he put in his mouth from scratch. I was determined to expose his palate to an array of flavors - he was NOT going to be a picky eater! Enter years 2-4 (so far). This is one of the few things he can control and no matter what I put in front of him, he has items A, B, and C that he'll eat. AMEN to any method of getting the nutrients in him. It's not about NOT offering him the good stuff every time we sit down to a meal, I will continue to educate him and entice him, but in the meantime, he eats well in spite of himself, thanks to the methods offered by the Sneaky Chef. And as someone else said, what is wrong with adding healthy fresh produce to a dish? The crap in processed food is way worse than the concept of spinach hiding in brownies (it's really quite good).

Fresh Seasonal Food Trumps purèed mush!

I have issues lying to a child about what they are eating. Sneaking food into what would appear to be (in some cases) junk is VERY misleading! When these kids grow up I worry that two things could happen: 1. They discover that their parents LIED (lying by omission is still lying) to them every meal.
2. They have no real idea what healthy food is and will choose pizza, brownies and so forth when they are old enough to buy their own food because they are lost in the 'fresh' department of the grocery store. Perhaps even becomming unhealthy as a result of bad food choices.

I think blamming junk ads as an excuse for poor or 'sneaky' eating is appauling! Don't buy the junk in the first place. Buy fresh. Educate your child about good and bad foods, help them pick foods, let them help prepare or cook foods at least once a week. Teach them that it's ok to have 'junk' once in a while but that you are not going to buy that junk for them every week. Then make the 'junk' yourself. Make the cookies, candies, chocolates and show them what really should go into food. Let them learn that bread really does go bad after a few days if it is preservative free. Limit the tv if saying no to your child's junk demands is so difficult.

I have a three and a half year old. I have always made everything from scratch. I nursed her for two years because of a cow's milk allergy (which by the way makes for a creative chef.) I always offered variety, didn't offer her sugar until she was over 2 years - unless it was a special holiday. I even let her 'binge' on sugar once - to my suprise she told me she had enough and has regularly chosen a banana over junk to this day! I never made issues about food and always bought fresh. She is now an exceptionally good eater. It was difficult to get her to try cow's milk products when she outgrew her allergy because they were new products for her -new tastes, new textures. But I didn't innundate her with some new food and force her to eat it. I put a little taste on her plate of the new food each day. If she tried it great if not - better luck next week! Eventually all this effort led to her eating EVERYTHING. Perhaps it's because she knows she eats what's infront of her because what's infront of her is the same as what's in the fridge, cupboards and countertops. No junk hiding in the cupboards, no searching will turn up anything less healthy. Maybe it's because she knows it takes time to make a batch of cookies and she'll likely be very hungry by the time they are done, so why not just eat dinner? Perhaps it's because she doesn't know any different; she sees me eat healthy; I don't make an issue of food. I serve it, if she doesn't eat it, I put it away and she can choose to eat it later or not at all. I don't force feed and she's never starved - in fact she is very healthy. Or maybe it's because she gets to pick that one new 'special' food every week. (She thinks kumkwats and starfruit are a special treat. Not candy. Not chips.) Maybe it's because I let her try everything. I also don't tell her she can't have junk. In fact she is allowed to try it - in MODERATION. She chooses not to eat junk, either because she was never familiar with the taste in the first place or because she realized too much junk makes her feel crappy. I remember bringing her to a well known fast food chain one day, ordered her some food with fries and she told me she didn't like them because they tasted "old." She eats garlic grass that we grow on our window sill because she likes the 'spiciness.' She appreciates the flavours of all foods, for their rich real flavour - not for the blended purèed masked tastes. I buy everything fresh IN SEASON and we have variety. (I also would never eat a tomatoe in the winter because it tastes like cardboard! I wait until that perfect moment the end of summer and I cherish every bite! My daughter does the same with her food. She smells it, tastes it and basks in the full flavourful glory of fresh seasonal foods!)

I also have to say that I was a HORRIBLY picky eater as a child. I hated all foods, any type of texture and literally gagged down dinner (WHEN I got hungry enough to eat and realized there were no other options). BUT, eventually I did eat. My mom prepared fresh seasonal food every day. She always introduced new foods just in case there was one I would gladly eat. I never struggled with any food disorders or vitamin deficiencies growing up. I have grown into a very healthy, 5'10", 145 pound, 29 year old. I also know the difference between good and bad foods because I was exposed to how they grow, what they look like, smell like and taste like. I LOVE food now because my mom introduced all sorts of new foods to me and never made an issue out of food when I was little - no hiding, no lying, no sneaking, no bribing, no guilting. I appreciate her efforts now. I eat well, my daughter eats well, even the kids who visit us whose parents claim would never eat a thing, eat well at my house. Why? Maybe it's because they know their options: healthy, fresh or go hungry!

Fresh Seasonal Food Trumps purèed mush!

Sorry to carry on earlier! I just get so frustrated with this debate! I lived in Africa for a number of years and kids were happy just to be fed. If left to a child to eat or go hungry, believe me they will eat and eat well!


I think everyone in this discussion is doing the best they can with what tools they have. I also cook healthy/seasonal foods that I happen to love but for some reason my non-TV watching 18-month year old will NOT touch a veggie. I have actually read Sneaky Chef and made some recipes and we are enjoying them a lot. Go figure!


I agree with French Seasonal Food Trumps logic 100%! I don't knock doing these things to try to ensure they get some sort of veggies in them, but they most definitely need to be taught and educated on food and the purpose of it. "REAL" (not synthetic) healthy foods should not be looked upon as something foreign. And kids should not have responsible adults over their health giving into what they don't want to eat; or society making it OK that they eat these foods that are KILLING THEM....and adults not standing firm in what they know we as human beings need to be eating to grow and be healthy...mentally & physically! The other issue with the veggies being snuck into COOKED foods is that once cooked or micro-waved, you have LOST if not all, most of the NUTRIENTS that were already lacking from a vegetaable or fruit that never got to vine-ripen in the first place. What does this mean....OUR KIDS ARE STILL NOT GETTING THE NURTIENTS THAT THEY NEED!Plus, are we paying attention to the brownie mix we sneak the food in?? From what I know for a fact, unless you shop at Wholefoods market or another wholefoods grocer, I can promise you their is PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OILS AND HIGH FRUTOSE CORN SYRUP IN THESE FOODS! So, sneaking any vegetables in now totally pointless! Do the REAL Research on these two subtances and you will then understand! If you go to any farm or rual country or even out of the country like the caribeean where fresh veggies and/or frutis are grown and sold locally, you will find children who eat them! Why...Because they taste good, because they are VINE RIPEN AND REAL! Just like some of us remember growing up. Most kids really don't even know what a real vine-ripen peach tastes like! The ones sold in the stores are HARD AND TASTELESS!Something almost impossible to find in our stores today, even with organic! The best way to get kids to eat healthy is to make them apart of the process. No one said it was going to be easy! But that's your job as a parent! Teach them to shop with you, teach them to read the labels and see some of the crap that is in these non-foods, let them help you cook, learn facts together about foods - call it "food fact time" or something creative. And most important....as the adult YOU HAVE TO SET THE EXAMPLE! Make healthy foods fun! Not something that should or have to be hidden all the time. And not all kids will eat everything, but may eat others, so if you have to hide one particular food sometimes in order to get it in them because they need it, HIDE IT IN ANOTHER HEALTHY FOOD THEY LIKE! Nothing like fresh squeezed organic orange juice w/ carrot, apple, or beet or a fruit and veggie smoothie! They will LOVE THIS! A green colorful salad (not iceberg lettuce)with raisins and apples and THEIR favorite dressing and youv'e got another winner! We as a society and PARENTS just need to do RIGHT BY OUR CHILDREN AND RIGHT BY THEIR HEALTH! TEACH & EDUCATE! And be willing to fight the battle for the sake of your children! And if you don't know....LEARN! And for your child's sake...stop being lazy and making excuses...just work that much harder to make it happen!


You know who's benefiting from puree'd veggies in my household? ME! I am single w/no kids. And I have been horrible about getting in my required veggies everyday. I'm just not good and consistent about it. And now I'm eating a very wide variety of veggies. Not only broccoli but collard greens, kale, spinach, as well as cauliflower, carrots, yams, zuccini. And because I'm an adult, I don't have to 'hide' them as much as just simply use them in new and interesting ways. For breakfast I had a cup of spaghetti squash and mixed in were the purees of spinach, carrots, cauliflower. I put a little parmagiano cheese on top. YUMMMM. Nearly 2.5 servings of veggies already today--I am now able to easily get 4-5 servings of veggies into my daily diet. This method has revolutionized how I think about ingredients in recipes. I'm not interested in brownies, cookies, etc, cause I need to totally limit sugar anyway. But I *am* interested in ways to create tasty entrees and side dishes that utilize a higher % of veggies. Last week I made a frittata that consisted of 4 eggs and the purees of about 5 different veggies with a little cheese sprinkled on top. Baked in a glass baking dish for about 40 min at 350 degrees. DELICIOUS, healthy, fulfilling. So good I would take this dish to a potluck or to any event and feel confident that just about everyone would like it. Lazy is the person who doesn't believe eating can be exciting--doesn't believe that veggies and fruits can be utilized in a wide variety of ways that are tasteful. Or relies on fast food to feed themselves and their kids. THAT'S lazy.

Allie Williams

LottaMoxie makes the most sense on this subject. Never get into a FOOD FIGHT with a kid. The food battles are much bigger than slipping in a puree. I do beleive the high fructose corn syrup, which is in EVERY packaged food, since the mid 80's will be linked to the surge in Diabetes. The hydrogenated oils & fats have acceler-ated arteriosclerosis. Soon, 30 year olds will start dropping dead of old people's diseases-diabetes & vascular disorders brought on by what has really been SNUCK into our food by the manufacturers.
I started adding pureed fresh vegetables into our food when our son (age 23) began eating solids.
I don't understand the complaints of people saying that there is some sort of moral dilemna created by adding veggies. The book marketers found some alliteration with the soft S sound of Sneaky & Chef. What do you want? Full disclosure of the ingredients of your toddler's lunch? Does anyone tell their 5 year old that the home made cookies have baking soda in them? Are you lying to your child if you use egg beaters instead of real eggs? And what about the crisis of faith if a child finds out you used "immita-tion vanilla"?
Deceptively Delicious and the Sneaky Chef are new cookbooks where family foods are being home made by careful and selective cooks. Think of the puree's as Addatives that aren't chemical or Flavor Enhancers that aren't giving anyone cancer or diabetes. And save your battles for real fights because the toddler tyrant will grow into a well fed teen someday.

j mom

There is a rule at our house. Eat it or wear it. This is from a Ramona Cleary book. I can't remember which one. No one has ever 'worn' it. But I think they both get the idea that momma means it.

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