Hiding vegetables in food shown effective against childhood obesity

A new study suggests parents exercise a little creative trickery for the sake of their children's health and sneak vegetables in their food.

In a feat of well-intentioned but crafty culinary deception, researchers at Pennsylvania State University managed to get preschool children to consume nearly twice as many vegetables and 11 percent fewer calories over the course of a day after stealthily sneaking puréed vegetables into their favorite foods.

The study, published online July 25 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , found that despite adding puréed broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes and squash into familiar foods like zucchini bread, pasta and tomato sauce and chicken casserole, the kids ate the same weight of food.

Not only did increasing the vegetable quotient up the nutritional value of the meals, the scheme also reduced the calories in the dishes by 15 to 25 percent.

In the experiment, 39 children between the ages of 3 and 6 were served the vegetable-enhanced dishes on three separate days.

Compared to standard-recipe meals, the vegetable intake nearly doubled while their caloric intake decreased by 11 percent.

Study co-author Barbara Rolls defended what some may call a deceptive practice, saying the end justifies the means.

"Regarding children, some people argue that hiding vegetables in foods is deceptive and that doing so suggests that whole vegetables are not acceptable," she said. "But I don't agree. Parents modify recipes all the time. For example, it is well-accepted that applesauce can be used to replace oil in cake batter."

It's a ploy used by a few major food manufacturers as well. Food giant Kraft, for instance, created headlines when it rolled out a Macaroni & Cheese Dinner Veggie Pasta across the US ( Kraft Dinner Smart in Canada), made with pulverized, freeze-dried cauliflower. The powder replaces some of the flour used to make pasta.

The strategy has even spawned a book, The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals , by Missy Chase Lapine, filled with 75 recipes that cleverly hide fruits and vegetables in classic kids' meals like blueberries in cupcakes, and eight vegetables in spaghetti and meatballs.

For more meal ideas, visit Lapine's website, http://www.thesneakychef.com/.

 

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
books
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Systems Analyst (Technical, UML, UI)

    £30000 - £40000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

    Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

    £300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

    Senior Private Client Solicitor - Gloucestershire

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - We are makin...

    Microsoft Dynamics AX Support Developer

    £50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A unique and rare opport...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn