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Enough With This Sneaky Vegetable Nonsense!

Posted Nov 13 2009 10:00pm

goldfish_cracker As many of you know, I vehemently oppose the hiding of vegetables in children’s desserts or savory snacks.

This notion that children will only eat vegetables if they are masked by copious amounts of sugar and fat is misguided in several ways:

  • The inherent message is that “vegetables are not tasty in and of themselves”
  • Desserts and savory snacks with hidden vegetables offer paltry amounts of nutrition (ie: a mere half-cup of spinach — one serving — spread out amongst a DOZEN brownies)
  • It doesn’t allow children to determine, on their own accord, what vegetables they like — and do not like

There are better alternate solutions to the ever-popular “my child won’t eat ANY vegetables!” dilemma.

  1. Try out different textures.  A child may hate steamed carrots, but love them raw (or vice versa).  If your child enjoys crunchy vegetables, work with that.
  2. Try dressing up vegetables in healthy ways.  For example, offer raw vegetables alongside bean-based dips, drizzle steamed vegetables with toasted sesame oil, or roast various vegetables in olive oil and spices
  3. Research has clearly shown that it takes roughly eight to twelve tries for a child to accept a vegetable (if it will be accepted at all).  When trying out a new vegetable, serve a tiny amount and simply ask your child if he/she would like to try this vegetable that you enjoy.  Regardless of their reaction after swallowing, thank them for trying.  You can try again — remember: TINY amounts — a few weeks later.
  4. Salsa (especially the fresh kind, like Trader Joe’s) is one way to add vegetables to a child’s day
  5. I see a lot of parents fret about daily vegetable consumption.  Step back and look at the bigger picture.  What are the child’s weekly eating patterns?
  6. It is entirely common for young children to go through phases (i.e.: the only vegetables they eat are tomatoes and celery).  They’ll eventually grow out of it.  I don’t see any reason to nag, particularly if the phase involves eating vegetables!

In any case, this is all build-up to notify you of Pepperidge Farm’s latest: Goldfish crackers made with dried vegetable powder.

“The senior vice president and general manager of [the company's] snacks division says the addition of veggies should be seen by parents as ‘an unexpected bonus,” but I don’t see the big deal.

Not only are dried vegetable powders nowhere near as nutritious as actual vegetables, but each serving of these new Goldfish crackers contains a third of a serving of vegetables.  In other words, the equivalent to mere eighth of a cup of cooked vegetables.

My biggest concern is that consumers may view this product as “healthier”, when in reality it is no different from standard Goldfish crackers.

Thank you to Corey Clark for forwarding me this news item.

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4 CommentsGoldfish, children, vegetables

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