“I don’t want to like it!!”

I wrote a while back about us starting to eat healthier low fat meals as a family. (Hey, if I have to suffer, then they do too!!)

Last night I made a delicious supper that was low fat and low cost too! I made meat sauce with lean ground meat (next time I may use turkey as it is much leaner), with whole wheat pasta. I was concerned that the children would not like the whole wheat pasta as it is not white and they are used to white spaghetti. So I mixed the sauce in with the pasta instead of serving it separately and the brown-ness was hidden by the tomato/meat sauce. I served some steamed vegetables on the side.

All was going well, the kids were eating with gusto, until *someone* mentioned that he preferred the taste of the whole wheat pasta to the regular. One of the boys immediately put down his fork. All of a sudden he didn’t like the food because it was whole wheat pasta. Logic didn’t sway him at all. The others didn’t care. They were too busy eating up every morsel that was on their plates.

We are definitely sticking with whole wheat pasta for now – and the kid that won’t eat it will just have to get over his aversion. I have seen him eat it and enjoy it when he didn’t know what he was eating.

What are your tips for getting healthy food into unsuspecting children?

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  1. Justine says:

    Blend, grate, dice. Repeat. You can get away with adding even peas to a burger if you do this!
    Another trick: I have a child who doesn’t eat mushrooms. I buy pasta sauce with small pieces of mushrooms in it and we use it when we make pizza. He is none the wiser!

  2. sheva says:

    I do this a lot in my family and the response is usually pretty negative. But don’t give up. Sometimes I puree vegetables and add it to the sauce and you can’t taste it . I also puree cauliflower and add it to my cheeses sauce for Mac and cheese. My biggest critic is my husband. At dinner he always looks down at his plate and says whats really in this.

  3. I have one child whose ability to sense “hidden ingredients” is legendary. I don’t know how he does it, but he knows. I think that your “picky eater” is actually just upset at being deceived. And from my own experience, you have to be very up-front with him (or her) and promise not to sneak anything by, provided they also promise to try harder and to at least TASTE the food and be honest with themselves and you if it tastes good. Appeal to their intellect with valid health statistics and the fact that you’re making changes to keep them healthy and help them live longer. It takes longer, and it’s frustrating, but my doctor seems to agree. I’m not a short order cook, though – if what I serve isn’t what my son likes, he can fix his own dinner. And it MUST include one of the vegetables and/or fruits that he WILL eat (raw broccoli, V8 Fusion, or fresh apples).

    Would you want someone sneaking food into your diet? I wouldn’t. It sounds like a good idea, as a parent, but anything that erodes a child’s trust (the test being, would it erode YOURS, if your husband or a friend did it to you?) is probably going to backfire at some point.

  4. Elle says:

    FYI brown rice pasta is lower in carbs and high in fiber. it also tastes a lot less “whole wheaty” – you know that chewy texture it tends to have? it tastes a bit more like white pasta – but in my opinion better. Every since I was diagnoses celiac I’ve been using brown rice pasta – Tinkyada is my favorite brand. it’s fabulous!

  5. lady lock and load says:

    That is wonderful Hadassah that you are feeding your family healthy nourishing food and they are enjoying it! Recipe please?

  6. Anon says:

    I find that brown rice and whole wheat pasta go over better when served with sauce or gravy. Also, try different brands of WW pasta, some are lighter than others. If you can find it, whole wheat cous-cous (the tiny kind, not the Israeli kind) is very “mild.” If you are having a hard time getting the kids to eat cooked veggies, try roasting them on a cookie sheet with some olive oil , salt pepper and garlic powder. I DK if this works w/ your need to be low-fat, I’ve never tried it, but you could probably do the same thing with some olive oil Pam spray

    • RubyV says:

      You can buy an olive oil sprayer. Keeps it low fat by really limiting the amount used (it creates a very fine mist). Pixie will eat all sorts of veg roasted, and loves brussel sprouts this way. I slice them fine, toss with shallots, herbs and a fine spray of oil. Yummy!

  7. Ha! My mom used to make salmon patties that I LOVED until I discovered they were flavored with ketchup, which I despise. I never ate them again – and still haven’t!

  8. Frayda says:

    This is the easiest healthy meal that I make for my family. We all love it!

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