So back to vegetables.

If you are one of the lucky parents whose children welcome vegetables in their true form, CONGRATULATIONS! Perhaps you did all the right things in introducing them to healthy foods, or perhaps it was in the genes. But don't think that parents of picky eaters have tried any less, nor do they have substandard children. In every case I know, mine included, the picky eaters' parents have tried every piece of advice they've been given by well-meaning friends. But nothing has worked.

So to parents like me, serving our children foods that contain dreaded spinach and squash in a form they enjoy not only makes sense, it is a loving choice. If they relish the meal they ate that contained a bit of broccoli—without bargaining, bribing or begging—and we don't tell them, are we harming them? Aren't we making them, and ourselves, happier and healthier? Are we not, in fact, simply taking affirmative responsibility for the well-being of the most important people in our lives?

Even some who embrace hidden vegetables, however, worry that the technique will prevent a child from developing an appreciation and taste for real vegetables later in life. But think about the children that believe that Santa Claus flies through the sky and puts presents under a tree in time for Christmas morning. Don't they eventually give up that fantasy when they are ready? So too, eventually, a child will eat vegetables in their natural state, when she is ready. But until they do, my kids' health is the most important part of my job. And I'm not a quitter.

I can only point to my oldest daughter as proof that this help really works. As she has gotten older, she's wise to my purees, but she cannot say she doesn't like them because they are a part of foods she already knows she likes. The stigma of the vegetables has actually worn off, so now real vegetables don't seem that bad. And the real vegetables that are always on her plate, next to the puree-infused foods, are now being eaten—willingly, and without a fuss.

Finally, let's remember, even adults doctor up their veggies so they taste better. Hello? Salad dressing? Are we deceiving ourselves? No. But we are deliciously deceiving our taste buds by changing the flavor of our veggies. Is that immoral? Of course not. The benign deception we practice in our kitchen is not a crime—it's cuisine!


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