Stealth Health – A Deceptive Trick to Get Your Child Eating More Veggies by Brittany Lightsey, MS, RD, LD
Whether called stealth health, the sneaky chef, or being deceptively delicious, the concept is the same. Parents are sneaking healthy ingredients into their child’s meals. I remember the first time I was introduced to stealth health. It was the day my mother told me she had been adding chopped veggies to my spaghetti for my whole life! I was a teenager and never knew that one of our household staples was filled with zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms. So sneaky, yet I was impressed. What a great way to move toward making half your family’s plate fruits and vegetables!
Why be sneaky? There are many reasons to be deceptive. First, it gives your child what I like to call “whole nutrition,” or nutrients, vitamins and minerals that come from whole foods rather than supplements or fortified and enriched foods. Second, it eases mealtime stress. It can be exhausting cooking for picky little ones or stubborn teens. The dinnertime battle is reduced if there are fewer “yucky” foods to push to the side. Also, sneaky substitutions can lower fat and sugar content. Think ground turkey; substituting ground turkey for ground beef in your family’s favorite tacos can cut the saturated fat in half.
Try these tips to become a stealth health master.
- Make fruit + veggie smoothies for a delicious and nutritious snack. Spinach is easily blended in.
- Invest in an emersion blender. Use this to puree cooked veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes and add them to pasta dishes like mac and cheese.
- Look for new takes on old recipes like cauliflower mash as a substitute for mashed potatoes.
- Get friendly with your grater. Shave veggies like carrots and zucchini in a variety of dishes. Add them to ground turkey for a delicious, lean take on your typical hamburger. Hide them under cheese on a homemade pizza.
- Substitute. Use plain Greek yogurt instead of full-fat sour cream or brown rice instead of white rice. You know the drill, but how do you get your family members to make the switch? Try half and half - a sandwich with one slice of white bread and one slice of wheat bread, or less salt but more herbs and spices. Do what works for your family.
The secret to sneakiness: Is your child a creature of habit? You don’t have to tell them if you switch up the ingredients in one of their favorite recipes. Let them try it first before commenting.
Featuring Black Beans
Try this twist on a typical chocolate cupcake from Morrison Healthcare for celebrations or a special treat. Your children will not know it is packed with fiber and vitamins and minerals such as fiber, folate, iron, and magnesium.
15 oz. black beans, canned, drained, rinsed
5 ea. eggs
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup, 2 tsp. butter, unsalted
¾ cup sugar, granulated
1 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup, 2 tsp. baking cocoa
½ tsp. baking soda
3 tbsp. butter, melted
1½ oz. Neufchâtel cream cheese
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp. baking cocoa
1 1/8 tsp skim milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Using a blender, blend black beans, eggs and vanilla until completely liquefied with no lumps.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add baking soda, baking powder and cocoa powder. Set aside.
4. Combine black bean mixture with butter mixture and beat until smooth.
5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins.
6. Bake at 385 degrees F for 14-18 min. until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 min. Remove from muffin tins; cool completely on baking rack.
1. In mixing bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.
2. Add sugar one cup at a time. Next, add cocoa powder. Add milk and mix well.
3. Beat at high speed for about 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until internal temperature reaches 41 degrees F.
4. Frost cupcakes when cool.
Be sure to check out our articles monthly on the “Parent Resources” section of SCCPSS’ School Food and Nutrition Website found on www.sccpss.com. These articles will highlight tips, tricks, and recipes to keep your family happy and healthy. For questions, please contact Brittany Lightsey, MS, RD, LD at LightBr1@memorialhealth.com.