The Sneaky Chef Tip of the Week

Tips of the Week:

Sneak and Teach

Never miss a chance to sneak and teach. Now that your family will be eating the world’s healthiest superfoods in every bite of their favorite foods, the pressure is off and you can teach good nutrition in a more relaxed environment. So go ahead and serve up that bowl of steamed spinach, straight up, and tell your kids why Popeye chose to eat spinach instead of potato chips for building strong muscles! 


Roast Your Own Raw Nuts

Choose raw nuts over commercially roasted and salted nuts. You can quickly toast them yourself in a dry pan over medium heat with a little salt. This preserves the antioxidant and other nutrient values that are otherwise lost when roasted nuts sit on the shelf. You can also use the flavor of nuts and other foods kids love to easily disguise other good foods you want your kids to eat.


Cereal Alternatives

Cereal starts the day for 49 percent of all Americans, and each year the average American eats 160 bowls of cereal. Now you can find easy, delicious and healthy breakfast alternatives for kids (and adults) with hidden healthy ingredients, like "Breakfast Cookies" (made with hidden whole grains and low fat ricotta cheese), "Breakfast Ice Cream" (super thick smoothies made with pureed frozen fruits), "Fortified French Toast" (made with hidden pureed carrots and yams), "Popeye's Eggs" (with pureed baby spinach!) and many, many more at www.TheSneakyChef.com.

 

Add Almonds to Cereals

Toss a handful of ground slivered almonds on your kids’ breakfast cereal. They’re a crunchy, heart-healthy addition that also provide longer lasting energy. You can also add them to such kid favorite recipes as “Breakfast Ice Cream” (also known as pureed frozen fruit!). There are a host of other healthy foods you can easily disguise by pureeing or grinding and then hide in your kids’ favorite meals–like cauliflower in mac n’ cheese or yams in tomato sauce!

 

Involve Your Kids

Take kids food shopping and let them choose new fruits and vegetables for the family. Studies show that the more involved they are in the process, the more likely they are to try new foods. They’ll choose based on color or shape, overcoming their resistance to new tastes or textures. Another useful tool to get kids to eat more veggies is to puree them and then easily sneak them into their favorite meals. Find out how easy it is, and whole lot more, by perusing this website.

 

Fall Harvest

The greatest harvest of the year is happening now, so this is the best time to stock up on your favorite Sneaky Chef purees while prices are low and quality is at its best. Be ready to pop some purees out of the freezer to add to your favorite recipes on a moment's notice, or have them thawed out the evening before for quick and nutritious Sneaky Chef meals. For dozens of delicious, fortified recipes, check out the Free Recipe Pages of this website, the "Ask the Sneaky Chef" forum, and all four of the Sneaky Chef books. Have a wonderful autumn!

 

Blueberry Season!

Blueberries are much more than just a delicious dessert. They'll be in season soon, and researchers at the USDA have ranked blueberries #1 in antioxidant power–slowing aging by helping to destroy free radicals. This is in comparison to forty other fresh fruits and vegetables! They can help prevent cataracts, ward off cancer, relieve constipation and reduce the risk of infection. They are low calorie and fiber rich, which reduce cholesterol. Find out how you can easily sneak blueberries into your kids’ favorite meals–including Brownies, Lasagne, Hamburgers, and many, many more–by checking out the Free Recipe Pages of this website and all four of the Sneaky Chef books.

 

Boiling vs. Baking vs. Frying

Most people know that steaming is better than boiling because it preserves the nutrients in vegetables. But did you also know that boiling is better than baking or frying because the water temperature never goes beyond 212 degrees, protecting many nutrients from the damage caused by the high heat of baking or frying?

 

Protein Boost!

A half cup of cooked white beans (or about 4 tablespoons of white bean puree) provides the same protein as an ounce of meat. Find out how to easily sneak white bean puree (and a host of other super healthy vegetables) invisibly into scores of delicious kid-favorite recipes by checking out the free recipe pages of this website!

 

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been found to be one of the most effective ways to balance blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes, plus, kids love it. Use it in baked goods in combination with whole grain flours to slow down the absorption of sugar even more.

 

Omega 3's

Countries with a high level of fish consumption (Omega-3 fatty acids) have fewer cases of depression. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have successfully used fish oil supplementation to treat bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness). Walnuts and flax seeds (oil or ground) are also excellent sources of omega-3s. For easy and nutritious quick fix ideas to a plain tuna sandwich (and many other kid favorite foods), try The Sneaky Chef’s “Quickes Fix for Tuna Sandwich” available free under “Sample Recipes” at www.TheSneakyChef.com .They include invisible ingredients like white bean puree, wheat germ and hidden sardines.

 

Desserts

If you’re going to serve dessert, do it as close to the meal as possible. When sweets are consumed with, or just after, a protein meal, the sugar is absorbed considerably slower. The same is true when sweets are combined with fat. And the kids are still full from the meal and will tend to eat less dessert.

 

Veggies All Day Long

Don’t wait until dinner to eat fruits and vegetables; include them in every meal and snack. Make each calorie count by including healthy fruits and veggies in kids’ favorite foods, including sneaking some in when you can. Try pureeing super veggies like cauliflower and zucchini and easily hiding them in mac n’ cheese, or spinach and blueberries in hamburger!

 

Nitrates & Vitamin C

Foods high in vitamin C can help counter the harmful effects of nitrates. Nitrates are commonly used in bacon and lunchmeats, and are also found in tobacco smoke and smog. There may be a reason that vitamin C-rich tomatoes are so often paired with bacon on a BLT! Other super-foods, like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and broccoli can be pureed and easily and completely hidden in kids’ favorite meals to boost nutrition and add a host of other beneficial effects.

 

Heart Healthy Good Fats

include those found in nuts, seeds, fish, avocados and olive oil. It's no problem if you can't get kids (or Adults) to eat these healthy foods straight up–you can easily sneak these into kids' favorite meals with a few ingenious yet simple techniques, like pureed avocado in fruit smoothies (they'll never know it's in there!) or finely ground nuts in whole grain pancakes, or Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins with completely hidden wheat germ, sweet potatoes and carrots!

 

Choices

Foods high in vitamin C can help counter the harmful effects of nitrates. Nitrates are commonly used in bacon and lunchmeats, and are also found in tobacco smoke and smog. There may be a reason that vitamin C-rich tomatoes are so often paired with bacon on a BLT! Other super-foods, like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and broccoli can be pureed and easily and completely hidden in kids’ favorite meals to boost nutrition and add a host of other beneficial effects.

 

Open Ended Questions

Never ask open-ended questions like 'What do you want for dinner?' They can always answer “a banana split.” Instead, offer limited choices like, “Would you prefer peas or broccoli with dinner?” But if you’ve got a picky eater on your hands, you’ll need one more tool in your bag of tricks. Try sneaking healthy foods invisibly into kids’ favorite meals, like pureed veggies in their pasta sauce or even pureed avocado in chocolate pudding! 

 

Breastfeeding Babies

Breastfeeding helps babies appreciate the flavors of all the foods you eat and may lead to them having less picky palates when they grow older.  Some studies have found that babies who were breastfed for 6+ months were less likely to become picky eaters.

 

Whole Foods Grown in Nature

Teach kids the difference between whole foods grown in nature and those synthetically manufactured in a factory.  Play the “where did this come from” game at the table, identifying which foods were man-made and which grew naturally. You’ll find it much easier to teach kids about the importance of eating the right foods, like fresh fruits and veggies, when you’re not invested in having them eat them right then and there. Take the pressure off the situation by simply hiding some healthy foods in their favorite meals. Then you can relax while you’re teaching them, knowing they’re already getting some real nutrition.

 

Ice Cream Cone Decoy

Kids eat with their eyes as much, or even more so, than we do. So use kid favorite foods such as wafer ice cream cones to lure children to eat better. Stuff the cones with veggies, yogurt, fruit, even scrambled eggs. For about 15 calories and almost no sugar, wafer cones make almost anything fun to eat.

 

Dilute Juices

Always dilute juices by at least 50% with water or herbal tea.  Do this right in the bottle so the kids don’t notice. This little trick will cut calories and sugar enormously. You can provide an even greater benefit using the same sneaky technique by pureeing healthy veggies, like spinach and broccoli, and easily hiding them in their favorite meals. Find out how easy it is by poking around this website!

 

Whole Fresh Fruit

It’s better to eat whole fresh fruit than to drink fruit juice because it has more fiber, and it hasn’t been processed.  This means that most of the valuable nutrients are retained. Your children get plenty of sweet juices at school, so don’t serve them at home or in their lunch box. If your kids won’t eat fruit or veggies straight up, you can easily puree them and hide them in their favorite meals. Find out how easy it is at www.TheSneakyChef.com!

 

Protein and Fiber are the Key to a Lasting Breakfast

Think eggs, low fat cheese, turkey bacon or yogurt, paired with whole grain toast, high fiber cereal or oatmeal. You can also easily hide healthy foods in kids’ favorite meals, like sweet potato puree in spaghetti sauce, for example, without them ever knowing. Find out how easy it is by poking around this website!

 

According to a Harvard Medical School Survey

children who eat breakfast do better academically and emotionally in school, resulting in better grades, behavior and attendance. Kids who eat more nutritious foods, like fresh fruits and veggies, have improved attention span and more balanced behavior and moods. But kids often won’t eat these foods straight up. Find out how easy it is to sneak these healthy foods into kids’ favorite meals (without them ever knowing!) by poking around this website.

 

Think of Snacks as Mini Meals

and try to provide a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and good fats.  For example, fruit paired with a slice of low fat cheese and a handful of almonds will provide for more sustained energy than fruit alone. You can also easily hide healthy foods in kids’ favorite meals, like pureed cauliflower in mac n’ cheese, or spinach in brownies (without them ever knowing). Find out how easy it is by poking around this website!

 

Smell eggs after cracking

to be sure there is no off odor, as eggs have ample opportunity to spoil in transit from the point of shipping. But once you've got a good egg on your hands, don't stop there-eggs offer a great place to easily hide super healthy ingredients that kids will gobble up (without ever knowing!). Find out how easy it is to sneak healthy foods into your kids' favorite meals by poking around this website!

 

An Emory University Study

asked 23 children to go organic, and after only 3 days, the kids’ bodies no longer showed traces of 2 common pesticides: malathion and chlorpyrifos.  Once the kids went back to their usual diet, the chemicals returned. Find out more healthy tips for kids like this, plus how easy it is to sneak healthy foods into your kids’ favorite meals (without them ever knowing!)

 

Teach Kids to Eat off a Plate

They'll eat more, and get more out of what they eat. Once you’ve got them seated, make sure they're eating some superfoods along with everything else they want.

 

Involve Kids in Shopping, Prepping & Cooking

Involve kids in shopping, prepping and cooking.  This gives them a greater sense of control and makes them more likely to eat whatever dish they helped prepare.

 

Substitute nutritious liquid for water

when boiling foods, such as simmering rice in vegetable broth. These days, it’s more important than ever to find ways to get added nutrition into kids’ meals any way we can. Find out how to easily sneak healthy superfoods into kids’ favorite meals (without them ever knowing!) 

 

A study by University of Adelaide

in Australia found that fish oil improves the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) without any of the side effects of drugs like Ritalin and Concerta -- and it does so more effectively. Good nutrition from fresh fruits and veggies has been also been shown to do the same. But kids often won’t eat these foods straight up. Find out how easy it is to sneak these healthy foods into kids’ favorite meals (without them ever knowing!) on our free recipes pages.

 

Absolute best tools in my kitchen

are my 3-cup mini food processor and kitchen shears (scissors). A small mini food processor like this one lives on the counter so you’ll reach for it every day. Use it to puree fresh veggies for you and your family, and then easily sneak them in to your kid’s favorite meals (without them ever knowing!).

 

According to a Harvard Medical School survey,

children who eat breakfast do better academically and emotionally in school, resulting in better grades, behavior and attendance. Kids who eat more nutritious foods, like fresh fruits and veggies, have improved attention span and more balanced behavior and moods. But kids often won’t eat these foods straight up. Find out how easy it is to sneak these healthy foods into kids’ favorite meals (without them ever knowing!)

 

To get kids to eat more, don’t over-feed them liquids at mealtime,

and then, give them water only and not milk.  Only serve milk in between meals. To make those between meal servings of milk special, try flavored milk.

 

Kids who skip breakfast have a more than 250 percent increased risk for developing tooth decay,

according to a study of more than 4,000 children aged 2 through 5 years published in the January 2004 Journal of the American Dental Association.  Oatmeal is a good food to start the day and made even better with some sneaky tweaking!

 

Give the kids a straw so they can drink the milk at the bottom of the cold cereal bowl.

This is a good idea because most of the vitamins and minerals added to the cereal leaches into the milk and is left at the bottom of the bowl.

 

Organic Milk the Best

The biggest selling organic product is milk. Everything a cow eats ends up in its milk, so it's best to buy organic.

 

Teach kids that strong colors in nature mean strong bodies and health.

The pigment that gives fruits and veggies color also means more antioxidants and nutrients. Think blueberries, red grapes, cherries, peaches, watermelon, carrots, red peppers and tomatoes. You’ll find it much easier to teach kids about the importance of eating the right foods, like fresh fruits and veggies, when you’re not invested in having them eat them right then and there. Take the pressure off the situation by simply hiding some healthy foods in their favorite meals. Then you can relax while you’re teaching them, knowing they’re already getting some real nutrition.

The Sneaky Chef is available at fine booksellers everywhere: