Sneaky Snacks for Kids

We can all agree that pizza is the ultimate kid-pleaser. But veggies on pizza?

That’s a tougher sell.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention show that nine out of 10 American children aren’t getting enough vegetables in their diets; six out of 10 aren’t getting enough fruit. But you’re in luck, parents! The food industry has found a way to sneak veggies onto your children’s plates—and even into their go-to favorites.

screenshot-2016-11-10-12-42-01Oh Yes Foods, a California company, offers a tasty pizza that’s loaded with hidden fruits and vegetables. Amy Goldsmith, chief executive of Oh Yes, said two of the company’s founders, both medical doctors, used to struggle with their picky daughter at mealtime. “They tried to get her to eat healthy food, but she just wouldn’t do it,” she said. “It was all about hot dogs and cheese pizza.” So they got creative by drying fruits and vegetables in a food dehydrator and using a coffee grinder to powder the produce before applying it to one of her favorite treats. Now these innovative parents sell frozen pizza containing 12 kinds of dehydrated produce—including vitamin-packed kale, carrots and broccoli. One 10-inch pie contains five and a half servings of fruits and veggies!

And Oh Yes Foods isn’t alone in this movement. New York-based Kidfresh also offers tot-friendly frozen entrees and snacks such as macaroni and cheese and pepperoni pizza bites dosed with pureed vegetables—enough to meet one-third of a child’s daily requirement in some cases. “No more battles or headaches at mealtime with your little ones,” Kidfresh claims. “We bring a fresh twist to vegetables.”

While these products offer a practical solution in dealing with choosy eaters, some worry about the mixed message they represent. According to Sally Kuzemchack, a registered dietitian and blogger at Real Mom Nutrition, “there’s an implication that eating fruits and vegetables is a chore to be avoided or worked around.” But it’s likely that moms and dads everywhere will agree that getting kiddos to consume healthier foods is the ultimate goal. Teaching them the importance of eating wisely is certainly key, but that can come over time, when they are old enough to understand the concept of feeding their bodies the right fuel. Once they learn that veggies can, indeed, taste great too, they might be more willing to be adventurous with the green goodies. In the meantime, these cunning culinary concoctions are definitely a step in a helpful direction.

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