My 2-year-old daughter recently asked for a “latke” for dinner. When I served it to her with applesauce, she ate nearly her entire dinner and didn’t seem to notice that the potato pancake I served her was actually a veggie burger (a MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Pattie to be exact).
This sneaky way to serve healthier fare to your little one – give it another name – is today’s hint.
What are some other examples beyond veggie burger “latkes”? Fish sticks can become “French fries” and chicken baked with Panko crumbs can be “chicken fingers,” and there’s this relatively healthy “chicken nuggets” recipe from The Sneaky Chef. In addition, simply embellishing a food’s name with silly and fun adjectives can work too. In short, your imagination is the limit.
In fact, as Time.com pointed out, a Cornell University study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine found that kids are likely to eat more veggies if you call the food fun names like “X-Ray Vision Carrots.”
To be sure, this healthy food by another name trick works best for younger kids with limited eating experience. It also could backfire when picky eaters learn what the healthy foods they like actually are.
Case in point: For the first few years of my life, I thought fish sticks were another sort of “French fries,” as that’s what my mother called them. Then, one day when I was about four, I learned the truth when I was having lunch at a friend’s house. His mom served us what I thought were fries and called them “fish sticks.”
That I vividly remember this experience a few decades later, and that I didn’t eat another fish stick after that lunch until I had a toddler of my own, is testimony that you’ll want to use this trick sparingly and only with the smallest kids.
Still, when you’re desperate and dealing with little ones, getting creative with nomenclature can help the healthier food go down. In short, it can be a good way to successfully serve up healthier fare.
What creative names for healthy foods have you come up with? What are your tips for serving healthy foods to your little ones?