Sneaking in Vegetables and Fruits

For as long as I’ve known her, my mom has had a great instinct about nutrition. Remember the Five-a-Day campaign to get people to eat at least five daily servings of vegetables and fruits? That was no problem in my house. My mom always served fruit at breakfast and fruit and carrots in our lunch box. Dinner included a parade of vegetables and fruit. My mom’s German upbringing called for a meal served in courses, first fruit, then a salad, and then our main course plus a cooked vegetable. (Dessert usually was cookies.) Plus we drank orange juice with dinner because we didn’t have milk with a meat meal in our kosher home. There they were, vegetables and fruits out in the open, and no need to hide them, disguise them, or sneak them into foods.

 So I am very conflicted about whether today’s moms and dads should sneak vegetables and fruits into the foods they make for their kids. On one hand, most of us don’t eat nearly enough, so why not try whatever tactics we can to hit the 4 1/2 cups recommended in the Dietary Guidelines? On the other hand, though, why can’t we raise kids who willingly eat them?

 That said, I was struck by the number of food products at ExpoWest calling out that they provide at least a portion of a serving of vegetables or fruit. Here are just a few that I spotted, mainly snack foods, with many more surely to come:

Ruby’s Rockets are frozen treats inspired by a mom’s smoothies, frozen into kid-friendly ice pops. Flavors include Orbit Orange, Galaxy Green, and Rock-It Red, each made from pureed fruits and vegetables without added sweeteners.

The Real Deal All Natural Snacks has been in the snack food biz for 60+ years. The newest product, Real! Veggie Chips, claims to be made with enough corn and peas to provide 1 1/2 servings of veggies in every ounce of chips.  Because the chips are baked, they have less fat and fewer calories than the equivalent in potato chips.

cruncha ma-me edamame snacks are freeze-dried soybeans available in five different flavors. They have more protein and fiber than most other snack foods.

My kids, who used to eat frozen vegetables straight out of the bag, would have loved Crunchies, a line of freeze-dried mixed veggies, edamame, and various fruits. Each 1.5 ounce bag contains the equivalent of several servings of vegetables or fruit.

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