It is no secret that most people in America today do not eat enough fruits or veggies each day. According to a recent report from the CDC, only 26% of adults admitted to eating 3 or more servings of vegetables a day. Even the well-known health benefits of eating veggies do not entice people to give veggies the love they deserve!

On the other hand, I am sure that most parents want to get their kids ingesting veggies at each meal. After all, no parent wants to feel like they don’t care about their child’s health and nutrition! In desperation, they may rely on offering rewards or issuing threats to ensure their child’s cooperation.

Well, according to this Chef Boyardee advertisement, an alternate strategy is to hide the veggies in the food and just don’t tell them! Brilliant idea from their highly paid marketers!

What do you think? Is it smart to get a full serving of veggies, or whole grain pasta in your child’s tummy no matter what even if it means you hide it behind loads of salt, fat and sugar?

It is about time we give up on such stealth tactics and promote veggies in an overt, intelligent and sustainable way.

We are not impressed. Share your opinions below.



  1. I’m not a fan of the stealth vegetable at all. Sure, put spinach in your brownies or carrots in your pasta sauce, but don’t hide that fact. Tell your kids what’s in their food so they can learn to love vegetables on their merits. Otherwise you send the message that vegetables are something to be endured instead of enjoyed.

    As for that commercial? Veggies or not, a can of Chef Boyardee is in no way “secretly nutritious.” Yikes.

    Spoonfed: Raising kids to think about the food they eat

  2. What goes around comes around. As a parent who has been raising 3 daughters for 20 years now, I can tell you from firsthand experience that your kids are watching everything you say and do. Want to lose crediblity with your kids? Be sneaky and deceptive around food! This is why I wrote an Ebook about picky eaters called Winning the Picky Eater Wars.

  3. Pingback: Stealth veggies: Yes or no? | Spoonfed

  4. cathy

    I am actually all about sneaking in vegetables, BUT I always, always have unhidden vegetables on the plate too. And actually, when I sneak in veggies, it’s usually because I like the flavor better. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with the sneaking as long as you’re also countering with unhidden vegetables too.

    But the Chef Boyardee stuff? That’s just wrong. I grew up eating the stuff, but my kids think that it’s disgusting, thankfully!

    • Hi Cathy
      I like your pragmatic approach. It is good to introduce kids to the wonderful and colorful world of veggies by making them visible. When you do that, it is also good to actually have them start eating them as part of a recipe where they may not be so visible.

      As for the Chef Boyardee stuff, we don’t even touch it. I think it is deceptive marketing at its best because their products are full of salt, fat and even sugar.

  5. Sneaking veggies doesn’t teach kids anything. I don’t think they’ll be pureeing spinach and putting it into their cupcakes when they go off to college or out on their own. I agree that veggies should be in plain sight, and kids should grow up seeing them that way. I hate the fact that parents are being fooled into thinking products like Chef Boyardee are healthy staples because they contain some whole grains and pureed veggies.

  6. Angela A. Koendarfer

    I would have to agree. Hiding veggies in your kid’s food doesn’t do anything but disguise the food. We make a veggie each and every night for dinner and I always put a little bit on each of my kid’s plates and they are expected to eat it. My daughter will tell you “I gotta eat all my vegetables so I can get big and strong like Daddy and Mommy.” and she is absolutely right. She actually prefers a side of brocolli over a side of fries when we go out to eat and that is rather impressive. My oldest isn’t so much of a veggie guy, but we still offer it to him and expect him to make the right choice. They don’t have to eat a lb of veggies, but a little variety every day is good.

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