Review and Recipes: Deceptively Delicious—Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food

It’s a battle as epic as the Hatfields versus the McCoys. The North versus the South. Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader (you know before Daddy Darth came over to the good side).

Getting kids to eat their vegetables can make mealtime a pain. My daughter’s anti-veggie stance has been the subject of calls to her doctor, friends, and of course, the grandmothers.

My mother, the original BookWorm Mama, searched her shelf for a solution. She handed over her copy of Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious—Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food.

Seinfeld covers entrees to desserts with pictures so delicious my mouth literally watered. The recipes are simple and most take less than 40 minutes to prepare. The beauty and deception of each dish is the puree.

Deceptively Delicious shows you how to prepare, cook, and process vegetable and fruit purees that are incorporated into each dish to up the nutrition quotient. See broccoli puree how-to below.

Purees are portioned and placed in the freezer for convenience. As the author points out, you could make a puree as you need it for your recipe, but premade purees work best in the real world.

Whipped squash might conjure up thoughts of squash stew, squash soup, and other yawn-inducing meals. Au contraire, butternut squash is used in the macaroni and cheese. Beets are the secret to pink pancakes. And the gingerbread spice cake sneaks in broccoli and carrots.

There is no question which dish I will try first. It’s got to be the chicken nuggets with broccoli puree. You can find the recipes for chicken nuggets and frozen yogurt pops below. I’ll get to cooking and post my results soon.

I would definitely recommend Deceptively Delicious to any parent who needs help getting vegetables into the family diet.

Do your kids eat their vegetables? What are your tips for healthy meals?

DECEPTIVELY DELICIOUS: SIMPLE SECRETS TO GET YOUR KIDS EATING GOOD FOOD by JESSICA SEINFELD. Copyright (c) 2007 by Departure Productions. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.

Broccoli Puree How-To

Prep: Cut into florets.

Cook: Steam for 6 to 7 minutes. Florets should be tender but still bright green (if they turn an olive green color, they’re overcooked.)

Puree: In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes. Add a few teaspoons of water if needed for a smooth, creamy texture.

Chicken Nuggets (with broccoli or spinach or sweet potato or beet)

I don’t know any kid who doesn’t like chicken nuggets. Just don’t tell them what’s hidden inside!

Prep: 10 minutes Total: 20 minutes Serves 4 Packable

  • 1 cup whole-wheat, white, or panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup broccoli or spinach or sweet potato or beet puree (See Broccoli Puree How-To above)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken tenders, rinsed, dried, and cut into small chunks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmesan, paprika, garlic, and onion powder on the paper or foil, and mix well with your fingers.

2. In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture.

3. Sprinkle the chicken chunks with salt. Dip the chunks into the egg mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.

4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut into a piece to check that it’s cooked through.) Serve warm.

Frozen Yogurt Pops (with berries)

Your kids think they’re just getting a treat, but these popsicles are a great low-calorie, lowfat alternative to high-fat ice cream. If you’re using raspberries, use ¾ cup sugar, because raspberries are tart.

Prep: 10 minutes Freeze: 120 minutes Makes 8 popsicles

  • 2 cups plain lowfat yogurt
  • 2 cups frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or cherries), thawed in the microwave for 1 minute
  • ½ to ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

Combine the yogurt, fruit, and sugar in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Joy: Each popsicle (only 100 calories!) contains less than 1 gram of fat. Calcium-rich yogurt helps build strong bones and teeth, and berries add a little vitamin C–an antioxidant that helps boost the immune system and aids in healing.

DECEPTIVELY DELICIOUS: SIMPLE SECRETS TO GET YOUR KIDS EATING GOOD FOOD by JESSICA SEINFELD. Copyright (c) 2007 by Departure Productions. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.

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About Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson is a Dallas-based freelance writer who specializes in college planning, parenting, women’s lifestyle, education, and self-help. But she's always hungry to munch on new topics. In addition to writing for The BookWormMama blog, Nicole provides content, copywriting and proofreading services for various publications.


Review and Recipes: Deceptively Delicious—Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food — 14 Comments

    • Jackie, we are in the same boat. My husband hates his veggies too. I have definitely put some great books back on the shelf without taking action. Let’s make a pact to make at least one item from the book in the next 30 days. Deal?

    • Thank you Joy. That is awesome that your kids enjoy veggies. I’m hoping my daughter will start liking them as she gets older. For now, we’ll sneak vegetables in and see what happens.

    • Hi ya Rachel. That’s so good that your kids eat vegetables. You guys are starting to make me think it’s my cooking…hmmm…hope it’s not my cooking. :-)

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