Q&A With The Sneaky Chef
From snacks to weeknight meals, your kids can enjoy eating healthy! Find out tips and tricks from mom and cookbook author Missy Chase Lapine.
Healthy Kids' Recipes
What is your definition of a healthy recipe for kids?
A recipe is only healthy if you can get kids to eat it! By starting with tried-and-true favorites that kids already love ( macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets) and hiding healthy ingredients inside, you're sure to have a winner. This is what differentiates Sneak Chef recipes from the other "healthy" recipes out there.
How do you hide nutrients in kid-friendly recipes?
I actually have 13 Sneaky Chef "methods of disguise;" the most famous of which is to puree superfoods–such as carrots, yams, whole grains, beans, broccoli, spinach, and blueberries–and hide them in kids' favorite foods (try my Barbell Burgers or Power Pizza). The other methods include decoys (like a few rainbow sprinkles or chocolate chips) to make foods look totally fun and kid-friendly, plus healthy substitutes for common ingredients.
What's the No. 1 question you get from parents?
"How can I get my child to eat veggies without a fight?" By slipping superfoods into meals, kids get to experience what real nutrition feels like. As a result, they are more open to trying these foods in other dishes and even straight up. What's more, parents feel great that kids are getting some real nourishment. This brings peace back to the dinner table so kids can learn about healthy foods in an environment conducive to learning.
The Perfect Lunchbox
If you were packing the perfect lunchbox, what would it include?
I go for foods that keep my kids full and energized, so they're able to concentrate for post-lunch lessons and after-school activities. Ideally, the contents include a love note (I'm a mush ball, I know), water, lean protein (such as a turkey breast sandwich or a low-fat "Greek" yogurt), a handful of almonds, strawberries, or blueberries, and a nutritious "treat" such as a Sneaky Chef granola bar or cookie.
Are there healthy snacks that won't spoil dinner?
One of the biggest benefits to being a Sneaky Chef is that it solves problems exactly like this one. No longer do snacks have to be regarded as evils to be avoided. Instead, because they have real nutritional value, they become part of a truly healthy and balanced diet. For example, my signature Brainy Brownies have half the fat, calories, and sugar of a traditional brownie, plus a solid serving of spinach, whole grains, and blueberries.
Between homework and activities, how can parents create quick and easy, healthy
Sneaky Chef: My philosophy is, "Cook once, eat twice!" I make a couple of recipes from the same set of ingredients, and freeze meals for later. I also prep ingredients such as purees on Sunday or when I have a few extra minutes. This way, I'm set to put together great meals during the busy week.
Kids With Allergies
What are some tips for making healthy foods for children with allergies?
Make them look and taste as close to "normal" as possible, so that even children who don't have allergies eat and enjoy them. The key is to find substitutes that perform well. For egg replacement in some baked goods, I use a combination of cornstarch and arrowroot powder. For wheat flour replacement, my gluten-free flour blend consists of brown rice and tapioca flours with potato starch.
Healthy Party Foods
For birthdays and other celebrations, is it possible to make healthy treats for kids?
It is easy to whip up healthy treats that taste decadent! And believe me, adults love them just as much as kids. Why not add some sweet potatoes, carrots, and even wheat germ to your child's next birthday cake? It will be moister, taste fantastic, and have less sugar, fats, and calories. And desserts like chocolate pudding and are great hiding places for nutritional winners like avocado!
Recipe: Carrot Cupcakes