Missy Chase Lapine offers us a healthy new way to feed children the same old thing, with “The Sneaky Chef.” Her philosophy encompasses the principle of striking a balance by making healthy foods satisfy your children's sense of taste. She states that a bowl of “stinky cauliflower” can make you feel deprived and leave you craving something unhealthy, however, a bowl of mac and cheese, with the cheese sauce disguising a cauliflower puree could be just what moms and kids are after.
The key to most recipes in this book is boosting the vitamin content by blending and hiding healthful choices with tasty, kid friendly foods. Often this is done with sauces, purees, (from blueberries for example, to blend with syrup) juices, and broths. Once you start planning recipes with this approach, your own ideas start to flow. Don’t think you have the time to prepare puree in advance? Stock some baby food purees in the cupboard, as one of several supermarket “instant“ choices.
Missy Lapine has blended two schools of thought, one that food is pleasure and the other that food is medicine. Missy works from the understanding that food affects the way we physically feel, and mom’s food offers warmth and comfort to kids. Missy's approach to feeding kids incorporates foods to boost brain power, stabilize energy levels, and boost immunity so that they can keep playing. Her recipes have reduced amounts of refined sugar and saturated fats but Missy has worked to create recipes that offer kids “cake and allows them to eat it too.”
From my own perspective, “The Sneaky Chef,” has given me a much needed fresh start. Although, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I had the tools to try a fresh approach to healthful eating, kids can wear you down, and fast paced meal planning can become hit and miss for a good vegetable selection. I get into ruts where I stick with a few safe, boring recipes. When life gets busy, as it often does, my thinking falls into “it’s better they eat what I know they’ll like, than pass on something new.” Missy’s recipes allow me my safety plan, while tossing in a much appreciated vitamin boost, and training my kids palates to accept better food choices.
Shopping, preparing, and taste tests: The ingredients are mostly found already in your cupboard, or easily found at the grocery. Of the recipes that I have tried, myself and my more mature “child eater,” really liked them. For me, the flavors improved. No one said, "What did you put in this?" The key really is to blend and retain the expected texture.
Missy Chase Lapine, “Retain enough of the original (less healthy) ingredients so that the flavor of the final product is not different enough to keep the little ones from eating it. As long as taste, texture, and appearance remain basically the same you can get away with it.”