Do you lie to your children about food?

Have you ever found yourself having this conversation?

Parent (as aloof and noncommittal as possible): I just made some yummy ____________ (fill in the blank here). Do you want to try some?

Child (emphatically): No.

Parent (puzzled): Why not?

Child (in that duh tone they so often use): I don’t like it.

Parent (completely exasperated): How do you know you don’t like it? You’ve never even tried it!

Child (also completely exasperated): I just know…

Seriously?! What, are kids born psychic? They know every food on the planet and whether or not they’ll like it before they even taste it?

With three kids, I am not afraid to admit that sometimes I don’t really tell them what they’re eating.

Like rhubarb for example. I grew up eating it, so I love the flavor. Plus it’s rich in potassium, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and calcium. Only problem is, when we were living in Connecticut we had a rhubarb plant growing in our yard and after waxing poetic about how much I liked it, my kids picked it and tried eating it like a stalk of celery. Ew… My mouth puckers at the very thought! Now they are convinced they don’t like it.

So what do I do? I sneak it into a food that they love like homemade applesauce. By adding some strawberries and rhubarb, I get the taste that I love and the nutrients they need into them and they just think they’re eating Strawberry Applesauce and they’re none the wiser. (At least until my daughter reads this and tells the other two little piglets…)

Strawberry-Rhubarb Applesauce

5 large Gala apples, cut into chunks
1 c. strawberries, fresh or defrosted frozen
1 c. rhubarb, fresh or defrosted frozen
¼ c. water
½ – ¾ c. sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Combine apples, strawberries, rhubarb, water and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until the apples and rhubarb are tender.

Remove from the heat, add the cinnamon and nutmeg and puree in a blender or food processor until you achieve the desired consistency. You can add a little more water or sugar here if it’s too thick or not quite sweet enough for you.

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  1. 1

    Cute! I would totally eat it! It sounds awesome :)

  2. 2

    Oh. I want to make this for ME. Forget about hiding rhubarb from Dudette. It looks fantastic! But yes, I do mis-truth in her direction on a regular basis when it comes to food. And cleanliness. And sleep. Ok, about everything. We have to. We’re parents and we love our kids, right?

  3. 3

    Well at least dudette insures that you are creative in the kitchen, but secret trick or not-I would like to try this myself! Love the blend of fruits-yum!

  4. 4

    Sounds wonderful. I could eat the entire bowl.

  5. 5

    Heck yes I lie! : ) Did you ever catch my Dinosaur Pasta Post… yeah.. you can figure that one out. My son is extremely picky, but he loves dinosaurs. I sneak veggies in all the time. I love zucchini because I can grate it into stuff and they never see it or taste it. I love the little screenplay above. You did a really good job. : ) This applesauce/rhubarb/strawberry looks absolutely delicious! Mmmmmm!

  6. 6

    I really love this combination!

  7. 7

    What a beautiful rosy applesauce! No wonder they love eating it. I don’t think it’s actually lying if you’re just kind of vague about the ingredients. (And I’m vague as often as I have to be!)

  8. 8

    I was wondering if they read your blog yet. I suspect by the time they’re old enough to be interested in reading the blog, they’ll decide they like rhubarb! I know I like rhubarb…and this lovely recipe! Thanks and Buzzed!

  9. 9

    Oh, how delicious! I love the idea of this combination. And I still have to hem and haw when my big kids ask me about the specifics of dinner…they sure have their opinions :)

  10. 10

    For the most part I have gotten pretty lucky and the kids eat anything I give them without question. It’s really quite endearing as my son will eat anything I make even if he doesn’t like the taste as he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings because he sees all the work that goes into making it. :) But that being said I do slip flax into cookies, pancakes etc and when asked what it is I say it’s just something to make the batter better. What they don’t know wont hurt them. The applesauce sounds fantastic.

  11. 11

    Yes, I lie all the time!! If it gets them to eat what they should, that is all that is important in my opinion. I will fess up after he has been eating it and liking it for a few times. But not until it is firmly planted in his mind that he loves it will I tell him what is actually in there.

  12. 12

    Oh, I lie to my kids all the time! I think every mom has to stretch the truth a bit to get their kids to eat, especially fruits and vegetables! Betcha they don’t say “I don’t like it” to chocolate cake! What they don’t know is that there is zucchini all up in there. Oh, I’m sneaky, alright!

  13. 13

    Aren’t the kids the sweetest thing?:))) Well it’s like I am reading my day before meal is served..:) You are totally right, and I could’t agree more ..
    Your Strawberry-Rhubarb Applesauce sound incredible, my kids might eat this..
    Oh one time I made applesauce and it didn’t look like from the know the question and reaction”eyyuuuu what is this?” hahhaa
    Thank you for sharing this…I just let my oldest one read it and he thought that I wrote this:))

  14. 14

    Cute post! And so sneaky…I’ll be sure to keep this in mind if we ever decide to have kids. Until then I think I’ll be enjoying this applesauce just fine on my own!

  15. 15

    ha ha ha Wow, my three-year-old and i have the exact conversation (word for word) everyday….. :)

  16. 16

    Well….if my boys asked “what’s in it?”….and I gave a list of ingredients and omitted what I thought they wouldn’t like….is that lying? Lately, they ask…”is there lemon zest in it?” And I reply “lemon zest?” in a voice that makes it sound like I’m saying…what are you crazy? And then I just move on. Is that lying? LOL Well then yes! I lie all the time! But I can’t imagine who would question anything about this applesauce! I would love the combination of flavors and it just looks so pretty!

  17. 17

    Strawberry and Rhubarb are paired so perfectly!

  18. 18

    I am a huge fan of strawberry and rhubarb together. I am not sure how my kids would respond to rhubarb, but if they taste before they ask (which with hungry teenagers happens often!) they would be fine. I sometimes omit ingredients when telling my kids what is in things. With one of my sons it does not work. He is like a micro surgeon with his food, picking out the tiniest pieces of mushrooms!

  19. 19

    Yum Yum Yum Yum. I love rhubarb so much and would pretty much do anything to get my hands on a sweet rhubarb treat. This recipe looks so tasty!

  20. 20

    Hehehheh… I do the same. Kids easily judge food by the “look” of it and often times they like it and want to eat more after I force them to try one bite. However, obvious vegetables etc I have to hide it or chop into small pieces that they are either too lazy to pick or can’t see. They just need to know that they are eating it and tastes just fine. I often roll veggies in meat, wrap up in dumplings etc so they are at least exposed to the taste and sometimes “look” of the veggies inside. Your strawberry-rhubarb applesauce sounds delicious already and I’m sure my kids would love this!

  21. 21

    Hee-hee, very cute… love the parent/child convo. I think the best guidance I continue to give parents is to keep modeling healthy, expansive eating for their kids (there’s a great quote: “children don’t always listen but they never fail to imitate”) :) Gorgeous applesauce Jen.

  22. 22

    Kids are so difficult about eating! My nephew (2 years) is in food therapy because all he eats is yogurt and a select handful of fruits. He won’t even touch french fries! This looks like a winner though. I’ll have to give it a try next time they are in town. :)


  1. […] when I made my Strawberry Rhubarb Applesauce to sneak a little nutrition into my children, I made a double batch so that I could rinse and repeat […]

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