If you ask my mom about her greatest parenting accomplishments, getting my sister and me to fight over steamed spinach as kids by lying to us is certainly one of them. She told us they were ‘sweet leaves.’ I mean, c’mon, what kid isn’t going to want to eat sweet leaves?

As I recall there was never enough spinach at dinnertime. One measly scoop? THAT’S IT? I may or may not have bartered with my sister to get her share of the green stuff to.

But here’s the thing. Spinach is not sweet. In fact if I think about it too hard it’s really not that good at all. But I acquired a voracious taste for it as such a young age that it’s downright tasty to me as an adult. Same goes for asparagus and spaghetti squash, however I was never able to board the brussel sprout express.


I learned from my mom’s infinite wisdom I started to lie to Addie about what I was actually feeding her. “Those aren’t just any oranges! They’re baby oranges! AND YOU’RE A GIANT!” was one of the first food fibs I told her about clementines. Same lie worked for broccoli (TINY TREES!) and baby carrots (YOU’RE THE BIGGEST BUNNY EVER!) Or when my grandma would go out every Thursday to play bingo  and she’d say “It’s just a matching game, not gambling!” One day while at lunch with my sister I jokingly held a chopstick full of seaweed in front of her tiny face, not only did she eat it, it’s one of her favorite foods. The other night I tried to pass eggplant off as chicken, and she was falling for it, until her dad caught on and threw a royal fit about me trying to feed him something as delicious and healthy as eggplant. HOW DARE I.

While I’ve never quite embraced vegetables as dessert (I’m looking at you pumpkin pie and zucchini bread) and I certainly can’t hop on the Jessica Seinfield purred beets in my meatloaf bandwagon, I have no problem grating a couple of carrots and adding them to my spaghetti sauce or leaving out a tray full of vegetables for the the circling vultures while I finish cooking dinner.

So, any tips on how to lie to my family convince the people I live with that healthy foods are where it’s at? Addie’s beginning to see through the whole “YOU’RE A GIANT!” lie. Bummer.


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DISCLOSURE: This post number two of  four sponsored posts I’ll be doing with Hillshire Farm and their new “So Good They’ll Think it’s for Them” campaign. I have been compensated for my time and participation, not for promoting a particular product. GO MEAT!


  1. I actually love Hillshire Farms! I got to speak with them at Blogher last year and they are awesome!

    Casey Reply:

    @Molly, They had the sun there last year didn’t they? I hear he was…well…sunny. 🙂

  2. We just offer it at every meal, every day. There are always fruits and veggies on the table, they always take a “no thank you” bite, and that’s just how it is. No lying, no hiding, no faking it. Sometimes they eat it. Sometimes they don’t. But it’s always there.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kait, A friend of mine says she takes the “Kiss it lick it bite it” approach. I’ve adopted it and it works fantastically well.

  3. Nicole ar Arrows Sent Forth says:

    I’ve been dumping old jars of veggie baby food in smoothies and my 2 year old hasn’t suspected a thing.

    Casey Reply:

    @Nicole ar Arrows Sent Forth, Ten gold stars for sneakiness!

  4. When you figure this out, please please please let me know. http://chosenchaos.blogspot.com/2011/07/liar-liar-dinner-on-fire.html

    Casey Reply:

    @Jamie, It’s a little weird that we keep posting on the same topics, no? *cue twilight zone music*

    Jamie Reply:

    @Casey, music cued… great minds think alike!

  5. We call english peas “Power Dots”, carrots “giggle sticks” and broccoli “fairy trees”. That’s not lying; that’s having fun with food!

  6. Once I didn’t chop the romaine leaves, left them whole and big. Told my kids it was “GIANT SALAD” which they ate happily (dipping the GIANT SALAD in their dressing of choice.)

  7. I tell my kids they are dinosaurs and that the broccoli are trees for the dinos to eat. Also, I say “don’t eat me, don’t eat me” in a super high pitched voice while shaking a piece of broccoli and my kids cant wait to gobble them up.

  8. No amount of cajoling worked for us. But starvation in the middle of the day in first grade was a gift from God. Nothing makes a green bean look as appetizing as an otherwise empty school lunch tray.

  9. I told my son he’s not allowed to eat veggies till he’s five. He’s been asking about it lately so I said, “Well, I guess I’ll let you try a few peas.” And he ate five. This is HUGE. Typically he eats a half a single pea, and honest to God vomits. I do sneak them in everything from meatballs to smoothies.

  10. I used to tell my son that he had to eat 3 bites of anything I made. No lying, no games. We took the “man up” approach. Some things stuck, others did not. Now he is 7 and eats more/ wider variety of veggies than many adults. He puts soy sauce on almost all cooked veggies so I buy low sodium brands. He really likes raw veggies and will munch those like crazy. He eats spinach leaves like potato chips. He just started ceasar salads.

  11. sweet leaves doesn’t even make sense. That’s the best she could come up with? ha!

  12. We make, er, encourage, our kids to try everything at least once. I’ve given passes on squid, octopus and tofu. Everything else is fair game. That said, our kids love red fruit, orange fruit and green fruit, as well as trees with snow [watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and broccoli with ranch).

    My kids totally eat more varieties of food than I do, thanks to their dad. (i.e., seafood – blah!)

  13. I take the kids shopping with me to the open market (the shuk, it’s like a crazy farmer’s market everyday) and we all pick something to together to eat. Then they watch me cook/prepare it and help if they can (they are 3, 2, and 1, so there’s a limit). Then they try it. My husband also, who is a hugely picky eater. Some things they like (corgettes, plums, berries, carrots) some things not so much (beets, cabbage, parsley) and many things it depends on the preparation. but we try one new thing per week. This week is kohlrabi (I don’t know how to spell it in English, only Hebrew, I hope it’s right).

  14. My son loves raspberries mostly because we call them raspberry hates and put them on our fingers before we eat them. However, I could not get him to eat broccoli despite calling them dinosaur trees. You win some you lose some!