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Sneaky Chef Recipes Review

Updated on February 24, 2013
My two favorite Sneaky Chef cookbooks
My two favorite Sneaky Chef cookbooks | Source

The Sneaky Chef Cookbook Series

The Sneaky Chef series of cookbooks, by Missy Chase Lapine, claim they can help get your picky eaters to get more fruits and veggies in their diets. We have two little ones at home, ages 2 and 4, so we are all a about healthy eating. When my husband heard about The Sneaky Chef from a friend, he immediately bought a copy. The idea of sneaking great nutrition into unexpected places was very appealing. Getting more fruits and veggies in your kids can't be a bad idea, right?

What Is The Sneaky Chef

The Sneaky Chef is about creatively disguising the most important super foods inside your kids favorite meals. By adding a few simple make-ahead purees into common kid-friendly dishes, kids get more fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Examples of “Sneaky” recipes include: No Harm Chicken Parm, Power Pizza, Incognito Burritos, Guerrilla Grilled Cheese, Brainy Brownies, and Health-by-Chocolate Cookies.

Of course, it's not all about the kids either. There is also a Sneak Chef cookbook for the man of the house, featuring hearty dishes such as meatballs, tenderloin and chili. These meals successfully cloak ingredients that specifically target men’s health issues: foods proven to help the heart, lower cholesterol, ensure a healthy prostate, and other concerns.

Does The Sneaky Chef Work?

When we first got the cookbook, we went puree crazy, making most of the purees featured in the cookbooks, blueberries, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes - our freezer was starting to look like a rainbow.

Every weekend, we would use our KitchenAid food processor to whip up batches of purees in advance. Honestly, it was a lot like making homemade baby food. A lot. We would steam and puree fresh veggies from the market and freeze them in ice cube trays. Once frozen, we filled freezer bags of purees in every color. That way, when we were cooking later in the week, we could just pull out a few ice cube trays and add them to our recipes.

Fortunately, my kids were already what I would consider healthy eaters, so it wasn't about getting them to try new things. For us, it was more about getting more fruits and veggies into everything - upping the nutritional content of every meal we serve. To that end, it was a huge success. We were eating more fruits and veggies than we had been and loving every bite.

Why Some People Hate The Sneaky Chef

I echo other reviewers who question the idea of hiding healthy foods instead of teaching your children to enjoy them. However, this is certainly a way to sneak some vegetables in while you are attempting the teaching. For me it's not about "sneaking" vegetables, but getting more nutritional quality across the board. So, our meals are all served with vegetables on the side and in the main dish. I guess I don't think there is such a thing as "too many vegetables."

There are also some questions about how much nutrition is left in the food once you boil it down. My thought on that is that brownies with spinach are more nutritious than brownies without.

Finally, some readers feel the volume of veggies added to a recipe aren't really enough to make a difference. Again, my thoughts are any additional veggie is a good veggie. But, I also found myself often sneaking more more veggies than the recipe called for to further increase the nutritional content. I like to push the limits when it comes to vegetables, I suppose.

The Verdict

How do you feel about sneaking vegetables into your kids dishes?

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How Our Lifestyle Has Changed

The Sneaky Chef came at a good time for my family. With two young kids, the demands on our time were growing as quickly as their appetites. The majority of household duties were shifting to my amazing stay-at-home-dad husband. These duties included doing most of the cooking.

We started by making a bunch of purees every few weeks. In no time we had mastered the art of purees and were putting them into our own recipes and developing our own puree recipes.

The great thing about The Sneaky Chef is that it made my husband confident with how to successfully add veggies to almost anything. He has a great feel for what will and won't work when it comes to modifying recipes for added nutritional benefit. Now, almost every meal at our house is brimming with veggies.

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