Why "Sneaking" Nutritious Foods Into Your Kids' Meals Is Actually Not a Good Idea

Getting kids to eat nutritious foods is a challenge for many parents, and sometimes it seems like the only option is to sneak them in. You know, the classic hidden veggies in mac and cheese, fibs about what's really in the spaghetti sauce, and lightweight bribes for the sake of getting kids to finish up the green portion of their dinner. But according to Food Network chef, father, and Juicy Juice Flavor Expert Jeff Mauro, that's actually one of the worst things you can do. When it comes to feeding young kids, honesty is the best policy!

"I do not believe in the sneak-in method. I think that is dishonest and only leads to negative effects," Jeff told POPSUGAR over the phone. "I'm a firm believer in telling [the kid] exactly what's in it. Just be like, 'There's a lot of flavorful stuff in here. This is salmon.'" Jeff confessed that for the first couple of years of his son's life, he'd refer to salmon as "pink chicken." He said, "Why try to dupe your own kid? It'll just backfire. Just say, 'It's salmon. It's a pretty cool fish. Just try a couple bites.'"

The key to letting your kids explore new foods is to encourage them to try things out, but not to force them to finish all of it. "Don't push them to eat the whole thing. Take a soft approach," Jeff said. Nobody wants to grow up ordering the "pink chicken" instead of the salmon, so start your kids on the right foot. You just might be surprised by how many vegetables they'll grow to love if you set the right example.