July 14, 2024
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Sneaky Chef Products a Hit at Kosherfest

Many new healthy and tasty food products were on display at Kosherfest this year, including dried fruit leather, fiber-filled crackers and brownies made from chickpeas. Sneaky Chef was one of the product lines which stood out. It was created by Missy Chase Lapine, a self-made chef. Her premise regarding food is “good stuff” in and “bad stuff” out. For example, fruits and vegetables are added in, and hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup are kept out.

As a registered dietitian, I found this to be important because many children, as well as adults, lack in their daily intake of fruits and vegetables. The recommendation for young children is a minimum of three servings of vegetables and two fruits daily. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, which is important for good digestive health, and vitamins and minerals, which act as antioxidants and are vital in proper bodily function. For example, vitamin A, found in red bell peppers, contributes to healthy eyes, and the iron in spinach is essential in red blood cell function. Replacing high-calorie snacks with fruits and vegetables can decrease childhood obesity by reducing caloric intake and increasing fiber. Therefore, the idea of sneaking fruits and vegetables into kids’ food makes everyone happy.

The notion of Sneaky Chef came to Missy when her daughter Samantha developed severe food allergies at a young age. She struggled to find healthy food options that appealed to her daughter. This led to the publication of her New York Times-bestselling cookbook “The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals” in 2007. It offers a multitude of recipes with hidden vegetables, fruits and whole grains, appealing to picky eaters who normally refuse to eat these foods. The recipes include cauliflower mac and cheese, and hamburgers with hidden blueberries. Her goal is to teach kids about the value of these healthy foods, as well as eventually eating fruits and vegetables in their whole form. Five cookbooks, all titled Sneaky Chef, have followed the first, each with a different theme.

The cookbooks segued into the creation of a line of food products. It is based upon Sneaky Chef’s original premise, hiding healthy ingredients into kid-friendly food products. I personally sampled her no-nut butter at Kosherfest, made from yellow split peas. It was delicious, and, even better, it comes in individual-size containers, called grab and go. This is in addition to the standard size jar. What I love most about it is the convenience of sending it to school for lunch or snack, as well as each small container labeled as nut free. This creates less confusion for schools as to whether or not it should be allowed on school grounds, with so many nut allergies present in children these days. The chocolate version is intended to be a nut-free version of Nutella, and contains less than half the sugar. It is made from yellow split peas, as well, but you would never know it from the delicious taste. The pasta sauce is an additional product Missy offers, and comes in two flavors, Smooth Red and Parmesan Romano. Eight varieties of vegetables are hidden in each jar, including squash, cauliflower and sweet potato puree.

The Sneaky Chef products are a great addition to any child’s diet, although it doesn’t replace fruits and vegetables in their whole form, which is something Missy stresses. It’s merely a stepping stone to the creation of a healthier diet for your family, especially with picky eaters. Coupons for the products can be found on TheSneakyChef.com, along with helpful tips and recipes.

By Stephanie Greenspan, MS, RD

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