Home Weekend WTF? Weekend WTF: Eat Your [Powdered] Vegetables!

Weekend WTF: Eat Your [Powdered] Vegetables!

by Erika Nicole Kendall

This is all kinds of funny to me. So, after Kraft was done reading your faces to decide what you wanted to eat, they decided that you needed more vegetables. Are powdered vegetables still, um, vegetables? At all?

From Gothamist:

Kraft has started sneaking powdered vegetables into their classic macaroni and cheese in an attempt to get kids to eat healthier, company reps announced, a move that has some health advocates riled up.

“Mom is looking for ways to sneak veggies into her kids’ diet,” said Kraft rep Alberto Huerta—so, naturally, the company began adding a half-serving of freeze-dried, powdered cauliflower to the pasta flour in their neon-colored childhood favorite. The company claims the cauliflower-infused noodles taste just like the classic version, and it’s been selling quite well in Canada, of all places.

Of course, Kraft isn’t the first brand to start slipping a little something into their mass-marketed junk: Chef Boyardee includes enough tomato in some of their canned pasta to qualify for half a cup of vegetables per serving, and Ragu has some sauces that claim two servings of veggies. And of course, we can’t forget Jessica Seinfeld, who wrote (and was unsuccessfully sued for plagiarizing) a cookbook called Deceptively Delicious, which advocates pureeing spinach into your child’s brownie batter.

But Marion Nestle, a professor at NYU’s department of nutrition, food studies and public health, isn’t having any of this nonsense: “What a silly idea,” she said, pointing out that freeze-dried vegetables lose their nutrients. Ellen Satter, a registered dietitian and author of Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense, has said that “If you are dishonest with children about their food, they become suspicious, cautious and reluctant to try new food.”

It’d be too much to ask to just do one of the 1,000 other sensible things. Nooooo, they’ve got to turn it into powder in order to incorporate it into their foods. Powder. Powder. Good grief.

Eat up, y’all. Or not.

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Paula July 23, 2011 - 11:15 AM

I lament those commercials that show a parent, denying or evading that there are vegetables in something (craptastically-overprocessed) – I think it was actually for a Chef Boyardee product.

We should NOT be tricking our kids into eating fruits and vegetables. If we continue to present real food as if there’s something wrong with it, that plants a very destructive seed. It’s immensely problematic.

And I would love to hear a rep from Kraft try to convince me that powdered/processed cauli holds the same nutritional weight as its origin. Don’t worry … I’ll wait.

Melissa July 23, 2011 - 10:09 PM

Powdered vegetables…I think I’ll take a pass on that one. Besides I suspect that once the vegetables have been processed they’ve not retained any of their beneficial nutrients. So why bother? Well, I guess this is another attempt to fool people into believing that the product being sold is healthy. Anyway, why is everyone trying to demonize vegetables? Why do we have slip them in under the radar? It’s just ridiculous.

Bannef July 24, 2011 - 7:57 PM

Ick. And while I do find Jessica Seinfeld’s idea of blending spinach into your kids brownies kind of clever, Ellen Sater’s last comment brings up a great point. If I have kids one day I’ll probably just make them green smoothies and let them gross their friends out with their “slime” instead. 😀

Serenity July 25, 2011 - 9:52 AM

I powder my own vegetables. When produce in the refrigerator looks like it will go bad, I will put it in the dehydrator. Afterward I blend it up and store it to add to smoothies or juices. I just can’t bare to waste anything.

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