Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jessica Seinfeld Syndrome

When Jessica Seinfeld’s somewhat controversial book about hiding veggies in your child’s food came out a few years ago I was definitely not on board. Hiding vegetables in baked treats seemed a bit off to me – wouldn’t it be better to work on encouraging kids to try a wide range of fruits and veggies? How about looking at how nutritionists suggest introducing different tastes and textures? But I didn’t have kids and as my friends with toddlers and preschoolers have assured me, it’s not always possible to get your child to eat their veggies no matter how hard you try. If baking broccoli into brownies or whatever it is works, why not?

Looking at my own life, I am starting to see that I need to focus more on eating fresh fruits and veggies. This isn’t a new problem for me. Before I met my husband I pretty much subsisted on frozen dinners and mini-desserts. I had the occasional salad and tried to have a few pieces of fruit every week, but I was getting a big, fat fail on overall nutrition.

Enter my super-fit, personal trainer husband who quickly took over meal planning and execution – he got me eating a protein-packed breakfast (no greasy meat, though), nutritious lunches, lots of salads and meals that were teaming with veggies. He also made sure I had fruit in my lunches and that there were always cut veggies in the fridge for snacks. It was fantastic – until it made me sick.

Turns out, I don’t digest raw veggies all that well. And I ended up at the doctor’s office thinking I had gallstones or something worse before discovering that I can’t eat that much broccoli or cauliflower without serious stomach issues. So we dialed it back. And I was still eating healthy with a few tweaks – but I’ve definitely realized that my veggie consumption is way down. I hit all the marks when it comes to whole grains, lean proteins and even fruit (although sometimes I slide on that too), but because I’m limited in the veggies that I can eat in any quantity, I tend to skimp there.

I do still eat a salad every night made with dark, leafy greens (hubby’s rule number one) and he is always putting veggies into the things he makes for lunch (currently roasted mushrooms and a frozen veggie mix including carrots, edamame, beans and a little broccoli and cauliflower with a small side of sweet potato), but it doesn’t feel like enough. Today I brought some raw carrots as an add-on, but  when it comes to getting the number of servings suggested I’m still not making the grade.

So I’ve been reconsidering Jessica Seinfeld’s method. Should I try hiding my veggies in something else? Kale in my smoothie? Greens powder in my oatmeal? What works? What would taste good? Suggestions are readily welcomed – how do you get enough greens into your diet?

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