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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind Series: The Art Of Stealth Nutrition

By Carolyn McGraw, LifeGuide, Healthy Body

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind Series: The Art Of Stealth Nutrition

I am often asked: “How do I get children to eat (and want to eat) their vegetables?” My answer is: "Stealth Nutrition."

I grew up with a mother who was far beyond her years (and peers) in many fields, including nutrition. She made sure we ate whole grains, quality protein, few sweets - and lots of freshly grown vegetables and fruit. She was always teaching me how to make healthy meals. 

I was raised to respect food as energy. So, I decided whatever went into my body should support my body and mind. A lesson that is still with me today. 

How do we get Stealth Nutrition? How do we get (everyone) to eat their vegetables?

I would jokingly refer to my modified, nutrition-packed meals as “stealth nutrition,” when I realized even the pickiest eaters enjoyed vegetable-packed meals. I never “advertised” the meals were filled with a variety of vegetables, including how my lasagna is made with spinach noodles. From my children to adults, people would enjoy their meals and, best of all, enjoy the health benefits.  

Here are a few easy ways to include vegetables and ensure such added nutrition: 

  • Pack salads with broccoli, grated carrots, grated zucchini, beets, kale, spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper, celery, or any favorite raw vegetables + enjoy it with a nutritious salad dressing made with healthy oils (see below)
  • Cook up a delicious blend of fresh, seasonal vegetables to add variety
  • Don’t forget herbs for flavor 
  • Stuff spaghetti or a marinara sauce with vegetables, including crated carrots, sliced zucchini, leafy greens, chopped yam, mushrooms, tomatoes. Add ground beef, or turkey too.

What about dessert and sweets? How do we get Stealth Nutrition? 

Desserts are fun. Kids love them. Adults love sweets too and feel like a kid again eating them. There are ways to make them nutritious with methods we can all grow into using and enjoying. Or, they can saved be for special occasions too.

Here a few healthy dessert ideas:

  • Make banana splits with peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter mixed with honey and spread on a banana
  • Delicious truffles can be created with chopped dates, raisins, apricots, nuts, and seeds pressed into balls and rolled in cacao powder (Yum!)
  • Enjoy homemade ice cream and have your children help for fun family time together

Stealth Nutrition Equals Stealth Education for Kids

By involving children in cooking and preparing meals, it allows you to introduce "stealth education" in math, reading, science, and other lessons. Together, you’ll read recipes, calculate and modify recipes based on servings, measure ingredients, and even discuss the chemistry of food. Children are fascinated by how egg yolks act as a thickening agent and how yeast works with the protein in flour to produce a light loaf of delicious, whole grain bread.

When children are involved, they take ownership of their food and they learn life-long lessons for a healthy body, healthy mind.

Other Stealth Nutrition Ideas - For Everyone

The idea of “stealth nutrition” is to pack as much nutrition as possible into each dish at every meal. Stealth nutrition does not have to take a lot of time. It does take some planning and prep, but once the ingredients are in the pantry and refrigerator, they are easy to incorporate into any meal. 

For breakfast, oatmeal can be prepared to include ground flax seed, chia seed, nutritional yeast, fruit, and nuts. Yogurt can also be mixed in to capture important probiotics (for our gut, literally). With these ingredients, you’ll find it more satisfying and tasty than typical oatmeal served with milk and sugar.

For quick weekday lunches and dinners, we can prepare ahead and prep vegetables for a salad, or stir fry on the weekend. Then, at meal time, you’ll simply add lettuce for a delicious fresh salad. Or, add a slice of wholegrain bread and a slice of rotisserie-style chicken and you have a fast healthy meal.

Feel free to make substitutions to add variety. For instance, a white baked potato can be swapped out for nutrient-rich baked yams, or sweet potatoes. They also have the additional charm of being sweet and delicious.

And, don't forget fats and oils. For years, we heard we should cut down on them. Yet, our bodies need fats and oils; the trick is to use only the good ones. Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and sesame oil are healthy fats that support your body - and mind.

Stealth nutrition is fun and adds nutrients to everyone's diet. Start slowly by quietly adding a few grated vegetables to your regular recipes. As your family becomes more familiar, add more and more. Have Fun! You’ll soon find stealth nutrition is easy and a fun adventure!


At LifeGuides, your health and well-being are paramount with our Guides to support you in finding a nutritious path to a healthier body. They are able to suggest guidelines, insights, programs, and even be an accountability partner to keep you on track towards your goals.

By Carolyn McGraw, LifeGuide, Healthy Body 

Carolyn holds a degree in Nutrition Science and is an Educator in the field, as well as an instructor in yoga and other practices supporting both the mind and body.