For a long time my eldest daughter shunned anything green (orange, red or yellow). I'd put chopped veg on her plate and she would protest (loudly), convince her little sister to eat it for her (quietly, behind my back) or nibble it while putting on an Oscar-worthy performance of being poisoned.
Over the years I tried a lot of different strategies to up her veg intake. I put veg in sauce (cue accusations of treachery as she screwed up her face "has this sauce got CAPSICUM in it?!") I added hummus to plates of chopped carrots (she dipped her finger in the hummus and left the carrots) and I even made cakes that included serves of veg ("This brownie tastes weird, mum.")
And then one day, she changed. And suddenly, capsicum, carrots, iceberg lettuce and celery were very much on the menu. Tomatoes, mushrooms, kale and cucumber are all still poison as far as she's concerned – but hey progress.
During my daughter's fussy phase I tried a lot of different things to get her to eat her veg. But one "trick" I missed, was smothering her green stuff in frosting.
It's a trick that food manufacturer Kraft are on to. Launching 'Salad Frosting' this week they said, "kids will eat anything with frosting, right?"
"It's a match made for dinnertime bliss. Now, convincing children to eat salad, broccoli and carrots may be a whole lot easier. Just add Kraft Salad 'Frosting'."
The product isn't actual frosting (phew), its just Kraft 'Classic Ranch Dressing' packaged in individual colourful sachets and disguised as frosting.
Look, I can see the logic. But there are numerous reasons that so called 'Salad Frosting' is a truly terrible idea.
First of all the concept of 'Salad Frosting' is pretty condescending. It assumes that kids are so sugar obsessed that they'd rather have fake frosting than an actual salad dressing. If the salad dressing tastes good then let's just call it salad dressing. Kids aren't stupid.
And, while there is of course nothing wrong with salad dressing, 'Salad Frosting' encourages children to smother their fresh veg in it rather than exploring the way different things taste on their own.
By giving kids 'Salad Frosting' we are also implying that if you don't like something you should eat it anyway. But inevitably we're all different and we all have different taste. I don't like asparagus – I don't load it up with salad frosting and shovel it down anyway, I just don't eat it – and that's ok.
On top of this, the idea that our veg isn't edible without metaphorical sprinkles also sets kids up for a lifetime of thinking salad is the boring option.
But the thing that irks me most of all though is the sheer amount of waste that 'Salad Frosting' could generate. Introducing salad dressing in single use plastic is irresponsible at a time when many families are actively trying to reduce landfill.
Clearly I won't be spending any money on 'salad frosting' – I'll keep letting my kids choose the veg they enjoy and save the frosting (and I mean actual frosting, not salad dressing) for cakes – the way nature intended.