10 Ways To Sneak Fruits and Vegetables In Your Familys Food

10 Ways To Sneak Some Extra Fruits and Vegetables In Your Family’s Diet

We all know by now that we should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But knowing and doing are two different things, aren’t they? Sometimes it is just not easy to get them all in there. We are constantly tempted to fill up on convenience and junk food. If your family is anything like mine, they’d much rather fill up on a bag of chips or a bowl of rice or pasta instead of trying an apple or a plate of steamed broccoli. So we’ll have to get creative. Here are a few ideas to “sneak” some extra vegetables and fruits in your family’s diet.

1. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, yogurt and ice in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder in there for good measure. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go. I like to sip mine in a thermal cup on the way to work. To make it even more appealing for your kids, use some frozen yogurt or a scoop of ice cream in the smoothie. They won’t believe that you are letting them have ice cream for breakfast.

2. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your child’s lunch box, pack some yogurt-covered raisins in your husband’s briefcase and keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning. My family loves banana chips in their breakfast cereal.

3. Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and anything else they will eat. You can even make a sub shop style vegetable sandwich by combining several different vegetables with some mayonnaise and cheese on bread.

4. Have a salad bar at dinner. Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce and let everybody create their own perfect salad.

5. Let them drink their fruits and vegetables. Keep an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices in the fridge and encourage everyone to drink them as a snack. Get creative. You could start “family cocktail hour” by pouring everybody a glass of his or her favorite juice over ice. Add some straws, cocktail umbrellas and sit together to talk about how everybody’s day went.

6. Try this for dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit.

7. Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter or cheese. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with ranch dip. And of course there’s ants on a log. Spread some cream cheese or peanut butter on the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack).

8. Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something exotic to get your family’s curiosity. With a little luck their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension to trying something new. You could try artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, yahcima, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store.

9. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. Both of these make some great comfort food when the weather gets cold.

10. Start “My Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before, otherwise they loose a turn and Mom gets to pick.

Incorporate a few of these ideas and you will have everyone in your family eating more fruits and vegetables in no time.

Here is another tip:
Now that everyone in the family has gotten a taste for it, make sure you always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies available and ready to snack on.

Susanne Myers is the co-creator of Healthy Menu Mailer. Busy Moms love the easy-to-prepare healthy dinner recipes, grocery lists and encouragement to stay healthy every day of the week. To learn more and get your free sample menu visit www.recipes.healthymenumailer.com

One Response to 10 Ways To Sneak Fruits and Vegetables In Your Familys Food

  1. Superhawk says:

    We have gone more extreme – vegan during the week, with some “cheating” allowed on one day, typically Saturday. Even though our youngest is in high school, I am not sure that young children would be any easier because they have had less time to become accustomed to meat, dairy and eggs. In any event, I have found the trick to be in preparing meals where vegetables are not a side dish but are the main attraction is that they are good tasting and satisfying. I have also made things even harder because we are not using carbohydrates as a crutch. Reducing fats would all be for not if you do not also greatly reduce starchy food, such as, bread, potatoes and white rice. Let me step back and explain the motivation for a diet that is both low in fat and low in carbohydrates. The reason is that eating lots of fat contributes atherosclerosis, that is, heart disease caused by fatty deposits in the arteries of the heart. Eating lots of carbohydrates, e.g. anything with sugar in it, such as, cake, pie , bars ,candy you know the drill – and just about every prepared food, (read the labels), as well as anything with flour in it like pasta, bread, crackers, breakfast food, etc. can lead to type II diabetes. The tragic, yet at the same time very positive truth is that these two diseases are almost completely avoidable with the right diet. Not only that, but there is strong evidence that a vegan diet can reverse and eliminate these diseases in the people that have them. Google President Clinton and his new diet. As an important aside, if we were to greatly reduce these diseases our health care cost problem would go away. The politicians are actually addressing the problem from the wrong end. We have to reduce the utilization rates, i.e. we have to focus on making people healthier more than we do on what system should exist to handle the cost of people’s bad decisions and their resultant bad health. If we do not change our diets, get more exercise and reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals, whether we have a pure for profit private insurance system or a not for profit single payer one, they will both eventually be overwhelmed by a tsunami of bad health and the associated costs. Anyway, back to how do you get buy-in from your family. The meals have to taste good. This means a rather challenging learning curve for you the meal preparer to overcome. I will post some recipes in the future, but basically vegetable stir fry’s, soups and salad, stuffed vegetables like zucchini, squash and bell peppers work great. And once you are used to the preparation and have the recipes “in your head” they can be prepared relatively quickly. As a side benefit, a diet low in fat and in sugar and other carbs is also inherently lower in calories so you can expect to lose weight too! To make sure we get enough protein – which is really an overrated criticism of vegan diets, especially if you include beans – we use a protein powder in a fruit based smoothie for breakfast. As to the cheating, unless you are diagnosed with heart disease or diabetes a little straying should be acceptable as long as you do not overdue it and are on a good exercise program. For example, you are invited to dinner with friends at their home and they serve a meat dish and have pie for dessert. Well, you can have some of the chicken, beef or whatever and when it comes to that sweet conclusion to the meal, have a slice, just not a large one and maybe no ice cream topping – well , OK, just a smidgen. We have surprisingly found that we do not miss meat, cheese, and sweets. As to calcium take a supplement, use a milk alternative or use skim milk. It is also important to take other supplements like vitamin D3 and try to eat only organic produce as much as possible. I know, I know, organic foods cost more, but guess what, your grocery bills will probably still be lower primarily because you are not buying meat, and all those stupid and expensive processed foods, snacks, breakfast cereals, etc. The bottom line is you do not have to be militant about it, unless you really have, as mentioned above, a compelling diagnosis to do so – just relax, get the right attitude and you will find that eating healthy is eminently doable. Most importantly, you will be doing what is without a doubt the best thing you can do for your family and that is the real bottom line.

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