My little girl was such a good little eater when she was first starting solids. She would eat all the yummy homemade veggies Mommy would prepare for her without a complaint. Sweet potatoes, avocados, and squash were some of her favorites (and still are for that matter!). Now, however, she has grown a little picky! Is it possible to get children to enjoy salad? Can we get them to happily partake of some steamed vegetables?
I am joining with Laura’s challenge today to share on how to encourage our families to eat more fruits and vegetables. For all the superior nutrition that they contain, they surely need to be increased in everyone’s diet! You can’t get too much!
Green Smoothies have been the number 1 way that we have significantly increased our enjoyment of fresh fruits and veggies. You can throw practically anything in this combo. Lately, we have been tossing in some zuchini and avocado with our favorite fruits of strawberries and bananas. With a dash of honey or stevia, we are ready to go! Even leftover salads that need to be used can be tossed in and easily covered up. I cannot encourage you more to get into the habit of preparing green smoothies, as they are packed full of nutrition. You can eat a whole plate of salad in one glass without a single complaint from the littles. Add a bit of coconut oil for some added benefits.
For the summer heat, make green smoothie popsicles (check out the BPA free popsicle molds)! As Karis is not a fan of meat, I will sometimes prepare her a green smoothie with all the salad fixings that her dad and I had for dinner. She takes this easily! Read more about green smoothies here.
Here are a few green smoothie popsicle recipes for your enjoyment:
Sneaking Veggies into Your Favorite Dishes
I recently came across copies of both Deceptively Delicious & The Sneaky Chef. These are two books that promote the idea of adding vegetable purees into various meals to increase the nutrition content. In Deceptively Delicious, author Jessica Seinfeld uses cauliflower and carrot in the majority of her recipes as the flavors are easy to cover up. The book includes lots of recipes with various purees, everything from cauliflower in your deviled eggs to spinach in your brownies. Some are rather strange, but the concept definitely got me thinking. How could I adjust my main dishes to include more veggies? Here are some of the ideas I came up with to help start thinking outside the box. Generally she used no more than 1/2 cup of pureed veggies in each of her recipes, which is rather miniscule. You can definitely increase this to your taste. Basically, her method is to steam your vegetables lightly, blend till pureed and freeze in small quantities (in small ziplocs or ice cubes), and then thaw and use as needed.
Salmon/Tuna Melts (a favorite combination at our house of canned wild salmon, mayonaise, paprika and salt and pepper on a slice of bread topped with cheese and toasted in the oven) – add cauliflower purée to the mix
Deviled Eggs - add cauliflower or carrot
Macaroni & Cheese – add squash or cauliflower
Spaghetti Sauce & Chili – add carrots (I found I can easily add a bunch of carrots for all my tomato based dinners)
Oatmeal – add sweet potato
Green eggs - add spinach and/or cauliflower to your scrambled eggs
Mashed potatoes or baked potatoes - add cauliflower
So far so good! Obviously this will not increase your veggie intake significantly, nor should they replace your sides of veggies and fruits at each meal, but every little bit helps! It helped me to start thinking outside the box!
Here is one last tip:
Cut up that salad!
It is so much easier for the little people to enjoy salad if it there are not huge pieces of lettuce to consume. Cut it up into tiny bit size pieces. Top with a sweeter dressing for more enjoyment! Our favorite is Creamy Lemon Poppyseed Dressing. We serve alot of salads with raisins, apples or pears to make it more tasty.
What veggies can you add to sone of your favorite meals? What tips and tricks do you have to share about increasing your veggie & fruit intake? I would love to hear your ideas, especially for use with little ones!