We all know by now that we should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. 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 like mine, they’d instead fill up on chips 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 into your family’s diet.
Here Are Some Easy Steps To Get Started
- Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, low-fat yogurt, and ice in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder there for good measure. Just blend for a few seconds and have the perfect breakfast ready. 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 you are letting them have ice cream for breakfast.
- 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.
- Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. You can add some bananas, 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 make a sub-shop-style vegetable sandwich by combining several different vegetables with some mayonnaise and cheese on bread.
- 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 perfect salad.
- Let them drink their fruits and vegetables. Keep an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices in the fridge and encourage everyone to consume them as a snack. Get creative. You could start “family cocktail hour” by pouring everybody a glass of their favorite juice over ice. Add some straws and cocktail umbrellas and sit together to discuss how everybody’s day went.
- 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.
- 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 help them with ranch dip. And, of course, there are ants on a log. Spread some cream cheese or peanut butter inside a celery stick and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack).
- Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something exotic to get your family’s curiosity. Luckily, their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension about trying something new. You could try artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store.
- Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. Both of these make some great comfort food when the weather gets cold.
- 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 lose a turn, and Mom gets to decide.
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 a taste for it, make sure you always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies available and ready to snack on.
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