Written by Rachel, contributing writer
Are you working to ditch processed foods and put more real food on the table? This month we're running a series called Real Food Made Simple: A Beginner's Guide to Eating Better. Our goal is to answer the questions you might have and make the transition a whole lot easier!
We all want a healthy family, right? Some of us deal with picky eaters, and when it comes to getting little ones (and sometimes big ones like our husbands or older children) to eat their fruits and veggies, it's like pulling teeth.
Now, I don't suggest you overly push or force them, but I do think you should offer healthy veggie and fruit options.
My husband, a wellness doctor, is always telling mothers and sometimes even me that kids will not starve themselves. If they don't eat what you offer them, save it for the next meal or snack, and, eventually, if they are really hungry, they will eat what you offered them. He always uses the example of broccoli with me, saying if that's all you offered eventually they'll eat it; our human instinct is to survive.
It is often us moms who don't win the battle in feeding our kids because we choose not to stand by what we say, we give in, and we don't want to deal with the whining or even feel bad that they will be hungry; however, this is not the best way to teach them to eat healthy options. Admittedly, I do this sometimes and face the consequences.
I want to give you 5 easy ways to add in or even sneak in some fruits and veggies.
(But just don't stop offering them in their whole forms either!)
1. Green Smoothies
Green smoothies are one of the most nourishing meals or snacks you can offer, and they are really simple to make. They are full of vitamins and minerals, and kids love them.
I offer a free smoothie eBook on my site with a plethora of options to keep things from getting boring.
If you have a well-working food processor or Vitamix blender, you can make purees that you can freeze and add into foods like spaghetti sauce, casseroles, pancake mixes, muffins, etc. A couple examples include: pureeing a mixture of carrots, spinach and red peppers to add into spaghetti or pizza sauce or pureeing a mixture of carrots and apples to add into pancake mix. You can also puree black beans to make some tasty brownies!
Whether you want to use whole wheat tortillas or lettuce as your wrap, you can jam-pack them with tons of healthy fruits or veggies. For a sweeter snack wrap, try almond butter, sliced apples and pears, a drizzle of honey and cinnamon wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. For a lunch wrap idea, try homemade chicken salad full of celery, onion, cucumber, diced grapes and thinly-sliced carrots wrapped up in lettuce. The possibilities are endless and unique to your likes.
No, I'm not talking about potato chips, but I suppose if you bake some yourself they'd be a good option. What I am talking about are kale chips. You can really use any leafy green, like spinach or even broccoli, but I like kale chips the best. They are easy to make. Just store them in a sturdy container or they'll get squished.
image by bee wolf ray
You can use a whole wheat, gluten free or even a cauliflower crust for added vegetables but what you top your pizzas with can be a fun way to have your children choose to incorporate veggies. Have different vegetables chopped up and let your child top their pizza. (If they are picky, give them an option of only choosing 1 or 2 veggies to add.) You can also add veggie purees into the pizza sauce (see # 2).
What are some ways you incorporate fruits & veggies into your family's diet?