How to eat more vegetables

How to eat more vegetables

By Leah Goldstein, RD, CD
Clinical Nutrition Specialist

Did you know half of your plate should be from vegetables? Here are some ways to get more vegetables into your family’s meals and snacks.

1. Experiment with a new vegetable each week or each month!

Check out your local farmers market or produce aisle for something new and seasonal. Search the web or your favorite cook book for ideas on preparation, and don’t be afraid! Find recipes with some of your other favorite flavors or styles and you may just find your new favorite vegetable.

2. Get sneaky

  • Pureed peppers, zucchini or carrots can be “snuck” into tomato sauces for pasta or pizza. Not even the pickiest eater will notice!
  • Cauliflower, carrots or sweet potato can be steamed and pureed into mashed potatoes or a casserole.
  • Have a pizza night and use colorful veggies as the toppers!
  • Add mild flavored vegetables or greens like spinach, kale, cucumber or avocado to a smoothie for a healthy breakfast. 
3. Dips!

Studies have found that kids are twice as likely to eat their vegetables when served with a dip or sauce. The same can be applied to adults! Have some tasty dips on hand, such as hummus, salsa or tzatziki, and you have an easy and healthy snack.
 
Fun fact: when vegetables are introduced with a sauce or dip, kids are not only more likely to eat the veggie, but also more likely to enjoy that vegetable later in life even once the sauce is removed!

4. Keep your freezer full 

Frozen vegetables are packaged at their ripest, so in some cases may be even more nutritious than fresh! Keeping bags of frozen vegetables in your freezer ensures you won’t ever have to serve a meal without veggies again.

5. Let the kids help.

If you find that your kids don’t want to eat their vegetables, let them help with some age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen. When kids are involved, they are more likely to eat and enjoy the finished product.
 

Don’t forget that dividing the responsibility can ease some meal-time stresses- it is your job as a parent to provide healthy choices for meals and sides, while it is the child’s job to pick which items they will eat. They may not always make the healthiest choices but remember, it can take 10-15 tries before a child likes something new, so keep offering! For more information on creating a healthy meal-time experience, check out the Ellyn Satter Institute for tips and more information.

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