It can be a challenge. I know there’s been many weeks that I look back and wonder how we did. The benefits of a diet rich in colorful produce are hard to ignore so we do our best to find ways to incorporate more into our meal plan and snacks.
Here are a few of our best tips to help get you moving in the right direction. I hope you’ll add your ideas in the comments!
- Keep prepared fruit and vegetables around for snacks. Cut up carrots into sticks and place in a bowl that gets covered at night. Wash some berries for the day. Cut up an apple and toss with lemon to keep fresh. Make healthy snacks accessible to your children – not the unhealthy stuff.
- Put healthy dips in small cups or bowls that encourage more produce. Hummus, mashed avocado, almond butter, and pesto sauce make healthy dipping sauces for kids. Even most ranch dips are ok – just read the label!
- Do your kids always ask for dessert? Try fruit-based dessert - and gradually add more fruit, less sugar. Small steps, right? Try cut, fresh fruit with a light drizzle of chocolate sauce or whip cream. Homemade applesauce can be a great after school treat: toss diced apples, raisins, cinnamon to taste with 1/4 cup apple juice in a covered pot over a low heat. Cook for about 30 to 45 mins – or until desired texture and consistency. Add other fruit or spices to mix things up.
- Play the Rainbow Game. Take your kids to the grocery store or farmer’s market and ask what they want. Give them specific color assignments (maybe even on paper) so they begin to understand the concept of eating the rainbow.
- Incorporate vegetables in with other foods (this is different from “hiding” foods). Add shredded carrots or other veggies into meatloaf or meatballs. Add lettuce to sandwiches. Making spaghetti? Add some zucchini ribbons to your pasta before tossing with sauce.
- Bring fruit to sport activities. Kids don’t need juice or sport’s drinks, granola bars, crackers, candy or chips after an hour of playing hard. They need to fuel up with water and vitamins they can get from fresh fruit. That’s it.
- Smoothies are a great way to start the day with a lot of fruit - fresh or frozen. Try Patrick’s Best Berry Banana Smoothie or a variation of it using your child’s favorites.
We’ve all heard it before, but getting kids involved in the process has a lot of proven merit, especially when it comes to trying new fruits and vegetables. Find ways throughout the day or week to get them involved – take them to the grocery store with you or, even better, the farmer’s market, let them pick out something new this week, give them choices around when they’d like their fruit (with breakfast or as a snack).
How do you help your kids get more servings of fresh fruit and veggies each day?