Fool others (and yourself) into healthy eating
April Fools – conspicuously blend vegetables into your food for an increased nutrient value.
Do you often find that you have a lot of left over vegetables after dinner? Are you bribing your kids (or yourself) to eat their vegetables? Is it a battle to just to get them to try a bite?
Try the following creative ideas to add more veggies into your life, without the battle!
Hide the veggies
Add vegetables to places where you wouldn’t normally think to add them. This can be a great way to add nutrients to otherwise less healthy foods.
- Add spinach or kale to fruit smoothies
- Make black bean brownies
- Add vegetables to scrambled eggs
- Add vegetables pureed or diced finely to spaghetti sauce or stews
- Add pumpkin to chili
- Bake fruit and vegetable muffins
- People can be creative and there are many ideas out there to incorporate more veggies into the daily meal plan. Read 40 Unexpected Ways to Add Veggies to a Meal to get ideas for adding veggies to every meal.
Hiding vegetables in other foods is definitely a great way to increase nutrient intake, but don’t let it be the only way you are serve vegetables. You don’t want your kids to think they’re running the household and no longer have to eat their veggies. After a couple times of serving hidden, let them know that there are beans in their brownies and spinach in their smoothies. Once they become aware they have been eating vegetables, they will be more likely to choose them even when you are not around.
Let them pick
Most people, including children, like at least one or two vegetables. Let your kids and/or family members pick the vegetables served for dinner. This will let them have some control and input as to what is served. This gives you the opportunity to add an additional vegetable to the one that you know they already like.
Add veggies to favorites
Try adding vegetables to already favorite foods. Introducing new vegetables with a food that is already familiar could increase the chances that you or your kids will like the new vegetable. Start out with smaller amounts of veggies and slowly increase them over time.
- Top pizzas with mushrooms, peppers, asparagus, arugula and/or tomatoes
- Add broccoli, peas and tomatoes to macaroni and cheese
Make it fun
Including your family in the cooking process is likely to increase the chance of them actually eating the vegetables. Young children can stir and cut soft foods with a plastic knife. Older children can help cut and cook foods.
- Make ants on a log
- Try lettuce boats
- English muffin veggie pizzas can be fun to make for the whole family!
Michigan State University Extension offers nutrition education classes for adults and youth that include information about healthy choices consumers can make. More information can be found at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/info/nutrition.