Sneak More Fruits & Veggies In Your Kids Diets

 
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The struggle is real when it comes to getting kids to eat (& like) vegetables! I am intentional about this with our kids and it's still tough. One minute they will eat & love something and then the next day they don't. Fruits & vegetables aren't just 'good' for us, but essential! We encounter oxidative stress every day, even if we don't exercise. The only way to combat oxidative stress is from antioxidants which comes from fruits and vegetables. Kids should aim for 5 servings of fruits & veggies/day. A serving size is about the size of their little hand. What kids eat while growing up can affect them for a lifetime!

While I wish I could say my kids beg me for their veggies, that's just not the case! It's stress-free when my kids first start eating. They not only like vegetables, they actually prefer it. Then, somewhere between ages 2 & up things get really tricky. Between eating at family & friends parties, churches, schools, different functions & the age where they start to become more independent, it starts to become more challenging. Here are some tips & tricks that help me and I think you'll find useful too :) 

 
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CUT & SLICE THEM DIFFERENTLY

We think of cutting fruits & veggies the 'normal' way and forget we can switch it up! I amazed myself when this cucumber trick worked for my pre-schooler. Now, cucumbers are his favorite and he'll eat them anyway they are cut. Slicing oranges this way instead of peeling them worked for one of my kids who wasn't a fan of the pith (the white substance which is high in fiber). Oranges are high in vitamin C which we can't get enough of in the winter months! It's also easier to pack in lunches because it's a little less messy.  

Other ideas include:

  • Use an apple corer and then slice the apples horizontal in thin slices. Top with a nut butter & granola or chocolate chips for a sweet treat!

  • Slice kiwi in half and they can scoop out with a spoon OR peel kiwi and slice thin

  • Scoop watermelon out into balls with a melon baller

  • Scoop grapefruit out into a bowl so it makes it easier for kids to eat

  • Slice carrots into thin sticks & dip in hummus or Tessamae's 'Ranch' dressing

 
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MAKE SMOOTHIES

Smoothies are a great way to hide fruits & veggies! The possibilities are endless. If you are new to making smoothies for your kids, one thing I have found to be helpful is serving them in small glasses. I reuse the glasses from organic grass fed yogurt from Heinen's. Banana's, pineapple or organic orange juice are staples to kid smoothies to give them a sweet taste. Here are my kids favorite green smoothie recipes.

 
 

HMP KID GREEN SMOOTHIE

  • 1-2 Cups Spinach

  • Banana

  • 1/2 Inch Sliced Pineapple 

  • 3/4 Cup OJ

  • 3/4 Cup Ice & Water

Add all ingredients to blender. Blend. Enjoy!

{Note: I prefer to use organic ingredients to avoid GMO's, pesticides & herbicides. I also like to use the core of the pineapple. It contains bromelian which reduces inflammation}.

HMP HULK SMOOTHIE

  • 1-2 Cups Spinach

  • 1 Cup Green Grapes

  • 1/2 Inch Sliced Pineapple

Add all ingredients to blender. Blend. Enjoy!

INVOLVE THEM

Getting your kids involved with cooking & prepping food can be super helpful in getting them to eat foods you'd like them to eat. Two of our kids love to slice and spiralize vegetables. Naturally, they just start eating the vegetables they are preparing. Even if they don't, we are winning just by showing our kids vegetables! One of our kids helps me daily with cooking dinner. He needs to be busy at all times so this is a great way to keep him busy!

Start a vegetable garden in the spring. You don't need a green thumb to do this. Try starting off small with a 4 x 4 garden or garden pots.  We have two 4x4 gardens and every year is a learning curve. Pinterest is loaded with simple garden ideas. Our kids love to plant the seeds & harvest. It also keeps them busy for those summer days you want to stay home :) 

OTHER IDEAS:

  • Sneak veggies in lasagna & sloppy joes. Yes, sloppy joes! I shred carrots at the end of browning grass-fed meat and also add 1/2 can organic lentils with an organic BBQ sauce (to avoid high fructose corn syrup and other additives).

  • Add smashed cooked sweet potatoes, squash, or bananas in their pancakes.

  • Make these mouth-watering sweet potato french fries. SO good!

  • Try our favorite muffin recipe made with sweet potatoes!

  • Make a sticker chart to check off how many fruits & veggies they have eaten. We made a simple, non-fancy chart but also have this 'Start Strong Kids' worksheetthat they love!

  • Add different fruits, vegetables & dips to a muffin pan & let them graze. 

  • Whip up your own fruit popsicles. This is fun to make with the kids during summer :) 

 

Our kids are watching us every. single. day. If we want them to be healthy, then we need to be eating healthy too. Lead by example and be who you want your kids to be :)

 

Do you have any ideas on how to sneak fruits & veggies into kids? I'd love to hear!

Healthy Meals, KidsKent Dockus