Today is Fresh Veggies Day, which is the perfect opportunity to encourage your children to include more healthy, vitamin-filled choices in their diet. Most of the essential vitamins and minerals that can help your children grow come from fruits and vegetables. They contain essential nutrients, such as vitamin A for healthy eye development, calcium for bone strength and vitamin C for a strong immune system, just to name a few.
The benefits are simple enough to see, but getting your kids to eat these healthy foods can be a whole other challenge.
Here are some sneaky ways to ensure your kids are getting their essential vitamins:
- Purée, dice and slice: You can easily sneak veggies, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach or broccoli in their meals without them even noticing. Puree them in a blender or food processor and store in the freezer to easily add to soups, sauces or even baked goods! If you don’t have a food processor, you can also dice or slice them into small pieces with the same result.
- Turn eating into art: Let your kids play with their food! Let them use their fruits and veggies as paint brushes or stamps and dressing or sauce as paint. This works well with anything from broccoli to peppers to apple slices. Encourage them to take bites out of their food to explore different textures and patterns.
- Cut them into shapes: Kids are more likely to eat their food if it looks fun. Use cookie cutters to cut fruits and veggies into shapes, like stars or hearts. This serves as an exciting snack or addition to any festive meal!
- Take your kids picking: Find a local farm or orchard that lets you pick your own fruits and vegetables. This is both a fun summer activity AND your kids won’t be able to resist trying the “fruits of their labor!”
- Juice them: Making your own juice can save money, decrease their sugar intake and provide an overall healthier option for your children. You can experiment by adding different vegetables and fruits to find a combination your kids love while also sneaking in some extra vitamins.
- Set dinnertime goals: Sometimes, the old “you can’t have dessert until you eat your vegetables” rule can get exhausting. Instead, use plates with your child’s favorite cartoon character on it and tell them they can’t have dessert until they can see the whole character.
- Make popsicles: For those hot summer days, your kids will be craving a refreshing popsicle. Have homemade popsicles, made from a variety of fruits and veggies, ready on-hand. (Psst… if you’re already puréeing or juicing, you’ll have half the work done already!)