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Add More Veggies to Your Family Meals

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/9/2012 2:00 PM   :  28 comments   :  15,180 Views

"Eat your vegetables." We've heard it all of our lives, but if only it were so simple! Our bodies crave fruits and vegetables more than just about any other food because we tend to get far fewer of them than we need.

With just a little thought and a tiny bit of effort in snack preparation, you can make these nutritious foods more convenient and accessible for the whole family:
  • Snack on raw vegetables or fruits instead of chips or pretzels. Keep sugar snap peas, raisins or carrot sticks in the car, your office, or your child’s backpack.
     
  • Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
     
  • Take a trip to the grocery salad bar, and let each family member create-their-own healthy meal. Use lots of dark green leaves and other vegetables instead of piling on all of the extras like eggs, bacon and cheese. Top it off with a small container of low-fat or fat-free dressing.
     
  • Add frozen veggies to any pasta dish. It's an easy way to get in another serving of the good stuff.
     
  • When cooking vegetables, make 2-3 times more than you need and immediately store the extra away for tomorrow. It'll save you time later on.
     
  • Add your own beans and vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, peppers, cabbage) to canned and quick-serve soups.
     
  • If you must have pizza, load on extra veggies instead of fatty meats and extra cheese.

How do you get your family to eat more veggies? Share your tips in the comments!




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Comments

  • CHERRYZMB60
    28
    veggies pizza is what i eat whenever we have pizza at work. salad bars i do add cheese (my weakness) but i leave the others - 2/22/2014   12:07:24 AM
  • JOAN-R
    27
    My vegetarian son likes to cook when he's around. He got us hooked on a salad with each supper, usually 1/3 - 1/2 of our dinner plate. - 9/15/2012   2:39:57 PM
  • 26
    Sometimes, depending on when DH has done shopping, I do my meal planning for main meals based on the veggies to be used, then add in the protein source to suit, then the carbs (potato, rice, pasta, or for me couscous or quinoa).
    It makes for an interesting change around, rather than working from the protein source and just adding veg and maybe some fruit. - 9/10/2012   4:43:40 PM
  • 25
    Sometimes, depending on when DH has done shopping, I do my meal planning for main meals based on the veggies to be used, then add in the protein source to suit, then the carbs (potato, rice, pasta, or for me couscous or quinoa).
    It makes for an interesting change around, rather than working from the protein source and just adding veg and maybe some fruit. - 9/10/2012   4:43:16 PM
  • RVILLARREAL1
    24
    My 9 year old loves chile and spices but does not like to eat his vegetables.I found that adding chile sauce to crockpot veggie-meat dishes tricks him into eating all his veggies. - 9/10/2012   4:41:45 PM
  • BLNBIKERIN1
    23
    I started my son early on a variety of veggis by serving the occasional french fries with not just ketchup, but rather pureed veggis. He loved the different colors and bravely tried them all, even though he called them all "ketchup".
    Now he loves to pick veggis for the week at the grocery store. He even has his own cookbook and usually chooses receipes with the most color variety, which means more veggis. Then I simply double one or more of the vegetables in the receipe.
    The trick really is: cook with your family! Spend quality time with them, teach your kids how to cook, and I haven't met a kid who was not eager to try their creations. - 9/10/2012   2:35:01 PM
  • VANANDEL
    22
    All my muffin/sweet bread recipes call for at least one kind of veggies and two kinds of fruits. For vegetables, I use pumpkin puree, shredded zucchini and/or shredded carrots. Instead of add oil or eggs, I use pumpkin puree, bananas or unsweetened applesauce. For fruits, I use so many different kinds. The muffins are moist and healthy! - 9/10/2012   1:12:01 PM
  • CLAYLADY001
    21
    I too am an older girl !!I know how hard it is to eat right when you get older.I luckily don't have severe cravings.I very seldom eat fast or junk foods.I cook most of our meals and I do love vege's and some fruits.I try not to eat fast and don't watch TV when I do eat.I do keep my pantry and freezer loaded up pretty good,also keep a lot of canned food on shelves my husband put up years ago.He went through the big depression back in the twentys and thirtys and has a thing about getting low on any kind of food so we are loaded up pretty good.We both have type 2 diabetes plus he has severe COPD eating is one of our great pleasures.He is getting better about eating vege's and fruit.We just have to be careful of the amounts we eat. - 9/10/2012   1:09:24 PM
  • LUVSDSEA
    20
    Although I'm long since retired and my children are grown, it has always been my practice to eat meals with a meat, a starch and a vegetable. I prefer vegetables to me for the most part when it comes to sauces, pizzas, etc. Even so, I know that I don't eat enough veggies so I appreciate these ideas to add more. However, as you get older, every bite counts and sometimes the need for protein and calcium over rides everything else. What is an old girl to do!? - 9/10/2012   10:46:58 AM
  • PEACENCARROTS
    19
    I always try to give my children fruits and/or veggies with every meal. My husband and I also try to incorporate a big salad with lots of veggies at dinner or lunch. This helps fills us up so we won't be as tempted to eat as many carbs. - 9/10/2012   10:08:04 AM
  • 18
    I remember my mom used to oftne serve a salad with dinner. Usually it was just head lettuce, tomato and hellmans mayonaise but that was in addition to a vegetable for dinner. I think we have gotten away from that. - 9/10/2012   9:39:19 AM
  • 17
    good tips. - 9/10/2012   8:50:35 AM
  • 16
    I'm going to try the pureed vegetables trick and hide it in all my sauces and stews. Never thought of that. Especially vegetables we wouldn't normally eat as a side. I also love the idea of mixing veggies into prepared low-sodium soup. - 9/10/2012   8:41:36 AM
  • 15
    If our main meal does not have veggies - we always have a salad with it. At lunchtimes, I have chicken broth with about 3 or 4 handfulls of frozen veggies that I put in the microwave. Use my immersion beater to puree, add a small dollop of sour cream and instant veggie soup! Fresh cauliflower is really good made this way.
    - 9/10/2012   8:00:49 AM
  • 14
    While boiling the water for my pasta...I add mushrooms, peppers, spinach and any other vegetable I feel like eating. You never notice it while eating and you have just added 3 servings in one dish! - 9/10/2012   7:48:43 AM
  • 13
    I am fortunate that my daughter liked veggies and fruit. She is now 20 and living on her own, and she still eats fruits and veggies, makes them an important part of her everyday food prep. - 9/10/2012   7:45:53 AM
  • 12
    For b'fast, I saute whatever leftover veg we have in the fridge before adding eggs and scrambling - good to get in a serving of veggies first thing! I have no trouble getting the veggies in - it's fruit I don't care for...the exact opposite of the rest of the family! - 9/10/2012   7:45:28 AM
  • 11
    SLOLOSER - I think that where it comes to the dressings, most of those commercial ones are laden with the wrong type of fats.

    I LOVE veges - my stomach would think my throat was cut if I didn't have lots in a day, and the same for my fruit. - 9/10/2012   6:14:22 AM
  • 10
    Good ideas - except for the fat free dressing. I thought we were supposed to have some good healthy fat with our veggies to help us benefit from all the vitamins. - 9/10/2012   6:08:28 AM
  • 9
    I got my children to eat veggies by putting them in the refrigerator with a big sign that said "Leave these alone - Mom's diet". Of course, they had to eat them. - 9/10/2012   12:51:16 AM
  • 8
    I like veggies in natural juices. Mixing veggies and fruits you can make a juice with a great taste, - 9/10/2012   12:32:04 AM
  • 7
    When I make spaghetti sauce I add a handful of baby carrots and a handful or two of spinach to the blender with a little water and add it to the sauce. My family has NO idea and it's a lot healthier for them! I used ground turkey, too. - 9/9/2012   10:47:25 PM
  • 6
    My family eats lots of veggies. When we make soups stews or sauces we use pureed fresh veges in place of plain tomato sauce. It makes great marinara sauce and chili. - 9/9/2012   10:33:34 PM
  • 5
    My family eats lots of veggies. When we make soups stews or sauces we use pureed fresh veges in place of plain tomato sauce. It makes great marinara sauce and chili. - 9/9/2012   10:33:30 PM
  • 4
    I make a really good vegetable curry with low fat coconut milk and garnish with cashews. Everyone likes it. (I also tend to sneak vegetables into lots of items like soup or macaroni and cheese) - 9/9/2012   9:10:39 PM
  • 3
    I love veggies, but my husband doesn't eat very many.Always try to keep salad made . Celery and califlowers I buy and cut up and make ranch dip because he eats these and they are a healthy snack. - 9/9/2012   6:59:12 PM
  • PRUSSIANETTE
    2
    Having the items available and ready-to-eat in this time-pressured world is what the key is. If I have the time over the weekend and prep the veggies and have them in my refrigerator ready for the taking when I get home from work (at whatever time that may be), then I have a "good" week. If not, then it is a struggle all week. Having fruit available in plain sight is always a good thing as well. Hide the candy, show the fruit!! Whatever is in sight is what usually makes it to the mouth first. - 9/9/2012   5:24:02 PM
  • 1
    I hate veggies and am not fond of fruit. This is my biggest challenge. - 9/9/2012   4:40:06 PM

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