All right, it’s time for a show of hands. How many of you have heard that eating more vegetables is part of a healthful diet? Hmmm…okay, yup, just hold them up a minute or so longer while I count…ok. You can put your hands down now. Next, how many of you have heard that you shouldn’t eat vegetables? <Crickets>.
Yup, it seems that your grandmother was right. Even conflicting fad diets seem to embrace vegetables as a commonality.
So now that your shoulders and arms are all warmed up from that first round of hand-raising, let’s get ready for round two: how many of you are eating the recommended 5-10 servings per day of fruits and vegetables. Oh, okay. I hear you. You *would* be, if only your kids (or yourself) liked vegetables more. If only vegetables tasted more delicious. If only they were convenient and accessible.
Well, then. In case you missed this week’s Instagram video series (or scrolled past the videos in your Facebook newsfeed – be sure to choose “Follow” and “See First” to ensure you’re getting all of my latest and greatest FREE health & fitness content), here are my top five tips for busy professional working women to get their kids (and themselves) to eat more vegetables.
Yup, this old trick still applies, and it works for grown-ups, too. Just because you can’t really taste them doesn’t mean they aren’t conveying their amazingness – vegetables are often packed with micronutrients like vitamins and minerals (phytonutrients), and carry a good dose of fiber and water with a minimal calorie load. This makes them a perfect food to add bulk and satiety to your food without adding bulk to your body.
Smoothies are a great place to disguise mild leafy greens like spinach and other baby greens. You can also put steamed cauliflower, boiled or roasted beets or shredded zucchini to add volume and fiber to a smoothie. Pureed beets are great with brightly coloured berries to create an intensely-hued purple smoothie.
Baked goods can have shredded zucchini or carrot added for moisture and fiber. This works well for quick loaves, cakes, muffins and even brownies.
Meatballs and meat patties are a great place for shredded zucchini or finely chopped onion or carrot.
The sky’s the limit! Where have YOU hidden vegetables? (Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me.)
Try something new
Try a new vegetable: you or your child(ren) will pick a brand new-to-you vegetable at the grocery store. Get on YouTube, Pinterest, Wikipedia or even the library to learn how to tell when it’s ripe, and how to prepare and eat it. Make it a fun family project and consider it a new experience. It’s a great way to get more vegetables into your eating.
What’s the “weirdest” vegetable you’ve ever tried? Mine’s probably an Asian sea vegetable common in soups – I still don’t know what it’s called!
Make what’s “old,” new again
Try preparing vegetables in a new way! This might mean that you take your “favourites” and try them a different way, or an opportunity to try vegetables you haven’t previously enjoyed prepared in a new way to see if you like them better.
You can eat vegetables raw, with or without dip, you can boil them, blanch them, steam them, roast or even grill them (great for zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and onions).
Up the “easy” factor
Make veggies the most convenient and accessible food choice. When veggies are the easiest and most convenient thing to eat, you are more likely to eat them and eat more of them.
I like to buy a party tray of pre-washed, pre-cut veggies and dip. I’ll put this tray out at snack time, before or during meal times, and more. Having these veggies ready to go, in plain sight, puts them top of mind and therefore one of the easiest things to eat. Mindless grazing on carrot and celery sticks is a lot better for you than mindless grazing on bowls of candy.
Play “recipe roulette”
Go to your favourite social media source for recipes (like maybe this blog, hint hint wink wink) and select the first one that comes up when you look for “vegetable recipe.” Budget some time to shop for needed ingredients and prepare the recipe. Make it a fun family adventure! The family that prepares food and eats together is the family that gets and stays fit and healthy together. Bonus points if you take a photo of everyone enjoying the creation and post it on social media – I’d love for you to tag me so that I can cheer you on, you healthy thing, you!
Have a fit day!