Eat your veggies!

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Getting the whole family to eat the recommended number of fruits and veggies per day can be quite a challenge. Luckily, Spencer likes more vegetables than I do, so it is more a matter of preparing them and serving them than getting them in to his belly. Sometimes, it is all he wants for dinner.

He loves this dinner.

As we go through the course of the day, I try and get 2 types of fruit or vegetables in at eat meal and always offer them first at snack. Breakfast is pretty easy and is normally just fruit. I am lazy, so Spencer and I pretty much eat the same things in the morning: some sort of dairy, carb and fruit. Sometimes it is crackers, cheese, apples and grapes. It could be milk, cereal and mixed berries. Or yogurt, granola, a split banana and blueberries. We have blueberries almost every morning. When the hubs is home, sometimes I’ll do a hot breakfast, normally bacon and eggs with sliced fruit on the side. If I am feeling really fancy, maybe a veggie omelet, but that’s just about the only time veggies make an appearance in the a.m.

Lunch always comes with a side of veggies, usually whatever is leftover from dinner the night before, with some meat and cheese. I also love to stick leftover zucchini in a quesedilla. But perhaps my easiest lunch looks more complicated than it is: Chicken, Peas and Rice.  Spencer even asks for it by name. I love buying pre-cooked brown rice, either frozen or packages. I heat it up in the microwave, while that is cooking (or earlier in the morning) defrost some frozen peas and chop up some leftover chicken. When the rice is heated, mix it all together and top with hot sauce or salsa. If you use a fresh pico-style salsa, you can get some extra veggies in there too.

Spencer loves fruit and veggie based snacks: apples (or pears) with melted peanut butter, strawberries with yogurt “dip” (I just use plain greek yogurt. Sometimes honey or vanilla flavored if I am feeling particularly wild and crazy), carrots with cheese (either cubes or a soft wedge), celery and hummus, sometimes just carrot and celery sticks.  I always try (operative word: try) to offer fruit or vegetables before crackers or cookies, but when a cranky toddler demands crackers, I do tend to take the easy road out. The other thing Spence loves is those pureed fruit in pouches – especially the apple-banana and apple-carrot from Trader Joe’s. I keep one in my purse for a healthy snack on the go.

Dinners usually have a warm veggie as a side, unless, you know, it is chili dog night.  Additionally, I normally serve sliced tomatoes or a simple dinner salad (just greens and a vinaigrette) after the main course.  And then dessert is yet another way to get some more fruit in. We frequently end dinner with sliced apples or berries and yogurt. But, even baked desserts are normally fruit filled. Frozen treats, too. I just made a frozen watermelon dessert with no added sugar (will be blogging it later this week) that Spencer enjoyed just as much as he does a popsicle.

One way we encourage Spencer to eat vegetables that he is not in the mood for is by giving him a lemon wedge to squeeze on top. He’ll then squeeze and eat his way through them no problem. I’m assuming this only works if the child likes lemons.

 

Also? He loves fish. LOVES IT. This is the remains of a 6 oz tuna steak.

I give this last piece of advice with some reservations, because it just isn’t possible for everyone, but buy good produce. Hit your local farmer’s market or join a CSA. If you are buying in a regular store, try and buy in season. It is normally cheaper and always more delicious. Apparently, I refused to eat tomatoes as a child until I had a fresh picked one. It makes a difference.

 

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2 Responses to “Eat your veggies!”

  1. Alana says:

    D will only eat Broccoli, Edamame and Green Beans which makes for tough dinners sometimes!
    Did you keep introducing the veggie everyday even if he turned it down, or did you hold off a few days and bring it back? I’m curious how to get more variety in the diet!
    I would like for him to be a better veggie eater! He loves fruit, so I got that going for me.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    I waited a few days, even weeks, in between stuff he didn’t like. I never made a big deal about it and if we’re having something he doesn’t like (beets) I make sure there is something he likes (peas) and offer him one piece of the one he doesn’t like. If he spits it out, I don’t push it. I think variety in preparation helps a bit. The first time he liked zucchini, I had sauteed it in a ton of garlic and accidentally over cooked it a bit, so it could have been flavor or texture.

    [Reply]

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