5 WAYS TO INCREASE VEGETABLE INTAKE
5 WAYS TO INCREASE VEGETABLE INTAKE FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
Cooked veggies into sauces, spreads, and casseroles! As you venture into the vegetable world, you may be ready to encounter new tastes, shapes, and textures, but some family members may oppose. In the beginning it can be helpful to steam or roast vegetables and then blend them to a pudding-like puree. These can be added to any dish from baked goods (sweet potatoes can be a great egg replacement), sauces (spinach and zucchini pureed in your marinara), spreads (roasted carrots on a tortilla), and casseroles (cauliflower in your lasagna). It is important for your family to learn to accept the vegetables in their true forms and a variety of textures, but this is a simple way to introduce the flavors with minimal resistance.
2. CHOP THEM SMALL!
When we are making new changes to increase our vegetable intake it can be useful to start with a fine dice or small chopped approach. This allows us to add vegetables into a variety of dishes starting with our eggs for breakfast through our salads, pastas, and main entrees at the middle or end of the day. The smaller you chop up vegetables the easier they are able to make a presence in your dish without overwhelming the flavors. A small chop will also prevent vegetables to be easily picked out by the selective eaters in your home.
3. FLAVOR WITH FRESH HERBS AND SPICES!
After 10-12 months of age, we typically desire things that are flavored over those that are bland. This is why our taste buds may salivate at the thought of a fatty cheeseburger over a bag of steamed veggies. Although steaming can be a very quick form of preparation, it typically is the most tasteless. Try roasting, sautéing, or marinating raw veggies for optimal flavor and texture appeal. These preparation techniques with fresh herb and spice combinations will please your taste buds and have you coming back for more.
4. AIM FOR A RAINBOW OF COLOR!
We eat with our eyes first! If our dish doesn’t look appealing, we won’t be interested in it. Use fresh produce to spruce up your color palate on your plate and contribute pops of color with antioxidants and phytochemicals. These nutrients are color specific so when you aim for a rainbow of intake, you will be getting optimal nutrition.
5. PREPARATION AHEAD OF TIME!
Make vegetables user-friendly for you in your kitchen. Set a time once a week for vegetable preparation. Wash, peel, cut, or dice veggies and store them in sealed containers in your fridge. Purchase triple washed baby spinach and toss it into any dish you are making or add it to your bowl before serving yourself. Have frozen vegetables as back- up options for times you are not able to get to the grocery or are limited on meal preparation time.
Check out our Green Eggs and Ham recipe to learn how to incorporate these tips!