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Monday, May 14, 2012

3 Easy Ways to "Sneak" in More Fruits and Veggies

1. Drink them! Smoothies can be made with or without dairy products. You could do frozen fruits (like bananas, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc.) and add some almond or coconut milk and ice. Or blend fruit and veggies with water and ice for more of a "slushy" of sorts. You can make endless smoothie combinations with yogurt, frozen/fresh fruit, a splash of milk/juice and a few ice cubes. Throw in some spinach for good measure! Blueberries will hide it well and the sweetness of the fruit will mask the taste of the spinach. 

Of course, if you own a juicer that would be another fabulous way to get your kids (or spouse) to increase their consumption of fruits and veggies. The sweeter fruits hide taste of the not-so-sweet veggies. Nice, huh?  The last time I made juice in our juicer I added small amounts of broccoli, spinach and carrot to the watermelon, apples, grapes and pineapple. Delicious!! Even my hubby drank two glasses, unaware of the broccoli and spinach. Shhhh!

2.  Add veggies to your breakfasts, snacks and desserts!  It's easy to add veggies like pumpkin, sweet potato or carrot to muffins, pancakes, and other baked goods. Mashed banana, applesauce, and sweet potato puree all add sweetness and moisture to baked goods.Oils and sugars can be cut back when recipes call for these sweet fruits/veggies. I regularly make pumpkin french toast for my kids by adding a few tablespoons of canned pumpkin to the egg mixture when dipping the slices of bread. I feel good they've gotten some extra vitamin A and fiber at breakfast, yet they have no idea it's in there! Check out this yummy recipe for Peanut Butter Muffins with Carrot & Banana.

3. Make them invisible! Sometimes you just have to go undercover with the picky eaters in your house. Try to use veggies whose colors blend into the food you're serving and add it in very small amounts, tasting as you go. You could add a small amount of mashed butternut squash to mac-n-cheese, some diced or pureed red pepper & carrot into spaghetti sauce, cauliflower in the mashed potatoes, a bit of finely chopped zucchini or mushrooms into sloppy joes or hamburgers, etc. Cooked and pureed veggies also make it easy to "hide" the "yucky" foods in other more appealing and readily eaten entrees. Start sparingly as not to overpower the dish with the vegetable flavors. For more recipes with "hidden" nutrition, check out the books Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld or The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine. Click here to see my recipe for Spaghetti Sauce with Hidden Veggies.

How do you increase your number of fruits and veggies served in your house? Post your best ideas in comments section below. I can't wait to hear what tips and tricks work for you!

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