Most of us know by now that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables daily, in fact, it is recommended that we each have at minimum five or six servings of them each day! Unfortunately, knowing and doing tend to be two different things the vast majority of the time, right?
Sometimes it just isn’t easy or convenient to get all of our daily recommended fruits and vegetables in like we should.
In the world we live in today it is just far to simple to fill up on junk food or whatever happens to be convenient at the time.
If your family is like mine, they would much rather snack on a bag of chips or a bowl of cereal than actually eat an apple or grab some carrot sticks.
So how do you get your kids and/or significant other to start eating healthy snacks instead of all that processed junk food?
Let’s get a bit creative!
Here are a few ideas that you can try around your house to ‘sneak‘ some extra fruits and vegetables into your family’s daily diet!
10 Great Ways to Get your Family to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
1. We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, how about we start it off right with a nutritious breakfast smoothie?
Grab your blender, throw in some fruits, low-fat yogurt and ice.
Personally, I like adding in a scoop of protein powder in mine as well.
A couple of short bursts with your blender and you now have a great breakfast ready to go!
I like to put mine in a thermal cup before I leave the house and drink it after I get to work.
Every now and then if you want to entice your kids, even more so, you can put a little bit of ice cream or frozen yogurt in theirs – they will be floored that you are actually letting them have some ice cream for breakfast.
2. Dried fruit can be a delicious and healthy snack at any time during the day.
Try putting a small pack of yogurt covered raisins in your husbands or wife’s briefcase; trail mix can also work very well for a snack.
You can place a couple of the small cartons of raisins in your child’s lunchbox as well.
One of the things we like to do in my house is add some dried fruit to our cereal or oatmeal in the mornings.
My kids love having dried mango’s or banana chips in their cereal, and it lets me get away with buying cereal that doesn’t have large quantities of sugar in it!
3. Let your family drink some of their vegetables and fruit!
Keep a good variety of fruits and vegetables around, if you have a good juicer.
One of my kid’s favorite juices I make for them I use two apples, a carrot, a piece of broccoli and a couple of small chunks of pineapple.
Sounds weird? Pffft – try it, it’s incredible!
If you don’t have a good juicer yet, you can keep some a few different kinds of fruit and vegetable juices in your fridge (hopefully get ones without tons of added sugar!).
Have some fun with it, start a ‘family cocktail hour‘!
Pour everyone a glass of their favorite juice in a cup of ice. You can even add in a cocktail umbrella and straws and sit around together and discuss how everyone’s day went.
It’s great family time, and you get them to have some more fruits and vegetables!
4. Try out some new fruits or vegetables together as a family.
Pick something you haven’t tried before, something exotic to peak their curiosity!
With a little bit of luck hopefully, their curiosity will win over any initial apprehension they had at trying something new.
Check out the produce department in your local grocery store and see what they have.
A few ideas for you – mango, star fruit, artichokes, papaya, plantains, loquat, or anything else you happen to be able to find. If you don’t know how to figure out if they are ripe or not (or if you want to eat them when they are ripe or unripe – depending on the flavor you want from them) a quick search on your phone can give you all the information you need to help you pick great ones out.
My grocery store where I live is pretty good about having a decent variety to choose from, but if you want even more, then I encourage you to try out some of the ethnic stores in your area.
There is an oriental grocery store close to where I live that is amazing at having tons of fruits and vegetables that I had never seen before I went in there!
5. Set out a tray of fruits and vegetables for a snack.
Cutting up some apple slices and try topping them with peanut butter or some cheese.
Try cutting up some fresh veggies and serving them with ranch dip.
We eat a lot of carrots, celery, cucumbers, and broccoli by having bite-size portions out and I give the kids a little cup of ranch dressing to dip them in.
Also, you can cube some cheese up and serve them with some grapes.
6. When the weather starts to get cold outside, everyone loves to have some good comfort food.
Make a delicious pot of vegetable stew or soup that has a decent amount of vegetables and is a bit easy on the meat.
A quick search online can give you some excellent healthy recipes and some great ideas for more.
7. Make a salad bar for supper time.
You can set out a variety of chopped vegetables, cheese, boiled eggs, and even some croutons.
Have a couple of different healthy salad dressings that they can choose from or have them try a bite or two with one of each and see which they prefer.
Have a ‘competition‘ of who can make the prettiest and/or best tasting salad.
Don’t forget to mix your lettuce either – I prefer using one head of iceberg lettuce to 3 stalks of romaine and mixing it all up. (it will make quite a lot of salad, so adjust the amount by how much your family can eat before it wilts)
8. Add in some fruits and vegetables to their sandwiches.
If they have a turkey or roast beef (or any meat) be sure to add lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber or any other vegetables that you think they will eat on it.
If they are eating peanut butter sandwiches, you can add in slices of banana, apple or strawberries to it for a special treat!
I ate the hell out of some peanut butter and banana sandwiches growing up… wait, I still do!
Also like was previously listed in number 7, you can try making a sub-shop style sandwich bar for dinner.
Have a couple of different meats set out, cheeses, and loads of options on vegetables.
My oldest son generally wins on the biggest sandwich (15-year-olds can eat an entire house if you don’t keep an eye on them, right!?).
He ends up making his with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, spinach leaves, olives, and his favorite mustard.
When he makes a sandwich with regular bread, however, he generally only puts lettuce and onion on it, hence why I like doing the sub style sandwich bar. Maybe it will have good results in your house as well?
9. Start a ‘Choose a Veggie Day’ in your house.
Let each family member pick a vegetable of their choosing one day of the week.
They get to pick which vegetable they want to eat that day if they tried each vegetable the week prior.
If they fail to try each vegetable the week before then, they lose their turn to pick that week for their day and mom or dad get to pick for them.
Keep a chart and have some fun with it!
Some weeks my kids tend to pick vegetables that they know the other one will hate, and other weeks they tend to pick ones that they have learned that they really like.
Steamed broccoli seems to be the family favorite – after a few weeks, you’ll find there are some your kids will gravitate towards as well.
10. Mmmm dessert… Get a small scoop of frozen yogurt or ice cream and put it in a bowl.
Top it off with lots of fresh or frozen fruits. You can sprinkle some almonds or walnuts on it for an added bonus!
My favorite is vanilla ice cream with sliced strawberries, my kids like raspberries and blueberries on theirs.
Once again – have fun with it, make a contest out of it to see who can make the prettiest bowl of ice cream, or my youngest sons favorite – see who can make the funniest face with their fruit on their ice cream.
Try to incorporate a few of these ideas, and you will have everyone in your family eating a lot more fruits and vegetables in no time at all!
Make sure you always have plenty of fresh veggies and fruits available for them to snack on.