Summer gives us a bounty of luscious fruits and vegetables. I love them. But your kids might not be so big on treats that “come in their own packaging.” Here are a few ideas for sneaking fruits and vegetables into their diets.
Combine fresh and fruit, yogurt or milk (or substitutes like almond milk or coconut milk or orange juice), a small amount of vegetables and blend. If you don’t have frozen fruit add ice. For one 8 oz. serving always add a ½ stalk of celery, or ½ of a carrot (cut into small pieces), or a ½ peeled cucumber or zuchinni. They won’t taste it, I promise. Using a banana or an apple makes the smoothie thick and creamy.
Cut fruit (apples, strawberries, melon, pineapple) into bite-sized pieces. Add grapes. Let the kids thread the fruit onto wooden skewers. If you lay them on a metal cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for one or two hours they are really refreshing.
Or, when cooking outdoors put the kabobs on the grill for two or three minutes. Delicious.
FRUIT ‘N BUTTER:
Cut apples or pears into thin slices. Give each child peanut (or other nut butter) for dipping.
ANTS ON A LOG:
Let the kids fill the “trough” of a celery stalk with nut butter, then line up raisins on the top.
Who doesn’t love meatloaf? I make mine with oatmeal as a filler and eggs as a binder. But you can substitute milled flax seed mixed with water (1 T. flax seed + 2 T. water for each egg). I add tomato sauce and catsup. I also add strained baby food vegetables—carrots, squash, or sweet potatoes. For a family of six I use 1 ½ pounds of meat and one 4 oz. container of baby food along with tomato sauce. The kids will never taste the veggies.
In the same way I add strained baby vegetables to every dish that has a red sauce: chili, spaghetti, lasagna, chili-mac, enchiladas, soups, stews.
Root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets) take on a different flavor and added sweetness when they are dry roasted on your oven. Just cut them into bite-sized pieces and spread them on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle a little olive oil over them, then stir them to coat them. Dry roast at 350° for 30 – 40 minutes. Dump them in a bowl and let the kids dig into a “community pot” with their own forks. It’s much more fun than sliding carrots around on their plates.
Hash is usually a combination of meat (use your favorite) and an equal amount of potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces. It looks beautiful and tastes great. Add to the pan one serving each any of these: diced carrots or sweet potatoes, garden peas, butter beans, mukimame, black beans, corn kernels, chopped peppers and onions combined. Stir over medium high heat until the potatoes are fork-tender.
FRIED RICE & VEGGIES:
Stir fry cooked brown rice with a little finely chopped onion and garlic. Add veggies like those in the hash, broccoli, zuchinni, or shredded cabbage. Add a little soy sauce and serve for lunch. Give them chopsticks and see how much fun they have. *You can use prepackaged salad mix that has these same veggies in it. Cuts down on your prep time quite a bit.