Spring Into Veggies!

We all know veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. We also know that vegetables are extremely healthy for us and the foundation of every healthy diet and weight-loss plan. The American Guidelines for Americans recommend making ½ your plate non-starchy vegetables. However, the last thing a busy person wants to do after working hard all day is spend an hour in the kitchen making vegetables that their kids won’t even touch.

Here are several tips that are sure to spice up your veggies for you and your family, while helping you stick to your spring slim down or beach body goal.

Make Nutritious Super Veggie Swaps for Popular Starches: Instead of making traditional mashed potatoes, substitute cauliflower mash (70 vs 120 calories per cup). Worried your kids might not like it? Substitute half of the potatoes for cauliflower and its doubtful they will notice the difference. Another favorite, even among kids, is spaghetti squash (42 calories vs 221 calories per cup for regular spaghetti!). But why stop there? Kale chips make a fun nutritious substitute for chips (50 vs 160 calories/cup) or collard greens/lettuce wrap for tortillas (30 vs 300 calories per 2 wraps). Although not a vegetable, pureed fruit (9 calories per 2 tbs) makes a good substitute for pancake syrup (104 calories/2 tbs). Veggie fries (see recipe below) can be a healthier alternative to French fries and very much kid approved!

Make Vegetables Fun: No one wants to eat a heap of veggies dropped on a plate. So make them fun by turning an ordinary salad into a mason jar salad, substituting bland steamed or boiled vegetables for roasted vegetables, or buying or making your own “zoodles.” Spiralizing your vegetables, such as zucchini, summer squash, beets, or carrots, can be a fun, colorful, and healthier alternative to regular spaghetti. 

Try veggies more than once in different ways: Just because your child turned up his nose once doesnt mean you have to cross that veggie off the menu forever. Studies have shown it may take 10 or more tries before a child accepts a new food. Try cooking vegetables multiple ways, you never know what you and your kids might like.

Increase your Veggie Variety: Just because you or your kids have disliked one vegetable doesnt mean they will hate them all. Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. A CSA will not only expose you to vegetables you otherwise wouldnt think to buy, it also supports your community. Another way is to commit to buying one new vegetable per week. You may just find your new favorite vegetable and there is no better time to start with all the spring variety!

Involve your kids in the veggie shopping and eating process: Plant a garden, or visit a farm/farmers market and have your children pick out which veggies to eat for dinner. This instills ownership and studies show that it actually makes eating those veggies later that night more likely. Similarly, cooking the vegetables with your children also exposes them to the vegetables and makes them more willing to try them.

Try a free two-week trial of Dinner Daily: The Dinner Daily provides a weekly balanced five-dinner meal plan, with delicious, kitchen-tested, and healthy dinners. Each meal is loaded with nutrient dense veggies and takes the guesswork out of how to cook vegetables. Look for the reduced carb symbol (à), which are recipes with even more vegetables and low carbohydrate starches.

Have a great spring, everyone!

Easy Sweet Potato Fries

INGREDIENTS
1 sweet potato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

PREPARATION
1. Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C.
2. Cut sweet potato into fries and combine in a large bowl with olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
3. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined in parchment paper. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

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