- “I don’t know how to cook a lot of these fruits and vegetables.”
While preparing many veggies is as simple as sautéing or roasting them with a little olive oil, lemon and garlic, you don’t necessarily have to cook them. One simple way to add more color is tossing a bunch in a smoothie: Try combining half a banana, 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen berries, half a zucchini and a big handful of spinach in a blender with a scoop of protein powder, a cup of water, and a drizzle of flaxseed oil or some ground flaxseed. That’s more than three servings of fruits and veggies before you’ve even left the house.
- “My kids balk at veggies, and I don’t want to cook two separate meals.”
Research shows that it may take as many as 10 to 12 times before kids accept a new food, so be persistent by presenting them with a wide variety of healthy choices. Explaining the basics of food quality and nutrition — and modeling discerning food choices yourself — is also a great strategy for getting your kids (and any other produce-averse family members) on board. When in doubt, cut up veggies and fruits into bite-size pieces and put them out with a little yogurt-based dip. More often than not, someone will eat it up.
- I am willing to expand my produce selections in the name of greater health and vitality.
- I am willing to retrain my taste buds by mindfully enjoying more fresh, unprocessed foods in my diet.
- I am willing to replace junk food with healthier, energy-boosting options that nourish and protect my body.
- I am willing to experiment with cooking/preparing fruits and vegetables that I have avoided or overlooked in the past.
- I am willing to educate myself about the nutritional benefits of fresh, brightly colored plant foods.
- “I’ve been too busy to cook healthy meals or add new veggies to our repertoire.” Weekly meal planning can help take the guesswork out of your cooking, so try preparing a menu and shopping for the items you’ll need at the beginning of the week. This can save you a lot of time later on — and make throwing together a healthy, colorful, delicious meal on the fly a whole lot easier. Also, keep in mind that while ordering takeout and making prepackaged meals may be convenient because everything is there for you, sautéing or steaming veggies often takes no longer than it would to have your food delivered or heated up (and it packs a much greater nutritional punch).
- “I’ve tried to get my kids to eat what I make, but it’s not working.” Try kid-friendly games to make mealtime fun, like seeing who can crunch their carrots the loudest. If all else fails, a little subterfuge can help. Cookbooks like The Sneaky Chef can help you introduce new veggies into your family dinners without the turmoil.