Tuesday, April 15, 2014
wholefood step-by-step: # 15 eat more veggies
Before we get on to kids eating veggies let's take a look at how many veggies you eat each day.
Yes you! (And me!) Our actions speak volumes beyond our words, it is important that our kids see us eating vegetables throughout the day, most of us could do with including vegetables in all our meals and snacks instead of just saving them for dinnertime.
The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia recommended minimum daily intake of vegetables for adults is 5 serves: one serve equals half a cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of salad.
The recommended amounts for children varies depending on age but in general terms for toddlers 2.5 serves, pre-schoolers 4.5 serves and then from age 9 onwards, five serves.
If you are looking at these figures thinking your family's intake needs to increase, below are some suggestions for ways to get more veggies in.
The main thing to remember is not to get too hung up on whether your kids eat a specific vegetable or not and to just keep presenting vegetables to them in different ways, steamed, mashed, baked, in curries, casseroles, pasta sauce and so on. Encourage your children to at the very least taste vegetables, tell them they don't have to eat the whole thing but you do expect them to taste them.
11 ways to get more veggies in
- Break the cereal or toast habit at breakfast and instead start the day with a handful of spinach in a green smoothie or in scrambled eggs, alongside the eggs add a serve of cooked tomato and mushrooms or some avocado.
- Have a breakfast salad of lettuce or spinach, grated carrot, beetroot, capsicum, whatever veggies you have on hand add in a boiled egg or two and your favorite dressing.
- Soup is also a great way to start the day especially with the weather cooling here in Victoria.
- Zucchini slice is popular with most kids and is perfect for breakfast.
- Salads and/or soups are the way to go at lunchtime, the combinations are endless!...try my quick lunch salad or Robin's quinoa, roasted veggie, marinated chickpea and fetta salad.
Mid morning or afternoon snacks:
- carrot and celery sticks with home made hoummos, tzatziki or avocado dip.
- Veggie sticks and a handful of nuts
- Savoury muffin with lots of veggies grated in
- a cup of minestrone
- grate vegetables into every dish you possibly can: home made hamburgers, spaghetti bolognese, curries, casseroles, lasagne, tacos, all of these dishes are great opportunities to sneak more veggies in. Having said that, I don't believe that vegetables should always be hidden, children need to see veggies in various forms and encouraged to try them.
- I serve a salad plate of veggie sticks, avocado, cherry tomatoes, whatever is in season, before dinner when my boys start telling me they are hungry. Part of the key to children eating vegetables is they must have an appetite, so when they tell you they are hungry before dinner if it is still a while away put together a salad plate and let them eat that instead of filling up on processed snacks or carbs.
The other keys to veggie success is of course to make sure your fridge is well stocked with a seasonal variety, having easy access to them means you will eat them! My friend Anthea washes and chops veggies into sticks and keeps them in a container of water in her fridge so her boys can easily snack on them.
You'll find plenty more inspiration over at Veggie Mama, and at Veggie Smugglers and I highly recommend reading French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon.
And if you really want to dive in, sign up for Heather's 30 day vegan course.
Where are you at with veggies? What would you add to this list?