Sneaky Ways To Get Your Kids (And Yourself) To Eat More Vegetables

Ways to cook everyday meals with more vegetables.

Some people really like vegetables. Others don't. Even those who do like vegetables are often at loss for how to eat more of them. However, eating vegetables doesn't have to be a chore!

Too many people think of vegetables as something they eat because it's good for them. They frequently add vegetables to meals as a side dish. And what happens? Many find that if they don't force themselves to eat the veggies first, they won't eat them at all!

The solution is to think of vegetables as a food with unique flavors. They can add a lot to any dish you make -- both flavor and nutrition wise!

First, no matter what you're making, think of throwing some vegetables in with the main course. If you're making spaghetti sauce, throw some bell peppers, onions, carrots, and fresh tomatoes in with the sauce. If you like, you can also add mushrooms, garlic, or other vegetables you enjoy. Bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions give sauce a great new flavor. Carrots can hardly be tasted! And if you don't like carrots very much, boil them and puree them before adding them to the sauce. You won't taste them, but you'll get their nutrition!

Carrots, actually, can be added to many things. Try making some fruit smoothies at home. Do this with 100% fruit juice (your favorite) and some frozen fruit (any varieties you like). This is low calorie, delicious, and nutritious. For an extra boost, add boiled carrots to this and puree. You'll never taste them, but they're in there, giving you their wonderful nutrition.

You can also make up vegetable pizza at home. Buy a crust mix (or make your own) and top it with tomato sauce. You can make your own tomato sauce and add pureed vegetables to it if you want. Then, top the pizza with tons of vegetables, cheese, and whatever meat your family enjoys.

Make salads with great dressing. To make it easier, get out all the ingredients you like -- cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, celery, etc. Chop up everything but the carrots and put it into separate bags (go for entire heads of lettuce and cabbage). Then, you'll have ready-made salad fixings whenever you want it -- no need to haul out the cutting board, wash it all, and mix it up. Just throw it in a bowl and you're ready to go! As for the carrots, peel them, and then keep your peeler in hand. Use the peeler to shred the carrots. A lot of people don't like carrot in salad because the pieces are hard to eat. Shredding it eliminates this problem.

Pair your salad with a fresh, low-fat dressing. Think about making your own at home with a seasoning mix.

If you don't have time to cook, make up a box meal. Add some frozen, mixed vegetables (or fresh ones, if you prefer). And don't stop at the suggestions on the box. You can throw in whatever you've got. Throw peas, carrots, corn, tomatoes, celery, mushrooms, anything into the food. It'll be even better tasting and healthier.

When you make casseroles or stuffing, add vegetables to that. Chop up celery, onions and mushrooms and throw them in.

Make soup some night when you don't really have time to cook. Chop up chicken or beef and whatever vegetables you have around and throw them in a pot with some broth. Leave it alone for an hour or so and you'll have great chicken or beef vegetable soup. (Think about celery salt for flavor. Remember that herbs and spice are 0 calorie and can always be added to improve flavor.)

If you like stew better, throw some meat into a large pot to sear while you chop an onion in half, chop up some potatoes, chop up carrots, and pull the peas out of the freezer. Put all of this together in a pot and let it cook for several hours (throw in celery if you like, and bay leaf for flavor).

If you're hungry, or your kids are, set out vegetables and dip. Don't stick just to the traditional carrot and celery sticks, either. Grab some mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower; anything you want. Make up a quick fruit dip with cream cheese and marshmallow fluff or whipped cream and dip fresh fruit in that.

For a side dish, add some vegetables to boring old mashed potatoes. Mix it with chicken broth, peas (and/or broccoli), and cheese for a new twist.

For breakfast, try some nice vegetable omelets. Throw in whatever you've got, and make sure it's in nice, small pieces.

Vegetables can be added to almost any food. They generally add a lot of flavor to main dishes, as well as a lot of nutrition. Your family may actually prefer the flavor of the food with the vegetables in it. You may find all sorts of new foods your family likes, that don't take much more effort to prepare, but are a lot healthier!

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