It seems like a never-ending battle with the kids. Vegetables taste good. Vegetables are good for you. But many children think vegetables are the plague.
I haven't had that problem with my kids, and I want to share with you some of the things I did that helped my kids enjoy veggies. Of course, they don't like the ones I hate (parsnips, squash), but they do like just about everything else!
So on this Menu Plan Monday, I'm going to give some veggie tips, and then my menu plan!
1. Serve veggies a lot when kids are young. Introduce them to babies before you introduce fruit. When they're toddlers, and you're going out to the doctor, the library, the gym, or a car ride, pack cut up veggies for them to munch on. A snack always helps them handle trips better, and veggies make a great snack!
2. Keep cut up vegetables in the fridge so they can grab them easily. Make healthy choices readily available and put the sugary and greasy snacks away. This doesn’t mean totally deprive yourselves of these delightful treats, but making healthy eating a normal part of your day goes a long way to helping kids develop better eating habits.
3. Add veggies like carrots or even asparagus to smoothies. Kids love fruit smoothies and they’ll never know you put in a little of those dreaded vegetables in.
4. Sneak vegetables into other foods. For example: Add grated carrots into spaghetti sauce or make a zucchini chocolate cake. I use my Pampered Chef food chopper to chop up carrots and mushrooms in every pasta dish I make, or in shepherd's pie. The kids don't mind them, but often friends do! But they don't know they're there when they're cut so finely.
5. Try dip. You know kids love to dip everything. Just make sure they know they have to eat the dip stick and not just lick it!
6. Take your kids shopping with you. Let your child pick out a new vegetable in the grocery store that they’ve never tried. Then prepare the vegetable together. We tried leeks a while back, and the kids loved potato and leek soup! Now they like me to put leeks in most stews or soups!
7. Let them choose: raw or cooked. Some children may have a definite preference as to whether their veggies are cooked or raw. And if they won't eat the cooked ones, but they'll eat a ton of raw ones, what does it really matter? (True confession: as a child, I munched on bowls of frozen peas. I thought they were good!)
8. Plan your meals. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the veggies when you don’t have a plan…allowing your kids to get into the habit of veggie-free meals. Plan your meals and grocery lists in advance, so you won’t come up short on the greenery. Otherwise we tend to feed them easy, prepackaged things like chicken fingers or fish sticks, with hardly any veggies. Plan ahead, and it's cheaper and healthier.
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And now, without further adieu, here are my dinner plans this week, complete with veggies:
Monday: Stew in the crockpot. I love starting my week off with a crockpot meal, because it's so hardy, and it gives me leftovers for lunches for the rest of the week! We bought half a cow a while back, so we have a lot of beef roasts. In the crockpot, put your veggies on the bottom so they cook more thoroughly. I always use carrots and potatoes in the crockpot, and then I make broccoli on the side. I'll throw in thawed frozen peas near the end of the cooking time into the crockpot. That way they don't get mushy by being in there the whole time!
Tuesday: Spaghetti. It's Rebecca's day to cook. She'll chop up the vegetables with the food chopper before mixing them in with the meat, but that's okay with me. I always cut up a fresh tomato to add to spaghetti sauce, too.
Wednesday: Salmon. It's been a while since I've made my family eat fish. They're not big fans, but I love it, and I know it's good for you. So we're biting the bullet and eating it this week. This is my day for creative side dishes with veggies. I'll serve asparagus, which is a treat, and then corn, which they also love, and some rice.
Thursday: Chicken Thighs in Asian Sauce
. I have a great recipe right here
. It's one of my family's favourites, and it works great for potlucks, too! The only problem with Asian meals with a lot of sauces is that typical vegetables sometimes taste funny. I try to go just plain frozen ones with this meal: peas, corn and carrots. And the kids keep them far away from the sauce on their plate. But that's okay!Friday: Shepherd's Pie.
It's the kids' favourite, and it's a good reward to a long week. I mix ground beef with chopped carrots and mushrooms and add tomato soup, beef broth, and worcestershire sauce. Then I add a layer of peas and corn, and top with mashed potatoes. Bake at 400 for 35 minutes, and it's yummy!
Remember, if you find menu planning a hassle, make it easy! Check out Dine Without Whine
. And maybe the kids will stop whining about their veggies!Thanks for stopping by! Why not stay and look around a while? I've got lots of posts on parenting, marriage, housework, and more!
Labels: cooking, Menu Plan Monday