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I’m not sure what has sparked my recent interest in adding fruits and veggies to our menu this week but maybe it is my subconscious voice speaking to me. You see, there have been a lot more sweets creeping into our diets and they seem to be pushing out the healthy foods. With the holidays upon us it will be even more challenging to keep offering the healthy options. So when Amy of SuperHealthyKids contacted me about doing a guest post, I happily agreed! I know I sure can use all the help I can get on this front. Amy offers some great (and easy!) tips that will hopefully help you too. And to wrap things up, she provides some terrific suggestions on how to handle the holidays and continue healthy family eating habits.
As you know, planning our meals is the best way to save money, time, and help our family eat better. However, how often are we forgetting to plan for the most important part of the meal, the fruits and vegetables? It’s easy to forget to plan for the fruits and veggies. When meal time is eminent, we see what’s in the fruit basket, or check our vegetable crisper to see if there is anything that hasn’t turned brown yet. This last minute approach to planning for the fruits and vegetables is a dangerous habit, as sometimes it leaves us without a vegetable at all!
The best way to ensure your family is eating enough fruits and vegetables for every meal are to add it to your meal plan. This is how we do it:
Check What Is In Season. Use your store ads to find what is seasonal and what is on sale. If you see there are great prices on cabbage, add coleslaw to your meal plan. If watermelon is down to 10 cents a pound, you can be pretty sure it is in season, and you can have watermelon salsa with your chicken.
Incorporate Vegetables Into Already Planned Dishes. If spaghetti is on your meal plan, make sure you buy some carrots and mushrooms to add to the sauce. If you are having tacos, don’t forget to add tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado to your shopping list.
Prep Your Vegetables In the Morning! When you know what vegetables you are going to serve for dinner, you can get them ready in the morning. This practice alone has helped me put vegetables on the table at night more than any other tip. If we are going to be having salad, I will wash and chop the lettuce in the morning. If I know we’ll have stir fry, I get the broccoli, onions, and carrots all chopped and put in a bowl, ready to throw on the skillet.
Stock Up On Frozen Vegetable Kits. We always have bags of frozen vegetables. As we plan our meals, I consider what vegetable kits are already put together for me. The corn and peas frozen bag is great for chicken pot pie. The stir fry kits are great for exactly that–stir fry. Even the frozen bags of chopped potatoes are a great meal extender for a quiche.
Healthy Holidays. As the holidays are approaching, making sure your family gets at least five fruits and vegetables a day will be vital. With all the goodie plates, classroom parties, and holiday get-togethers, the sugar consumption goes way up the next two months. If you are getting the produce in at least 80% of the time, then it’s okay for you and the kids to indulge on special occasions. Before going to parties, have a plate of salad at home. Before you send your kids to school on party days, fill them up with a fruit and vegetable smoothie for breakfast. And make sure those goodie plates from the neighbors are reserved for after you all fill up on a healthy meal. As you are planning meals for your family, don’t forget the most important aspect of their meal. Fruits and vegetables are meant to be the star of dinner, not the forgotten side!