For the Moms of Kids Who Don’t Like Veggies

Here’s what you need to know about my family:

Just because I promote the veggies, encourage the veggies, and always provide the veggies doesn’t mean my kids always love or want to eat the veggies.

Fruits and Veggies On the Go 2

Can you relate?

It drives me a little bit crazy until I remember that when I was a kid about the only veggie I ate was canned green beans. I finally learned to like iceburg lettuce when I was in college. Somehow I survived until I learned to love many different kinds of veggies. I want better for my kids, and thankfully, they are getting way more veggies than I ever did, even if it isn’t always what I would consider “enough.”

Veggies for veggie scramble

Some tips I’ve learned through 19 years of trying to get enough veggies into my kids:

1. Provide them for every meal.

They can’t learn to eat them and love them if you don’t buy them and serve them.

2. Offer a variety.

I don’t love every single veggie in the world, so why would I expect my kids to? Not all of my boys like the same veggies, but they all like some. I try to serve more than one at each meal. That means that sometimes they’ll get more than one if they like everything I serve. But even if they don’t, they can at least choose the ones they like.

3. Sneak the spinach into (almost) everything.

You can’t even taste it. Check out this list of foods I tear spinach into while cooking.

4. Be a good example.

If the parents are whining about the veggies, so will the kids. Again, you don’t have to like them all, but you can be a great example to your kids when you take a nice portion of those you do love. I encourage you to try new ones every once in a while too. Our palates really do change through the years!

5. Relax.

I know we all want what’s best for our kids, so it can feel pretty awful if our kids hate vegetables and only want to eat gold fish crackers. Keep trying. Don’t nag. Don’t force. My kids have gone from eating very few veggies to loving many as they’ve gotten older.

By the way, after we had been on the road for so many days during our Christmas trip, ALL of my kids were begging for veggies and were even asking if we had spinach for salads when we got home. Their bodies have learned to crave the good stuff. Hallelujah!

Calling in for back up

I think our nourishment comes best from food. But supplements can help make sure we’re all getting what we need each day since most certainly, our diets are going to have gaps.

Our family was recently sent Juice Plus+ Orchard and Garden Blend Chewables for our kids to try. From their website:

Juice Plus+ is whole food based nutrition, including juice powder concentrates from 30 different fruits, vegetables and grains. Juice Plus+ helps bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat every day. Not a multivitamin, medicine, treatment or cure for any disease, Juice Plus+ is made from quality ingredients carefully monitored from farm to capsule to provide natural nutrients your body needs to be at its best.

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I personally found that the chewables are too sweet for me (it doesn’t take much!). I’m glad they are not sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and wish they weren’t sweetened at all. But, just like I don’t mind my kids dipping veggies in ranch dressing as a way to get the veggies down, I have to land on the fact that even though these have added sweetener, at least it’s getting the nutrients in. My kids really like the taste and don’t mind at all helping themselves get some extra nutrients in the form of a gummy! (Also, Juice Plus+ offers capsules in addition to their gummies – no sugar!)

If you are concerned that your kids aren’t getting enough nutrients from veggies and fruits, Juice Plus+ is a great option to consider. In fact, it’s not just for kids! Adults are also often short on getting enough veggies. Juice Plus+ has capsules for the grown ups, for the kids, for everyone who wants to get more necessary nutrients from fruits and veggies.

Want to try some for free?

Jennifer, a Juice Plus+ representative working with me here, is offering to give one of you a month’s supply of Juice Plus+ Kid Chewables. Warning: If your kids are like mine, they’ll need to be held back from eating the entire package at once. My kids thought it was cool I had gotten them some “healthy fruit snacks.” That’s how good these taste to them! I had to holler in, “Hey, whoa! One per day, guys!”

Juice Plus+ is definitely worth checking into as an option for supplemental nourishment for your family. Check out Jennifer’s Juice Plus+ site here. Enter to win the giveaway for a 2-month supply of chewables below! I’ll draw a random winner on Monday, January 9.
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How My Grocery Cart Looked After a Week of Travel (And is Price-Matching Going Away?)

Our family just rolled into town (at 1:30 this morning!) after a long but quick trip to Arkansas for a family reunion. We get together once every two years – and this year we celebrated our Nana’s 90th birthday! Look at this beautiful lady:

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There were aunts and uncles and cousins (and even a doggie), food, and games all weekend. We all had lots of catching up to do!

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We made it home just in time to do several loads of laundry, then send the teenage boys off to their first church camp of the summer. This leads me to my grocery shopping dilemma:

  1. We were all starving for fresh fruits and veggies after a road trip.
  2. Most of the boys will be gone all week.

I do not even know how to grocery shop for three people.

I am so used to buying half the store for my family every week that when I only have to buy for a few, I feel lost. I settled on “only” 8 pounds of strawberries, 4 pints of blueberries, 4 containers of raspberries, and only 1 watermelon and 1 pineapple. I got a bunch of mixed greens, carrots, peppers, nectarines, and peaches. I’m quite sure I bought more than 3 of us can eat. But after a week of travel food, we’ve been feasting on berries and greens all day – so maybe we’ll finish it off without a problem.

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We’re also joining with friends to take a meal to our local mission tonight, so some of this fruit is going there. :)

Have you heard anything about Wal-mart taking away Price-Matching in your area?

I’ve caught wind of a new policy rolling out for Walmart in which they will no longer offer a price-match guarantee. Boo-hoo. Some stores are already affected by this, though thankfully, my store still price-matches – at least for now.

I can’t find any official information on which stores are taking away their price-matching perk. What have you learned about this?

I’ve become quite spoiled by price-matching, so to think we might not get to anymore is quite a bummer! We’ll see how it plays out, and if I hear any more, I’ll keep you posted!

With that, I’m off to enjoy some more berries and glasses of water to counteract the french fries I ate on the road last night. :)

Veggie-n-Egg Scramble ~ A Great Last Minute Meal Idea

I think this Veggie-n-Egg Scramble might become one of my favorite and most relied upon go-to meals.

Veggie and Egg Scramble

I used to make something like this years ago, but kind of forgot about it. Weird how that happens.

A few weeks ago, I needed a quick meal before we headed out to a soccer game. I didn’t have time to cook meat, but I did have a fridge full of veggies and a few dozen eggs. I called the boys into the kitchen and started throwing vegetables and knives at them. Hold on. That didn’t come out right. I didn’t throw knives at them. (Peppers maybe, but not knives.) I’m just saying I started handing out jobs and we all worked together to make this quick and nourishing meal.

Everyone started chopping until my big electric skillet looked like this:

Veggies for veggie scramble
All the veggies are good in this Veggie-n-Egg Scramble, but I will suggest that onions are a key player. Onions give this dish such amazing flavor! Sweet peppers are a close second. Broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, and spinach come next. The beauty is that you can use whatever veggies you like and whatever you have on hand.

Saute the veggies in olive oil or butter until tender. Scramble in some eggs with salt. Toss in a little cheese for extra amazingness. So much deliciousness. Very little work. Extra wonderful nourishment.

Veggie-n-Egg Scramble ~ A Great Last Minute Meal Idea
 
Author:
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups chopped veggies (onions, sweet peppers, zucchini, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, or any others you like in any combination)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • sea salt to taste
  • shredded cheese to taste
Instructions
  1. Saute vegetables in oil or butter until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a bowl and whip with milk.
  3. Pour egg mixture over cooked veggies and salt as you like.
  4. Scramble the eggs with the veggies until they are cooked through.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top to melt.
  6. Serve

I at least double this for my family of 6 big eaters. Plus we serve it with fresh fruit. Buttered toast also helps fill them up. Seriously. We really do eat and keep eating at our house.

TIP: If you happen to have leftover ham or bacon – even chicken or beef – hanging out in your fridge, those would be a wonderful addition to this dish.

This meal has become one of the easiest ways to get my family to eat a big variety of veggies in one meal. It ranks right up there with Easy Noodle Stir-Fry.

Easy Veggie and Egg Scramble

Do you ever make a meal like this at your house? What veggies would you or do you include? 

It’s meals like this that make “teaching our kids about nutrition” quite natural.

P.S. It is worth noting that this dish makes it possible to feed my family very well for about $1.00 per plate. (We won’t talk about how many plates we go through during a meal…)

Twelve More Pounds of Strawberries and a Whole Lotta Green Food

It wasn’t very long ago that our family didn’t go through many fruits and veggies in a week. Even during the first few years of our real food journey when I was learning more about nutrition, I never made fruits and veggies a big part of our meals.

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Slowly but surely, we’ve added more variety of produce to our diet. Gradually, we’ve noticed our bodies crave more and more fresh food. It’s pretty fun actually! (Don’t be thinking we’re all that though because we also still like chips. Meh.)

I love strawberries

I’ve probably already been pretty clear about how excited our family is that it’s strawberry season again! We recently went through 16 pounds of them in less than a week because they were in our house for the first time in months and we could not stop. As we ate the last few berries from that stash, we all started freaking out about being back down to zero strawberries again. (I exaggerate. No one was actually freaking out. Not even me. I was perfectly calm. Who even cares about strawberries?)

The next day, I went to the store with a plan to price-match a good deal on strawberries. While there, I found that the store had two-pound containers at a better deal than the one-pound price-match. I only put 6 containers in my cart because I’m nice and wanted to leave some berries for the other customers. Twelve pounds of strawberries ought to hold us for a few days, I think.

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I’ve officially decided this is my favorite time of year to buy food. Oodles of goodness is starting to become available again at good prices. Not only did I get a cart full of strawberries, I also got pears, avocados, asparagus, mixed greens, cantaloupe, and spinach. You’ll see in the picture that I also got cream and cottage cheese. The cream is for the berries and the cottage cheese is going to taste marvelous with the fresh pineapple I got last week.

The post without a point

I would appear that I’m just rambling here, showing you all my berries and other fresh produce. What am I actually trying to say?

  1. Buy fresh produce!
  2. Eat fresh produce!
  3. Have fun trying new fresh produce items.
  4. Challenge yourself to enjoy more fresh produce than you might typically eat each day.
  5. I love strawberries.

If you aren’t eating many fruits and vegetables, you aren’t fueling your body with enough nourishment. Period. I care about this so much that if you came to my house, I would actually share my strawberries with you. Now that is a true friend.

Don’t just nod and smile and walk away. It’s time to commit. Leave a comment here telling us about some of your favorite fruits and vegetables, and let us know what you’re going to buy at the store next time you go. Increase the fruits and veggies, friends! Let’s do this!

Cheesy Vegetable Casserole

This Cheesy Vegetable Casserole makes it possible to help your entire family enjoy veggies!

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This recipe is versatile so you can add your family’s favorite veggies – or be creative so you can learn to eat new ones.  The mixture of all these ingredients makes any vegetable taste great!

Cheesy Vegetable CasseroleYum

Cheesy Vegetable Casserole
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds fresh variety of vegetables of your choice (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, zucchini, or asparagus all work well)
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (I use Hain Safflower)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1  ½ cups shredded cheese (cheddar or Colby jack work well)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes in a 350° oven.

Cheesy Veggie Casserole

This recipe is perfect to add to your holiday brunch table. Here are some dishes I recommend serving with your Cheesy Vegetable Casserole for brunch:

The thing about brunches is that you’re wide open to serving just about anything – from main dish to side dish to breakfast dish to dessert. That’s what makes them fun. Putting this Cheesy Vegetable Casserole on the table – even with other breakfast type foods like muffins and sausage – really adds something special. And let’s not forget that it means your putting veggies on the table. With cheese. Veggies with cheese are always a hit!

What are your favorite dishes to add to a brunch table?

Check out DHGate for their fun kitchen gadgets!

Pasta Salad Bar – Easy, Inexpensive, Nutritious, and Cool

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Here you will find one of the coolest (literally) meal ideas for summer. Here you will see a great way to feed your whole family – even the picky ones. Here you will experience deliciousness that isn’t expensive, offers lots of nourishment, and is super easy to put together. Yes, here is a great idea given to me by several readers last summer that I finally tried last week. Again, I must ask:  Why did I wait so long to try this?

Welcome to our lives, oh lovely Pasta Salad Bar. We’re sorry we never met before now. You’ll be a regular visitor at our house this summer. We will load our bowls full of your goodness, based on what sounds good to each of us at that moment.  You are deliciously fun.

Pasta Salad Bar

How do you put together a Pasta Salad Bar? Simple. Just set out everything you have on hand that might taste good in a pasta salad. This is a great way to eat up leftovers or odds and ends from your fridge. Here are some Pasta Salad Bar food suggestions:

  • Cooked and cooled whole wheat or brown rice pasta – any shape
  • Chopped sweet peppers
  • Chopped carrots
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Cooked chicken, tuna, steak, roast beef, or other meat that sounds good
  • Chickpeas or other cooked beans
  • Corn
  • Olives
  • Shredded cheese
  • Favorite salad dressings – we prefer homemade Italian Salad Dressing and Ranch Salad Dressing

Once your food items are set out, simply let everyone fill their bowls with whatever they like. Stir in favorite salad dressings to make a creamy pasta salad, a tangy pasta salad – or a mixture of both! (Yep, I like both Italian and Ranch in my pasta salad.)

This meal is extremely filling and hearty. Oh, and a side of fresh pineapple or chilled watermelon goes great with this.

Ever done something like this before? What other ingredients do you think you would add to this Pasta Salad Bar?

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