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  • Misty

10 Ways To Get Some Extra Fruits And Vegetables In Your Family’s Diet

We all know by now that we should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But knowing and doing are two different things, aren’t they? Sometimes it is just not easy to get them all in there. We are constantly tempted to fill up on convenience and salty, fatty junk food. If your family is anything like mine, they’d much rather fill up on a bag of chips or my famous pizza rolls instead of trying an apple or a plate of steamed broccoli. So we’ll have to get creative. Here are a few ideas to get some extra vegetables and fruits in your family’s diet.

1. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, yogurt or milk and ice in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder in there for good measure as protein is our satiety macro. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go. To make it even more appealing for your kids, use some frozen yogurt or a scoop of ice cream in the smoothie. They won’t believe that you are letting them have ice cream for breakfast. Relax, they're getting fat, protein and carbohydrate. A little sugar in the ice cream is fine and in fact, can help reduce their morning cortisol if sleep was interrupted.

2. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your child’s lunch box, pack some yogurt-covered raisins and keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to oatmeal. I prefer buckwheat cereal for its high magnesium content.

3. Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches/wraps/roll-ups. You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and anything else they will eat. You can even make beautiful grain free roll-ups with turkey, folio cheese wraps from Costco, sprouts and chopped apple. I like to add chopped apples to my chicken salad.

4. Have a salad bar at dinner. Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce and let everybody create their own perfect salad.

5. Let them drink their fruits and vegetables. Keep an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices in the fridge and encourage everyone to drink them as a snack or add to a smoothie. Tomato juice, pomegranate, grape, orange and apple are all nice antioxidant choices but do remember to take your blood sugar into consideration. A small snack with your juice might be a better idea or consume a bit of juice with a full meal. Studies show that when orange juice is combined with a high fat/high carb meal, gram negative bacteria is significantly reduced. A little salted orange juice can go a long way when the adrenals are taxed or there is an interruption in your nightly sleep. Waking between 1-3 a.m. can be a result of the liver running out of glycogen. This can set your day up for stress, over eating and exhaustion resulting in weight resistance and mood disorders.

6. Try this for dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit or better yet, make a small milkshake.

7. Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter or cheese. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies, preferably carrots as they are the best gut astringent and serve them with homemade ranch dip or cream cheese with a sprinkling of "everything but the bagel." And of-course there’s ants on a log. Spread some cream cheese, cottage cheese or nut butter on the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack).

8. Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something you’ve never tried before and to get your family’s curiosity peaked, make a game out of it. How did it grow? What region? Is it a fruit or a vegetable... With a little luck their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension to trying something new. You could try artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store.

9. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies. Both of these make some great comfort food when the weather gets cold. Making a vegetable soup is your easiest choice to pull out. You can add an egg, chicken breast or hamburger to the soup or on the side. This makes your prep time much shorter as well.

10. Start “My Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before, otherwise they lose a turn and Mom gets to pick.

Incorporate a few of these ideas and you will have everyone in your family eating more fruits and vegetables in no time.

Here is another tip:

Now that everyone in the family has gotten a taste for it, make sure you always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies available and ready to snack on.

Don’t forget to add a bit of butter or olive oil to your cooked veggies so that you can more easily assimilate the valuable fat soluble nutrients.

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