Three cheers for cauliflower!
We know it can be tough to get your family to eat the recommended 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables each day. But there's good reason to boost your veggie intake: Vegetables are high in fiber and water, making us feel full and lowering cholesterol. They are low in sodium, which is great for blood pressure, heart failure and liver disease. And each color of fruits and vegetables has specific antioxidants that help reduce an imbalance in cells.
"A problem with eating enough vegetables is that many people don't like the taste of vegetables, so it becomes a chore," said Molly Sleger, SwedishAmerican dietitian. "It is an even bigger chore for parents to have their kids eat vegetables, too."
But take heart! Just a few simple changes in your planning can make getting extra veggies a snap. Here are Sleger's top 10 tips:
Plan out which vegetables to make each week. Planning creates intention, which often results in follow through.
Join a co-op or go to a farmers market. The produce often tastes better, and the farmers can provide tips on how to prepare the vegetables.
Let your kids choose a vegetable at the store and help prep the vegetables. Depending on their age, let them wash, dry, peel, chop, or add vegetables to a bowl.
Plant a small vegetable garden. Tomatoes and green beans are simple options to start a garden. Let kids water the plants and pluck the vegetable off the stem.
Chop vegetables a day or more in advance.
Prepare the vegetable side before starting the entrée.
Make and bag extra vegetables to pack in work and school lunches.
Add veggies in ways that can't be tasted: shredded zucchini in hamburgers. Try spinach in a pasta dish or extra veggies in soup.
Reuse dinner leftovers to create a salad for lunch.
Add a scoop of pureed pumpkin to oatmeal, or veggies from last night's dinner to your breakfast eggs.