Does your family eat enough fruits and vegetables? If your answer is yes, then give yourself a pat on the back. However, most families do not get the recommended daily dose. The problem with that is fruits and vegetables contain many essential nutrients that are under consumed, such as potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate.
Depending on the age of your child, most children need between 1 and 1 1/2 cups of fruit and 1 and 2 cups of vegetables daily; adding about a cup of each for adults. To find out the exact amount your family needs, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.
To get your family to eat more fruits and vegetables, read the tips below. For additional tips and recipe ideas, contact your Hy-Vee dietitian!
1. Keep visible reminders. If they don’t see it, they probably won’t choose to eat it. Make fruits and vegetables readily available to eat. Place a fruit basket on the counter at all times and put away the chip and cookie bags. Make sure cut-up fruits and vegetables are the first thing you see when you open the refrigerator.
2. Try something new. Make it an exciting event each week. Feature a new fruit or vegetable. Allow your family to be involved in the selection process at the grocery store, as well as preparing the new item.
3. Put your kids in charge. Nothing excites children more than allowing them to be in charge of something, and it may even help them to eat healthier! Ask them to help with stirring, measuring ingredients or breaking apart vegetables.
4. Dip it. Offering a dip on the side can make fruits and vegetables much more appealing. For a quick veggie dip, mix plain yogurt with a French onion seasoning packet. For a fruit dip, mix vanilla yogurt with a little peanut butter and cinnamon.
5. Blend into a frosty treat. Smoothies are a perfect opportunity to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Blend yogurt, frozen fruit of your choice and spinach together and you’ve got a tasty drink that is also healthy and fiber-filled!
6. Disguise them. Next time you make mashed potatoes, steam up some cauliflower and mash it right into the potatoes. Puree vegetables into soups or grate carrots and apples and mix into muffins. Get creative! There are many ways to sneak fruits and vegetables in your family’s favorite dishes.
7. Use as snacks. When you’re on the go, keep apples and oranges in your car. Or have carrot sticks and hummus when a snack is needed before dinner. Fruits and vegetables can be just as portable as other high-sugar, convenient snacks.
8. Make it fun. If your family associates eating fruits and vegetables with having fun, it may increase their chance of enjoying a healthy lifestyle for the long-term. Make meals and snacks a pleasant, exciting atmosphere, and you may have a family who loves fruits and vegetables.
9. Double it up. If a recipe calls for one cup sliced mushrooms, add two cups. It will only require a couple minutes of extra chopping and will increase the nutrients in your dish.
10. Be a good role model. As head of the household, you are your family’s biggest role model. If you are eating fruits and vegetables, your habits may carry onto the rest of the family. Also, if you do not like a particular food, still allow the other members of the family try it. You may be surprised at the foods they decide they like!
This brightly flavored, healthy orzo pasta salad recipe is a refreshing and easy side dish to pair with chicken or lamb. Serve warm, room temperature or cold. It is also delicious when made with quinoa instead of orzo.
Orzo and Grape Salad with Feta and Mint
Serves 6 (about 3/4 cup each).
All you need:
1 cup orzo, preferably whole-wheat
2 tbsp Hy-Vee Select extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp Hy-Vee lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups quartered or halved seedless grapes
1/3 cup Hy-Vee Select crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
All you do:
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool.
2. Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add grapes, feta, mint, onion and the orzo; toss to combine.
Nutrition Facts per serving: 202 calories, 7g fat, 2g saturated fat, 7mg cholesterol, 192mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 5g protein.
Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.