10 tips to get your family to eat more fruits, veggies

Published 7:01 am Sunday, June 14, 2015

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.

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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.

7. Get creative. There are many ways to sneak fruits and vegetables in your family’s favorite dishes.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

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!

 Fiesta Fruit Medley

Serves 8 (1/2 cup each)

 All you need

•2 c. blueberries

 Fiesta Fruit Medley

Fiesta Fruit Medley

•2 c. quartered strawberries

•1/2 c. chopped jicama

•1/3 c. chopped red •onion

•3 tbsp finely chopped basil

•2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

•1 tbsp blueberry agave nectar

•1 tbsp coconut flakes

 All you do

In a medium bowl, toss together blueberries, strawberries, jicama, red onion and basil.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and agave nectar. Toss with fruit. Cover and chill for 2 hours until serving time. Top with coconut flakes before serving.

Source: Hy-Vee Seasons Summer 2015