*Smart Mama’s Cook!* Taste The Rainbow

It’s been pounded in your head since you were just starting school, but often times we make up as many excuses as we can think of to avoid eating our veggies. Either they taste too bland, or you forget to fix them, or you just don’t know how, this week we are going to get rid of ALL excuses so you can get all your servings in each day! It isn’t as hard as you think to get a fruit and veggie in every meal! Here is how you do it!

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, a dietician or a nutristionist. I’m not talking about counting calories here, or even points for that matter. These are just one foodie’s ideas, and obviously you should follow your doctor’s orders. 

Fruit: Throw them by the handfuls into muffins, quick breads and pancakes. Add them sliced and diced on top of your yogurt and oatmeal. 
Veggies: Add veggies into omelets, frittatas and scrambled eggs, shred them and put them in muffins, quick breads, or pancakes (um, carrot cake pancakes?! Yes please!)

Fruit: Eat them whole, use them in smoothies (with yogurt, not ice cream please!), dip slices into peanut or almond butter. Fruit salsas (this is one of our favorites) are also an awesome idea, especially if you make your own chips! You could even make your own granola bars and chock them full of fruits, nuts, and healthy grains!
Veggies: snack on veggie sticks with homemade bean dips and salsas! (Try out this black bean dip, hummus, or fresh and easy salsa). Also make homemade baked kale chips, baked veggie chips or baked tortillas chips.
Side Dishes: 

Garlic Roasted Zucchini

Fruit: Fruit salads and apple sauce make great side dishes! Plus a fruit salad (no jello or cool whip please) makes a great snack, too!
Veggies: Well, there is always a salad, haha but they don’t have to be boring! Use the darkest greens you can find and top with 1/2 cup of fruit or sliced veggies, throw on some nuts, a tiny bit of cheese, and a homemade vinagrette dressing and you have one awesome side dish! (Try to stay away from store bought salad dressings. Even the “healthy” fat free or low fat versions are terrible for you, they are loaded with salt, sugar, and crazy chemicals to make them taste good. Just make your own, they stay fresh for up to 5 days in the fridge!)

And don’t forget about purees, either! They aren’t just for babies anymore! Try a Garlic Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip puree instead of mashed potatoes one night.

Remember to try different preparations of veggies, too. Just because you don’t like something steamed doesn’t mean you won’t like it grilled, or roasted. How you cook and season your veggies can totally change the flavor of it, so be a little adventurous and try a new way to cook it! Check out this awesome board from Cooking Light on tons of super fast and super easy side dishes

Fruit: Fruit is awesome in entrees! Use fruit salsas on top of chicken, pork, or steak. Also braise your pork with apples or cherries. Or try a fruit salsa in your tacos!
Veggies: Add them EVERYWHERE!!! You can add pretty much any chopped or shredded veggie into any pastas, casseroles, soups, stews, stir fry, or pizzas (even on frozen pizzas or takeout). Shred veggies and add them to meatloaf, meatballs, burgers, and marinara sauce. Purees can also be used here to add in some extra veggies – try a roasted red pepper puree or carrot/yam puree in mac and cheese for some extra zing. While I am not an advocate of “sneaking” vegetables into your kids food (why not just teach kids to eat healthy to begin with?), I do think that books like The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious have some great ideas on how to add more veggies to your meals. 
Fruit: Make some fun DIY popsicles, add chopped fruit on top of ice cream (throw some nuts on there, too!), mash some fruit up with some honey or maple syrup and top a piece of cake, even fruit cobbler is a great choice if you use fresh fruit and a great oat crumble! When we eat dessert we try and add so many healthy delicious toppings that it outweighs the fact that I am eating a big bowl of ice cream. Yes, my mind totally works like that. There are also a ton of awesome fruit themed desserts out there (like this Browned Butter Bananas with Orange-Bandy Sauce (swap out the brandy for vanilla extract to make it kid friendly). Or try Grilled Peaches with a bit of whipped cream.
Veggies: Veggies are great hidden in veggies, too. I know you are totally rolling your eyes at me right now, but trust me. Add shredded zucchini and carrots into cakes, brownies, and cookies! Try these Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies or Black Bean Brownies (they are delicious, trust me!)

Well, I hope this helps to give you some ideas (and recipes) to try, and helps you get at least a little bit more fruit and veggies in your daily diet! Just remember to have fun with it and try new things! 🙂

Week 1: Meal Planning
Week 2: Prep Work
Week 3: Maximize Your Meals

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    July 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    LOVE this post..you know I'm all about eating the rainbow this summer. So many natural colors to take advantage of. I really love the strawberry brown butter pancakes, but I told you that already I will email you and Shelley after work about 'the situation'

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