How I use fresh vegetables and fruits in meals and snacks in the summer
"Blue skies smiling at me... Nothing but blue skies do I see?"
Does anyone else just want to sing when they open their weather app and see all sunshine forecasts for as long as the eye can see? Glory Hallelujah! I wish I could say the same thing about getting my picky little eaters to eat their greens and other vegetables. That frustrating daily act is not always so easy to sing about when it seems more like a chore most day
Some tools I've learned through my 7 years of parenting my 3 rambunctious boys include: letting them help you choose what to eat does wonders!!!
I follow a strict diet due to some allergies I have so I hand my boys a cookbook, of all foods I can eat, and they each get to choose a snack idea, dinner idea, and/or dessert idea. Man oh man has this helped! For instance. We just discovered smoothie bowls for breakfasts. It's just a thick smoothie poured in a bowl with some healthy toppings like nuts, chia seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, etc. I found some recipes on my go to "cookbook" aka Pinterest and researched smoothie bowls, saved ones I approved of and out of those I've preselected, let them choose one. They actually chose a green colored smoothie bowl that had spinach in it!!! Again, Glory Hallelujah!!! It felt so good to tell the doctor that day that my son had already had spinach in his system and it wasn't even 9 in the morning. I'll include the recipe at the bottom for those eager to try.
For snack ideas, we've come up with apple slices with a nut butter of your choosing and put almond slivers standing upright in between them and sandwich them together so the red sides of the apple are facing in the front. This makes it look like a big smile, or teeth. Perfect around Halloween time or anytime really you're up for making it.
For dessert one day, I made brownies with zucchini hidden in them. After my kids gobbled them up and were asking for seconds (which I declined), I told them the very secret ingredient. Their jaws almost hit the floor. But the next day when they finished eating all their dinner, they asked for them again. Anyone else hear those angels singing??? Seeing them enjoy eating vegetables is a huge win in my book!
Another quick go to favorite of ours for "dessert" is blended frozen banana with a splash of milk. It looks and tastes very similar to vanilla ice cream. It's quick, easy, and perfect for a hot summer day. You can add unsweetened cocoa powder to it if chocolate ice cream is more your thing or blend some freshly picked strawberries you just got from the Saturday market to make strawberry ice cream. Options and toppings are limitless!
Seeing my kids eat fruits and vegetables and asking for them again, is just one thing that makes me want to sing. What song is in your heart when you see your kids eating healthy foods? Or maybe you don't like to sing, maybe you like to dance, well sing or dance when you see those victories! They are worth celebrating :)
Cheering you on!
Green Smoothie Bowl recipe (from Sophie Van Tiggelen from her website A Squirrel in the Kitchen)
-2 cups (packed) fresh spinach
-1⁄4 avocado, peeled and chopped
-1 mango peeled and diced
-1⁄2 cup fresh strawberries (about 3 large ones)
-juice from 1 lemon (3 TBS)
-juice from 1 orange (1⁄3 cup)
-toppings: fresh fruit, nuts/seeds, coconut flakes
Blend all ingredients except toppings together, pour in a bowl and top with your favorite toppings. Enjoy as a breakfast or a snack :)
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Kristine.
Kristine is a full time mother of 3 rambunctious lovable boys, married to her best friend Kaleb, and is learning to love herself a little bit more everyday through her imperfect life. She enjoys running when her adrenal fatigue isn't trying to gain control of her life, playing in the ocean with her kids, and laughing. She and her family reside in Salem, Oregon.
In this week's guest post, Kristine shares her tips for including fresh vegetables and fruits in summertime meals and snacks. If you would like to explore more fresh produce ideas for the sunny days of summer, consider taking our free online lesson called: Be Healthy With Veggies and Fruits. You can find this lesson in the Choosing Healthy Foods category of wichealth.org.