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Kids In The Kitchen

It can be difficult to get children to eat their vegetables, especially when they’re very young.  Children can be very picky eaters, but getting them involved in the shopping and cooking process can get them exited about what they created, even if the dish is full of vegetables.  Many websites have kid friendly recipes, as well as ways you can involve your children in the kitchen.  It is possible to get your kids to eat vegetables, start by giving these tips a try!

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Build Your Meals

When planning your meals and/or grocery shopping list, it may be helpful to plan around what vegetables are on sale, or already accessable in your kitchen.  This can aid in making it easier to meet your daily vegetable requirement because it creates a focus on vegetables.  Additionally, many recipes are flexible in what vegetables are required.  For example, vegetable soups may only call for potatoes and carrots, but adding peas, celery, or corn only enhances the dish.  Fried rice is also a recipe that can be enhanced by adding extra vegetables.  It makes these foods just that much healthier and helps you meet your daily requirement.  

If you are interested in ideas for weekly meal plans that incorporate fruits and vegetables, click here and here.

Make it Convenient

You are probably more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables if you make it convenient to do so.  Here are a few ideas to help you make eating fruits and vegetables and easy decision.

Prepare fruits and vegetables in single serving sizes for an on-the-go snack.  For example, bag carrots, celery, sliced apples, or grapes so you can easily grab it when you’re in a hurry. 

Make fruits accessable by keeping them in a bowl on your counter, instead of tucked away in a drawer in your refrigerator.  This is just a subtle reminder to eat them instead on other less healthy snacks. 

Eat more dried fruit.  Dried fruit is small and compact, but also filling.  They often come in small packaging that could be taken with you, or easily accessed for a snack. 

Try frozen vegetables instead of fresh.  Fresh vegetables may take a little more preparation than you feel you have time for.  Frozen vegetables usually only require a few minutes of final cooking on a stove top or microwave.

For a few more ideas, click here.

Vitamins and Minerals

We’ve been told that we should eat fruits and vegetables because they have lots of vitamins and minerals, but have you ever wondered what produce is high in various vitamins and minerals.  I was curious and after a little research, I came across this website.  It shows nutrition information for various fruits. 

In addition to that research, I came across this website that gives some ideas on how to best retain the vitamins and minerals in your produce.  Some of the ideas were to cook your vegetables in as little water as possible, and avoid leaving cut produce exposed to light, air, or heat.  I had never heard that before.  For other ideas, check out the link!

Fruits and vegetables are part of a well-balanced diet.  To maintain your weight, you must consume as many calories as your body uses.  Fruits and vegetables are helpful with this because they are some of the lowest calorie per volume foods.  This is because they are high in fiber and water content, helping you feel full with fewer calories. 

To learn how many calories are in some of the most common fruits, click here, and for vegetables, click here

One simple way to meet your fruit and vegetable requirements is to drink them! 100 % fruit juices (and vegetable juices) count towards your daily intake.  However, most of your requirements should be met through whole fruit (frozen, fresh, dried or canned).  This is because whole fruits contain fiber, which helps prevent some chronic diseases. 

Additionally, just because a beverage label says it is a fruit juice doesn’t mean that it’s 100% fruit juice.  They often have sweeteners that are high in calories.

So, how should you decide whether or not you should be drinking more or less fruit juice?  I would recommend choosing whole fruit over juice when possible, and choosing 100% fruit juice over soda pop.  Small steps like this can improve your health!

Some people may wonder if taking a mulitvitamin everyday is an acceptable substitution to eating fruits and vegetables.  Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.  Taking a multivitamin doesn’t change the serving suggestions of fruits and vegetables you should eat.  This is because fruits and vegetables contain fiber and antioxidants (which help prevent chronic diseases) that a multivitamin doesn’t have.  Of course, multivitamins have their place, and it is recommended that certain populations take them, including older adults and woman of childbearing age.  To find out if you should be taking a multivitamin in addition to your fruits and vegetables, click here.