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eat-more-vegetables-chefJune 17th is Eat Your Vegetables Day! The entire month of June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, and June 17th is a perfect day to incorporate vegetables into a meal and continue on with this part of a healthy diet. Remember when your parents used to tell you to eat your vegetables? Well, they were right! Vegetables are essential for living a long, healthy life, and they are delicious! In recent years, there has been a steady rise in the number of families that grow their own vegetables. The most popular crops for home gardening are tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, and beans.

 

Here are 4 ways you can help your family eat more vegetables:

1.  Community Garden

Check to see if your neighborhood has a community garden, or plant some vegetables in your own backyard! Have the kids help water and nurture the plants. Kids growing vegetables = kids eating vegetables. The kids will enjoy watching your garden veggies grow into ripe edible vegetables, and they will want to eat more vegetables since you planted them together. It is fun to see what other people are growing and your family might want to try eating a new vegetable!

eat more vegetables - community garden

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(Above a community garden thrives with vegetables and a backyard growing tomatoes, squash, peppers and zucchini)

2.  Make a cute veggie tray (With DIP of course!)

Studies show that 3 to 5 year olds eat about 80 percent more veggies when they had something to dunk them in. Carrots are a healthy snack and when they look like a pretty flower, and are paired with some ranch dip, they are fun to eat! Of course we love this broccoli Christmas tree decorated with red tomatoes! Sliced yellow peppers make the star, cauliflower provides the snow and pretzel sticks are the tree trunk! This Christmas tree will encourage family and guests to eat more vegetables at the Christmas party for sure!

eat-more-vegetables-dipeat-more-vegetables-tree

3.  Make a salad with your kids.

With supervision, kids as young as three can help prepare a salad. They can tear salad greens and herbs, shell peas, snap beans, and add nuts or seeds. They can cut soft veggies with a rounded plastic or a non-serrated butter knife. Another tip is to keep the ingredients simple and familiar. The kids will eat more vegetables if they know what they are! You can also put the cut up salad ingredients in separate containers and let them build their own salad.

4.  HIDE the Veggies!

If you really are having a hard time convincing your family to eat more vegetables, you may have to resort to “hiding” veggies in their food! Popular ways to do this is grating carrots and zucchini into breads and pureeing veggies into pasta sauces. Make a fun dinner recipe that hides the veggies and they will not even know they are getting a full serving of vegetables! This Hush-Hush Lasagna recipe is delicious and it deceptively hides the vegetables. My kids don’t even realize they are eating zucchini, peppers and carrots! I found this recipe on a blog called What Smells So Good by blogger Sara Reid.

Hush – Hush Lasagna 

http://www.yummysmells.ca/2012/05/hush-hush-lasagna-or-lasagne.html

eat-more-vegetables-lasagna

Makes 6 individual casseroles (or one 9×5 loaf pan)
Sauce

1/4 large sweet onion
1 large zucchini
1 large red bell pepper
1 large carrot
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups no-salt-added plain tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (or low-fat regular parmesan cheese)
Pinch dried basil
Pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice

The Rest…

1 cup 1% cottage cheese
1 egg
8 “Smart” or white whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked, drained and cut into thirds
150 g (about 5.3 oz) low fat Mozzarella cheese

  • In a food processor, finely grate the onion, zucchini, pepper and carrot.
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the shredded vegetables.
  • Cook, stirring often, for 5-6 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce and water, then add the ketchup, parmesan, basil and salt.
  • Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. The vegetables should be extremely soft.
  • Transfer mixture to the food processor (no need to clean), add the lemon juice, and puree until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a bowl beat together the cottage cheese and the egg until well combined.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F and grease 6 individual casseroles.
  • Place layers of sauce, noodles, cottage cheese, sauce, mozzarella, noodles, sauce, etc in each vessel, finishing with a sprinkle of mozzarella.
  • Place vessels on a baking sheet and cover with foil.
  • Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake a further 10-15 minutes, until browned and bubbly.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Amount Per Serving 

Calories: 257.0
Total Fat: 6.9 g
Cholesterol: 46.8 mg
Sodium: 377.5 mg
Total Carbs: 33.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.4 g
Protein: 18.2 g

No matter what method you choose, any of these will encourage your family to eat more vegetables. Parents will feel good knowing that they are providing better choices for the kids, and the kids will feel great because they are eating more vegetables! For all of you foodies and culinary experts out there, ChristmasOrnaments.com has a variety of chef Christmas ornaments that you will love!