Healthy Children - December 2014

How to Eat More Vegetables

  • Buy vegetables that are easy to prepare. Pick up pre-washed bags of salad greens and add baby carrots or grape tomatoes for a salad in minutes. Buy packages of veggies such as baby carrots or celery sticks for quick snacks.
  • Use microwave to quickly “zap” vegetables. White or sweet potatoes can be baked quickly this way.
  • Vary your veggies choices to keep meals interesting.
  • Try crunchy vegetables, raw or lightly steamed.

 

For the best nutritional value:

  • Select vegetables with more potassium often, such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans.
  • Sauces or seasonings can add calories, saturated fat, and sodium to vegetables. Use the Nutirtion Facts label to compare the calories and % Daily Value for saturated fat and sodium in plain and seasoned vegetables.
  • Prepare more foods from fresh ingredients to lower sodium intake. Most sodium in the food supply comes from packaged or processed foods.
  • Buy canned vegetables labeled “reduced sodium,” “low sodium,” or “no salt added.” If you want to add a little salt it will likely be less than the amount in the regular canned product.

At meals:

  • Plan some meals around a vegetable main dish, such as a vegetable stir-fry or soup. Then add other foods to complement it.
  • Try a main dish salad for lunch. Go light on the salad dressing.
  • Include a green salad with your dinner every night.
  • Shred carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, casseroles, quick breads, and muffins.
  • Include chopped vegetables in pasta sauce or lasagna.
  • Order a veggie pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, and ask for extra veggies.

 

Make Vegetables More Appealing:

  • Many vegetables taste great with a dip or dressing.
  • Try a low-fat salad dressing with raw broccoli, red and green peppers, celery sticks or cauliflower.
  • Add color to salads by adding baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or spinach leaves. Include in-season vegetables for variety through the year.
  • Include beans or peas in flavorful mixed dishes, such as chili or minestrone soup.
  • Decorate plates or serving dishes with vegetable slices.
  • Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables in a see-through container in the refrigerator. Carrot and celery sticks are traditional, but consider red or green pepper strips, broccoli florets, or cucumber slices.

Vegetable Tips for Children:

  • Set a good example for children by eating vegetables with meals and as snacks.
  • Let children decide on the dinner vegetables or what goes into salads.
  • Depending on their age, children can help shop for, clean, peel, or cut up vegetables.
  • Allow children to pick a new vegetable to try while shopping.
  • Use cut-up vegetables as part of afternoon snacks.
  • Children often prefer foods served separately. So, rather than mixed vegetables try serving two vegetables separately.

 

Keep it Safe:

  • Rinse vegetables before preparing or eating them.  Under clean, running water, rub vegetables briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. Dry with a clean cloth towel or paper towel after rinsing.
  • Keep vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood while shopping, preparing or steaming.