How to get your family to eat more vegetables!

Fruit and vegetables are a really important part of a balanced diet, but sometimes it can be hard to make sure every member of the family is eating the right amount each week.  When looking at portion plates recently, I realised my family are really not eating enough vegetables and I would like to up their intake.

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Vegetables can be expensive, especially the ones I buy – organic, fair trade wherever possible, but they are not as expensive as organic meat, fish or poultry.  If you eat more veg and less protein it should balance itself out or even save you money, especially if you grow your own, buy vegetables in season and shop around for good deals. Apart from the supermarkets there are various fruit and veg schemes or local farmer markets you could peruse and you could even pick your own in the summer. 

I have a few fussy eaters to contend with, so there needs to be some sneakiness when upping the vegetable intake, but I have some ideas as follows:
  • Soup – this is nice and filling and you don’t have to tell the fussy eaters which vegetables you used!
  • Pureed veg – use this a sauce or an ingredient in a sauce for rice or pasta and nobody even needs to know about it.
  • Vegetable stock and even vegetable juice can be used to cook rice and pasta and can boost the veg content of sauces.
  • Crudites/ staples – there are some vegetables such as carrots, cucumber and peas that they will all eat happily, so we have them pretty much every day.  Make funny faces with them and make them smile if nothing else! 
  • Grate, shred or finely chop veg.  You can then mix it in with omlettes, dips (e.g. hummous), sauces (e.g. tomato sauce), pies, stews and stir frys or wherever you can get away with it.
  • Mash – if your family are mash fans then you might be able to get away with combining mashed potatoes with mashed vegetables – they will never know (apart from the funny colour).   Sadly my family don’t seem to be that interested in mash.
  • Try new ways of cooking vegetables – I used to buy fruit and veg boxes from Abel and Cole and they have lots of fantastic recipes for fruit and veg on their website (I stopped getting the boxes when I got pregnant as although I used to love not knowing what I was going to get each week, when I got pregnant I got very fussy).
  • For some sweeter options you could make a healthy version of carrot cake, disguise vegetables in smoothies like in this blueberry lettuce smoothie recipe or incorporate veggies in muffins, such as these strawberry courgette muffins
One advantage of disguising vegetables this is that you don’t need to worry about only using the pretty bits – edible skins and stalks can all get added in meaning you get full use of the vegetables you buy.

How do you get your family to eat more vegetables?  I’d love to hear any tips or comments you have.

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    1. I totally agree that there's no reason not to get enough veggies into our children- even if we have to use some creativity to conceal them at times. Soups and smoothies are excellent for this aren't they!
      I would always offer small portions of the vegetables the kids didn't like as a matter of course and would ask that they try one bite if they could- this is the French way- which is an expectation that kids eat what the adults do. having said that if there was a vegetable they really didn't like they would not be forced but here was an underlying expectation that this was what was available . Sounds rather black and white but it works, none of my children are fussy eaters now. Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network x

    2. Zoe

      Thanks for the tips! I agree it is definitely worth offering them vegetables that they wouldn't normally eat and asking them to take a bite. I often put cucumber in sandwiches and both of my boys went through long stages of removing it from their sandwiches before they eventually ate it!

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