I was raised on canned veggies, iceberg salads, and fruits packed in syrup. Our stir-fry came from a can, and our mashed potatoes were more margarine than potato. Therefore, a love of produce didn’t come naturally to me. Can anyone else relate?
As I began to evaluate my food choices in my early twenties, I began introducing many more whole foods into my diet, and over the years I have become a card-carrying veggie lover. Veggie co-op day is my favorite day of the week!
If you’re not accustomed to a very colorful diet (i.e. if all of your food is either brown or white), then I highly encourage you to get a little adventurous! Afterall, your kids are never going to love healthful food unless you do first.
One way in which I’ve developed a palette for produce is by vegging up my everyday go-to dishes. (Forgive my pics; I took most of these before I got my awesome DSLR. You all photograph your food, too, right? 😉 ) Hopefully this will give some of you vegetably-challenged families out there a little inspiration.
Throw it in there!
Who doesn’t have spaghetti and meatballs in their normal rotation of dinners? Of course you do. So the next time you make it, how about throwing in whatever you have the frig at the time? Carrots? Absolutely! Zucchini? Of course! Green beans? Go for it! Asparagus? My mouth just watered.
Get creative. And if it doesn’t work, then just try something else next time.
Hide it in there!
I love love love Jessica Seinfeld’s book Deceptively Delicious. This is where I learned the art of hiding vegetable purees in food. My favorite dish right now that incorporates this idea is buttered noodles with cauliflower puree (she uses yellow squash), topped with lentils, Italian sausage, and roasted broccollini. YUM!!!
I also make Jessica’s oatmeal recipe with pumpkin and peanut butter hidden in there. My kids LOVE it. Experiment with it and use the flavors that your family enjoys.
Whenever I have veggies in the frig that are in danger of going bad, I’ll steam them and put them through the blender and freeze them in baggies. Then I just add them to whatever they might pair well with. I really love doing a blend of zucchini, yellow squash, cauliflower, and onions and adding them to mashed potatoes. It’s so delicious that you don’t even need butter, just a splash of milk and some salt and call it good.
Slow cook it!
Another family favorite is goulash or slow-cooker soups. I love it because it’s so incredibly easy and way healthy. Just dump it all in the crock pot and enjoy a dinner that you didn’t have to work for. I usually do something like this:
- lean ground beef or turkey or chicken breast
- whatever tomatoes I have (canned, fresh, sauce, paste, etc.)
- whatever other veggies I have on hand (carrots, potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, corn, cauliflower, turnips, celery, bell peppers, red peppers, etc.)
You can serve it on top of some brown rice or some whole wheat corn bread. It’s a crowd pleaser and oh so easy.
I could go on and on, but I’ll let you get started with these ideas for now. 😉 Let me know if you try any of it! Happy cooking!