Everybody knows eating lots and lots of fruits and veggies is good for you, especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and most especially if you’re pregnant and breastfeeding. At my house the fruit part is easy. I’m pretty sure my three year old would happily exist on a diet of fruit and noodles, but the vegetables, now that’s a little trickier. So, we’ve come up with a few tricks to get extra green (and yellow and orange) into our diet.
1. Veggie Smoothies
Dump a banana, some yogurt, some frozen fruit, and a handful or spinach or kale into a blender and turn it on. Voila! Breakfast with veggies! We’ve also been known to add over ripe tomato and various leftover cooked veggies as well. This makes a great snack too.
2. Green Mac and Cheese
I first made this for St. Patrick’s Day and it was such a hit it has become part of our regular meal plan. Make noodles. Put a handful of kale, spinach, or some other dark leafy green into a magic bullet or food processor with some milk and blend till relatively smooth. Then heat it in a saucepan and add in your cheese of choice (shredded). We usually use goat cheese due to cow milk sensitivities at our house, but I’ve made it with cheddar too. Poor the sauce mixture over the noodles. You might need to add a bit of salt. It’s especially yummy with bacon crumbles.
3. Veggie Pasta Sauce
Use a jar of pasta sauce (or make your own if you’re so inclined) and then add in a ton of extra veggies. Carrots, summer squash, kale, spinach, and broccoli are all good. If you have picky eater puree them and no one will ever know the difference.
4. Green Pancakes
My husband is the official pancake maker in our house. He takes the milk called for in the recipe and blends it in the magic bullet with kale or spinach. Then he makes the pancakes. The first time we did it the kids thought it was a little funny that their pancakes were green, but they’re pretty used to it now!
I suppose this isn’t very sneaky but you can add lots of veggies to an omelette. My kiddos like to pick their own omelette ingredients.
6. Fresh Veggies with Dip
Fresh veggies become much more popular when there’s something to dip it in. Hummus is a favorite at our house, but ranch veggie dip works too, and don’t forget celery with peanut butter!
7. Frozen Greens
Chop greens and freeze them in ice cube trays. Dump them into a plastic freezer bag for easy storage and then add them to everything: chili, soup, stew, pasta dishes, and mashed potatoes. You can also buy frozen greens and then crumble them into whatever you’re making.
Making permanent changes to a healthier diet is a slow process. If this list is overwhelming just choose one idea to start with. Every little bit of extra nutrition counts!