Fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories, fiber-rich, full of disease-fighting vitamins and minerals, and nutritious in any form—fresh, frozen, dried, or canned. So why aren’t you and your family eating more of them?
You have every good intention to serve more fruits and veggies to your family, but in practice, you find it hard. How do you prepare them? How do you keep them from going bad? How do you fit them into your budget? How do you accommodate fussy eaters?
These are all questions that we’ve asked at Sayazu World.
For parents, we think its really important to set a good example of healthy eating. If fruits and veggies are not an important part of your diet, it’s tough to expect your kids to incorporate them into theirs. So how do you make fruits and veggies a practical part of your family’s nutrition?
Here’s how we’ve done it.
Buy in season
In-season fruits and veggies are easier to find, usually less expensive and infinitely more delicious. A great source for seasonal produce is your local farmer’s market. The US Department of Agriculture also publishes a seasonal produce guide to help you figure out when which fruits and veggies are in season.
When you’re getting ready to go to the grocery store, prepare a list of fruits and veggies based on the meals you have planned for the week. Be sure to include fruits and veggies for breakfast, kids’ lunches and snacks. You’ll save yourself money and guilt from watching produce go bad by only buying what you will actually use.
Buy in bulk
This is a good idea when you find fruits and veggies on sale or for the ones that you use often. We buy things like kale, spinach, onions and bananas in bulk. Onions last long and we use them on almost a daily basis. Kale and spinach are easy to freeze and throw into hot meals and smoothies alike straight from the freezer. If the bananas we buy get overripe before we can eat all of them, we cut them into small pieces and freeze them for smoothies or use them for banana bread.
Buy in small amounts
For those fruits and veggies that don’t last long and don’t freeze well, buy as needed in small amounts so that you can enjoy them without having to throw them away.
Shop and Chop
When you buy fresh produce, chop it up immediately before storing it in the fridge. This will make it easier to add it to your meals later. We like to have a chopping session using the food processor to chop up a mixture of celery; red, yellow and orange peppers; broccoli; carrots; and sometimes cauliflower for a colorful and tasty mix of veggies that can be quickly added to stews, curries, casseroles and soups.
Involve the whole family in food preparation
We are all more invested in a meal if we help with its preparation. This is particularly true for children. Start by taking a family trip to the farmers market or grocery store and picking out the fruits and veggies you are going to eat together. Have kids clean carrots, break broccoli and cauliflower stalks apart and remove the stalks from greens. Have your reluctant veggie eater spouse prepare the salad. When practical, involving the family makes everyone more enthusiastic about what’s on their plates.
Have fun with your food
For kids, the more creative the meal is, the greater the likelihood that they will eat it. We have a pinterest board completed devoted to “fun food.” We make dancing veggie people, cauliflower sheep, and caterpillar grapes.
Plan ahead so you can continue to set a good nutritional example for your family and create fun, positive experiences around fruits and veggies. Your bodies will thank you!