With so many fruits and vegetables in season throughout the summer, it is easy and cost-effective to add more delicious produce to your day. Whether visiting the community farmers market or enjoying the produce at your local supermarket, you have your pick of fresh, flavorful, healthy produce. But what do you do with it? And how do you get picky eaters to try a variety of colorful fruits and veggies?
In honor of National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month here are some tips for preparing and making the most of the wonderful, fresh flavors of the summer season.
Get Kids Involved
- Invite children to the farmers market or visit a “pick-your-own” farm. When kids are involved in choosing the produce, they are more likely to eat it.
- Have kids choose a vegetable or fruit to prepare as an appetizer while you are making the main meal.
- The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published a new study that found children who played with their food were more likely to eat healthy. Researchers asked kids to dig toy soldiers out of their mashed potatoes, as one example. While you may not want your kids pawing through their salad to find hidden treasures, this study does support the ideas of letting kids get involved in the preparation and making food fun.
Present Produce in a Fun Way
- Use cookie cutters to make different, fun melon shapes. Keep the cut outs handy in the refrigerator for a quick, easy snack.
- Make a fruit kabob with pineapple, banana, papaya, pear chunks, or a vegetable kabob with peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. Who can resist food on a stick?
- Make a colorful pizza filled with veggies, such as orange and red peppers, broccoli, or spinach. Make a smiley face with the different vegetables.
Add Produce When and Wherever You Can
- Add your favorite vegetable between the layers of your lasagna. Try mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, or eggplant. For picky eaters, try pureeing the veggies before adding them in.
- Add veggies, such as broccoli or asparagus, to mac ‘n cheese. You can also puree sweet potatoes or butternut squash to mix with the cheese sauce.
- For some delicious, kid-friendly recipes, try these great online resources. I know I’ll be trying to make the fruit leather from the Super Healthy Kids website this summer.
Finally, set a good example and eat more produce yourself!