Summer is a great time of year to experiment with fun and healthy foods. With the kids home for the summer, meal time is more flexible and foods don’t need to be school approved or lunchbox friendly. My children have always loved fruit, but during the school year we often fall in the rut of only eating fruit at snack time. And veggies? Well, they’re more of a challenge. This summer we’re making it a goal to eat more healthily, and we’re beginning with our fruits and veggies. Here are some tips and trips to sneak in the good stuff this summer.
- Grape Olives – Rather than prepare just a standard PBJ for your kids, cut the sandwich into four triangles and top each one with a white, seedless grape! For extra pizazz buy the tooth picks with decorated ends. To really sneak in some extra fruits, stack two or more grapes on top of each sandwich quarter. Don’t want to waste? Simply wash the ends of the toothpicks and reuse at your next lunch!
- Sneaky Sandwiches – Not only can you sneak a little extra nutrition on top of your kids’ sandwiches, but why not slide some inside as well? Instead of jelly, offer up a peanut butter and strawberry slices sandwich. Add more crunch – and vitamins – to their cheese or sandwich meat creations by layering thinly sliced cucumber under the top slice of bread.
- Get Dippy With It – Try some new vegetable dip recipes and ask your kids to try a variety of veggies sliced and ready for dipping. Start with easy favorites like baby carrots and cucumber then move up to the more acquired tastes of sweet peppers and broccoli.
- Go Raw – No one likes to cook in the summer and heat their already steamy home. Who says that vegetables need to be cooked just to be on the dinner plate? Many a meal at our home has been served with carrots and ranch or broccoli spears and dip. We’ve even been known to hand our children individual lettuce leaves and let them nibble like rabbits through the meal. Chill out this summer with some cold, raw veggies!
- Fruity Dessert – Recently my son began a strange phase I’m calling the dessert phase. We almost never serve dessert at meals and yet suddenly he began asking where his dessert was at the end of each dinner. You want dessert? Sure thing! Try a watermelon slice on the rind, sliced bananas in a bowl, a serving of sugar free applesauce, or strawberries fresh from the garden. The natural sweetness of fruit is a great ending to any meal and requires no additional sweeteners.
What are your favorite tips for encouraging your children to eat more fruits and veggies any season of the year?
1. Fruity ideas from Meals Matter.
2. Healthier Snack Ideas for Kids from Family Corner.
3. Healthy and Fun Snacks from Disney’s Family Fun.
4. Tips from Dr. Sears for picky eaters.