We all know by now that we should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But knowing and doing are two different things, aren’t they? Sometimes it is just not easy to get all of the veggies in our diet. We are constantly tempted to fill up on junk food, just because it’s quick and convenient. Growing a garden is a fantastic way to guarantee access to the freshest, most nutrient dense food for nourishing your body; and using garden vegetables can really help speed up healing from chronic illness. But you have to make sure you use what you grow; if you don’t, it will all go to waste.
If your family is anything like mine, they’d much rather fill up on a packet of applesauce or a bowl of Paleonola instead of munching some carrots or some raw broccoli. So we’ll have to get creative. Here are a few ideas to sneak some extra vegetables and fruits in your family’s diet.
Tips for Using Garden Vegetables
- Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, veggies, and healthy fat like avocado in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder or collagen in there for a little extra protein boost. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go!
- Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your child’s lunch box, pack some dried mangos in your husband’s briefcase and keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to granola in the morning for a little extra flavor and texture. My family loves banana chips for snacking when we’re on the road!
- Add some fruits and vegetables to each and every meal. You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to accompany a peanut butter sandwich. Turkey wraps go great with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and other cool, crisp veggies. Roasted vegetables are a great partner for any main dinner entree, and can be really delicious!
- Have a salad bar at dinner. Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, nuts, seeds, as well as several choices of fresh fruits along with the lettuce and let everybody create their own perfect salad. For a healthy dressing, use pure olive oil or avocado oil and delicious flavored balsamic vinegars! You’ll really appreciate using garden vegetables when you realize the flavor difference of fresh veggies.
- Try this for dessert: Caramelized cinnamon apples are a great, easy, healthy dessert. Or you can make a frosted lemonade that will really hit the spot in the warm summer months!
- Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter or sunbutter and raisins. Applesauce makes a wonderful snack on-the-go! Trail mix is a fantastic way to get an energy boost and a dose of healthy fats quickly. And you can never go wrong with a raw veggie tray and dip.
- Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. Both of these make some great comfort food when the weather gets cold, and when you use nutrient-dense bone broth as the base, you’re getting a good dose of health for your gut as well.
- Start a “Family Veggie Day”. Including the kids in choosing foods is a great way to get them to be more adventurous with what they try. Once a week, the kids get to choose a veggie at the store for dinner, and we cook it together. They are so proud of themselves, and they really like trying new things!
It’s not always easy getting the family to be more open-minded when it comes to meals. However, it’s still possible if you stick to it and make it the new normal for your home. Using garden vegetables really helps make it more hands-on and enjoyable!
If you’re struggling with creating healthy meals, try my 7 day meal plan and shopping list to get you started!