As registered dietitians and busy Moms and aunts, we’re always looking for time-saving ways to squeeze more nutrition into our kids’ meals (and our own!). One of the best ways to boost fiber, vitamins and minerals is to find delicious and seamless ways to include produce in meals. Here we share four of our favorite kid-tested, mom- approved, husband and boyfriend A-OK’d, nutrient boosting secrets.
1. Make an all-natural, no-sugar added fruit smoothie. Kids love smoothies (and we older kids do too)! Even Tammy’s pickiest daughter doesn’t complain about eating breakfast when it includes a smoothie (and trust us, she complains about everything!). And it’s so simple—Tammy just blends frozen berries or other fruit and Greek yogurt and voila! You’ve got a delicious, fiber-packed, protein and calcium-rich breakfast. You can mix it up and try different flavors of yogurt and different kinds of fruit. Even spinach is surprisingly mild and your kids may not even notice it’s in there!
o Time-saving tip: Since mornings get so hectic Tammy actually blends the smoothie the night before, cover it and refrigerate it until morning. Morning routine: Put a straw in the smoothie—easy, peasy!
2. Pack pre-packaged, pre-washed produce. If you’re like us and most moms, packing lunches for yourself (many of our clients pack their lunch daily per our suggestions) or your kids, seems to be an all too lengthy process. Anything that cuts down the preparation time is a much welcomed change! That’s why when we recently discovered Naturipe Washed and Ready-to-Eat Single Serve packages we were thrilled.
o Each package contains 1.25 ounces of fresh blueberries, so it’s the perfect size for little ones. It provides 20 calories, vitamin C, fiber and beneficial antioxidants, called anthocyanins, which contribute to the berry’s blue color. They’re available nationally at retailers including Wal Mart, Safeway, SaveMart, Market Basket, Harris teeter, BI-LO, Winn-Dixie.
3. Keep pre-cut produce and dip on hand at snack time. Kids have a blast when it comes to dipping—and this includes dipping vegetables. And our clients have informed us—give ‘em a dip and adults will go to town on the veggies too! Try carrots, peppers, celery, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and cucumbers.
o As for the dip, experiment to find what you and your kids like best. Try salsa, guacamole, bean dip, Greek yogurt and balsamic dressing.
o Another great way to dip? Simply wash kale, take it off the stems and let it dry by air. Once dry, spritz with oil, your fave spice and throw in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Or for the more perfect looking chip, make these Guilt-free Kale Chips
4. Squeeze produce in at dessert time. This is one of the best ways to keep dessert light for you while also teaching your kids early on that dessert doesn’t have to be loaded with added sugar. Fruit is the perfect way to get some extra nutrients in.