Forget five a day. The most recent studies suggest we should be eating upwards of seven different fruits and vegetables every day for optimum health. If you’re struggling to get your kids to even look at a vegetable, it can feel overwhelming.
But adding vegetables to your child’s diet might be easier than you think.
Let’s break it down.
Most kids eat three meals a day, plus one or two snacks, depending on their age. That’s four to five opportunities every day to incorporate some plant based goodness.
Over our upcoming posts we’ll offer suggestions for each of these opportunities. Vegetables might not be something we traditionally associate with breakfast (in the UK at least), but they totally can be!
Today let’s look at five ways to add vegetables to your breakfast to start the day winning.
A handful of spinach, a few cubes of beetroot, frozen florets of broccoli, cauliflower or chunks of courgette can all be added to your favourite smoothie without really altering the flavour profile. Start small and increase the amount each time as you - and your little ones’ - taste buds get used to the added veg. And unless they’re an extreme veg-dodger, let your child help you put it in so they know what they’re eating.
Note: too much spinach can make a berry smoothie look like a murky swamp so be careful with your colour combinations or serve in an opaque cup.
Avocado is a classic but talk to your child about what else they might like. Sauteed mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, smashed broad beans, hummus or plain old beans on toast are all delicious options. Or why not turn things on their head and make the toast the vegetable - add slices of sweet potato to the toaster set high then serve with your favourite toppings (peanut butter, slices of banana and a sprinkle of hemp hearts are a hit round here).
If your child is happy to see and enjoy eating actual pieces (!) of vegetable in their food, adding them to eggs makes for a tasty, nutritious breakfast. Stir mushrooms or spinach into cheesy omelettes, scramble eggs with softened sweet peppers and onions or bake mini frittatas in muffin tins packed with grated courgette, sweetcorn, peas or leeks. We find a little bit of cheese goes a long way to making any of the above more palatable.
Next time you make porridge, try adding grated courgette, carrot or even riced cauliflower along with some cinnamon, vanilla and a handful of raisins. Carrot cake porridge anyone? Pumpkin or sweet potato puree are also delicious additions with a drizzle of maple syrup, or for the truly adventurous try savoury porridge stirred through with finely chopped spinach and topped with a fried egg.
Pancakes make the perfect vehicle for added vegetables. Spinach, beetroot, carrot or courgette can all be blitzed into the batter with great success and the blending eliminates any issues your child might have with texture. Keep an eye out for our monster breakfast pancake pizza coming in May’s box.
For more ways to turn your child on to vegetables, try one of The Veggienauts Club monthly vegetable discovery boxes. To subscribe, click here.