Now that we’ve seen the importance of including fruits and vegetables in our diet, how can we make sure that our family will eat them? By playing a game called, trick or treat; emphasis on the word, trick. Vegetables can be a treat if they are part of a favorite meal. Example: tacos (stuffed with veggies), pizza with vegetable toppings, hamburgers with sliced tomatoes and lettuce, raw vegetable sticks with a favorite dip, cauliflower with cheese sauce, etc. But we may likely rely heavily on the trick aspect of introducing disliked vegetables.
If you take the time to learn what healthy foods your children do love, it will make your job easier. Print the Favorite Healthy Foods and Meals template in the Schedules and Templates section of this book and assign a sheet to each child and/or husband. Write their favorite healthy foods on their assigned sheets. You may be surprised to learn that they actually enjoy quite a few healthy foods. Once you’ve learned what their favorite foods are, you can serve these foods openly. The next step will be to secretly add disliked vegetables into their diet. Here are ways to trick your family into eating nutritious food.~ Most children will eat vegetables if they are a part of homemade soup.
~ Pass cooked vegetables in a food processor and add to hamburger patties, meatballs or meatloaf.
~ Finely grate zucchini or carrots and add to pancake batter.
~ Add finely chopped cooked vegetables to canned or packaged soup.
~ Add freshly juiced carrot juice to canned vegetable or tomato juice.
~ Add grated zucchini to square or muffin mixes.
~ Puree vegetables and add to chili or spaghetti sauce.
~ Add grated carrots to tuna or chicken salad.
~ Hide veggies in casseroles and main dishes.
~ Mix fat-free sour cream into a favorite salad dressing.
~ Serve raw vegetables with a favorite dip.
~ Mix regular peanut butter with freshly ground peanuts.
~ Use whole grain bread for grilled cheese sandwiches ~ the toasting will hide the color of the bread.
~ Go from white bread to 60% whole wheat for one month, then introduce whole-grain bread. You can make a sandwich using one slice of the 60% bread and one slice of the whole-grain bread. Serve with the lighter bread slice facing up.
~ Most children will eat a meal that they helped to prepare.
~ Let them make cookies with you. Use whole wheat and carob chips and they won’t know the difference, especially if they are the ones making the cookies. There aren’t too many children who will not eat their own baking.
~ You can create a desire to eat healthier treats by designating a new healthy treat as, mommy’s treat. You can say something like, "these are mommy’s very special yummy cookies, and you can’t have any, okay?" You can even place the cookies in a fancy cookie jar to increase the appeal. Let a couple days go by before ‘reluctantly giving in’ to their requests.
~ Sneak some whole-grain cookies into a bag of favorite mixed cookies, and eventually replace unhealthy cookies with healthier cookies.
~ Use cookie cutters to make fun sandwiches with whole-grain bread.
~ Mix whole-grain noodles into regular spaghetti or macaroni and cheese dishes.
~ Mix soaked soy bits in the ground beef. Slowly increase the soy/ground beef ratio in meals over time and they won’t notice that they are eating soy bits instead of ground beef.