Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ideas for increasing vegetables in you family

Increasing your families vegetable consumption can be challenging.

I have had to work to keep my family eating  veggies. It doesn't just happen. Buying vegetables doesn't necessarily mean the family will eat them. I have always pushed vegetables for my family, but when they are in charge of meal preparation, veggies aren't usually part of the preparation. They will naturally head towards carbohydrates, breads, immediate gratification foods. The following are a few ideas of how I work them in to my families diet.

1. If hubby is cooking and you are around remind him to use the fresh produce. If that doesn't work, get it out and assist in cleaning and preparing it. His cooking has a tendency to be light on veggies. Hubby's famous chili tends to consist of onions as the only veggie besides tomato sauce.  I assisted him in adding: tomotillo's, celeriac, green peppers,  hot peppers, tomatoes.

2. In lunches pack the freshest veggies you can find. Carrots, cherry and green peppers work well, a small dish of hummus too. Always add lettuce to sandwiches, or parsley, cilantro, etc. Cucumbers and feta cheese with a little dill packs well for lunches.

3. Kale Chips! Keep them available, add them to lunches, store in containers and bring out a couple of times a week. I have enjoyed  making with spice/herb infused oils, Tuscan blend is our favorite,and/or a locally blended seasoning salt.  Use very little oil. Dehydrated at 100 degrees for two hours is best. They can be made in the oven however my family thinks prefers dehydrated. I think the tend to cook and become a little more bitter if go to long in oven. It is a timing thing.

4. Buy local produce every week. Budget yourself the time and money to purchase fresh produce. Visit your farm markets or join CSA. A CSA is community sustained agriculture programs in which you purchase shares for. Yes can be expensive, so split it with a friend or extended family. This was our first year in a CSA. I loved it and can't wait for it to start up again next year.

The CSA produce was more than my family would eat, and that was after splitting it. To get through the produce was challenging. Every week  there was another share coming and to manage the produce was work! I dehydrated some for the winter, especially dill. I think I have a lifetime supply. We learned to use a great variety of vegetables. That was fun, kind of like on the show Chopped. You are given this box and you have to come up with a tasty recipe. Can anyone give me a suggestion for two foot long daikon radish?

 The menu planning centered on what was in need of using first and building the meal or dish around it. My son's comment "I can't wait for this CSA to be over." Too bad for him that means farmers market, as I am budgeting the same expense on veggies year round. Make your own spaghetti sauce, salsa, slopppy joe sauce, anything that comes from a can or bottle, challenge yourself to make your own. You can find any recipe on the computer now a days, just type in and wallah...all kinds of ideas.

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