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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Fun & Unique Ways to Serve Vegetables to Your Family

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Getting your family to eat their vegetables can be a challenge. However, there are many fun and creative ways to serve vegetables, some sneaky, some not.

Some days, it seems nothing will compete with mac & cheese and french fries. Make sure your kids get all the valuable benefits veggies offer—like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a plethora of phytochemicals (cancer fighting compounds).

By incorporating a few simple swaps into your traditional meals, you’ll easily cut the calories and fat, while still partaking in all the joys that cooking and eating together as a family can offer.

Consider these ideas to add cancer-fighting veggies:

  • Replace 1/3 to 1/2 of the ground beef with chopped mushrooms in Bolognese sauces and burgers.
  • Replace 1/2 of the potatoes with cauliflower to make mashed potatoes.
  • Craving something sweet? Sub a 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree for all the ingredients normally required in a box brownie mix. No need to add anything else. If you want a little extra chocolate, add semi-sweet chocolate chips for this this ooey, gooey, fudgy treat!
  • Instead of potatoes au gratin, swap out half the potatoes for zucchini or squash instead.
  • Create your own version of potato chips! Use sweet potatoes, kale, cabbage, apples—whatever you feel like—as your base, instead of regular white potatoes.

How To: Cut your veggies up or pull apart the kale and cabbage leaves, then coat everything in a bit of olive oil (1-2 tablespoons), and bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes. The end result is cheaper, healthier, and an interesting way to work fruits and vegetables into your family’s usual repertoire.

  • Now that winter is here, hearty soups are on menus everywhere. Rather than simple chili or lentil soup, try placing some leafy greens (romaine, kale, swiss chard, etc.) in the bottom of the bowl before pouring the soup on top. The heat from the soup will wilt the greens, softening them up, changing both the texture and flavor—for the better! Plus, you get the added benefit of vitamins, minerals, and tons of fiber from the additional leafy greens!

Have fun with your standard recipes. Be creative! Experiment as you go, and I guarantee you will find some new ways to serve vegetables that your family will look forward to eating! Learn more about cooking with the kids with the Healthy Kids Today, Prevent Cancer Tomorrow Campaign.


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About the Author

Picture of Therese Nadler, MS, RD, CDN

Therese Nadler, MS, RD, CDN

Therese is a certified registered dietitian based in New York City and has been working in corporate wellness and providing nutrition counseling since she graduated from her masters program at Columbia. She also has years of experience working in the natural food industry and specializes in functional and integrative nutrition. With a strong understanding in the basics of biochemistry, Therese embraces a whole foods plant-based approach to nutrition to help clients achieve real results.

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