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

Smart and Creative Ways to Boost Veggie Intake

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Smart and Creative Ways to Boost Veggie Intake

Use these color-based food ideas to boost your child’s vegetable intake for a “fight-o-nutrient” boost.

Fight-o-nutrients” are super nutrients that, alongside vitamins and minerals, help protect against disease. This is one of the reasons why the Super Crew loves their different colors of foods!

Most Americans don’t get enough colorful plant foods in their diets and are missing out on the essential nutrients that help protect against heart disease, promote eye health, and prevent cancer. So let’s try to boost these nutrient-packed foods each day for long-term health and a mixture of flavors and textures.

Rainbow Smoothie

In the warm summer months, there’s nothing better than cooling down with a smoothie. Add a handful of baby spinach or kale to the kids’ favorite combinations of fruit. Experiment with new fruits too – ever tried grapes in your smoothies? Once you do, you will never forget them! Toss in some ground flaxseed for a boost of omega-3s and extra antioxidant power.

Make this a fun activity by spreading out all of the ingredients before you mix them and count how many different colors you use. Then challenge yourselves to include one more color next smoothie, or to try different foods within a color group. You will all have fun in the kitchen and will be getting a boost of super nutrients. The new Super Crew book has many other fun ideas to boost the color in your family’s meals!

Healthy eating for families starring the super crew from

Red & Orange Tomato SauceSuper Crew characters andy and kira holding a pizza with a face made out of basil leaves and mushrooms

Making tomato sauce? Add a couple of tablespoons of canned pumpkin or cooked, puréed carrots for an extra creamy texture. Serve the sauce with whole-grain pasta over bibb lettuce, baby spinach or leafy greens. Adding minced garlic, onions, chopped broccoli or sweet red bell peppers is also a great way to boost the herbs and vegetables in your pasta or pizza sauce. Carlos loves garlic because it contains a compound called allicin that kills bacteria – keeping him healthy and ready to tackle the day.

Fall Inspired Bowl of Oats

Craving a hot, comforting breakfast? Boil up and mash sweet potato with chopped apples, then add cinnamon, walnuts, rolled oats or granola and vanilla yogurt with a teaspoon of maple syrup for a delicious, warm and healthy breakfast.

Orange Mashed Potatoes and Squash

Mashed potatoes anyone? Mash some delicious sweet potatoes mixed with butternut squash for a burst of orange in your day. Adding squash will lighten the dish and boost nutrition.

Green Peas n’ Mac-n-Cheese

Hide-n-seek! Petite baby peas pair perfectly with mac-n-cheese. With its rich and delicious flavor, mac-n-cheese is an ideal canvas for sneaking in power-packed veggies. You can also make it fun and eat like Eskimos! Try serving frozen peas or sweet corn as an ice-cold appetizer –give it a fun name like igloo food.

White Baba Ghanoush Dip

Do you like hummus or eggplant? Try baba ghanoush. It’s a hummus-type dip made with roasted eggplant. You can whip up your own at home in a flash with a blender or food processor.

Colorful Homemade Juice Galore

Juicing? Add some carrots or cucumbers to your favorite juice mixtures to keep them sweet and refreshing. While whole fruits and vegetables offer more fiber, this can be a good alternative to still get the “fight-o-nutrients” if the kids respond well to different textures. Just make sure to pair it with a snack with lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats for balance.

Green Edamame

Edamame-licious! This delicious soybean is a great appetizer. Simply boil, lightly salt, and serve! Once cooked, you can easily slide out the edamame beans from the pod. If you have leftovers, toss some into a salad with some red cabbage, sesame seeds, shaved carrot, and miso dressing for an Asian inspired lunch or dinner.

Green and Purple Kale Crunch

Crunch on this! Kale chips are the latest hit and for a good reason. They are a tasty and nutritious alternative to potato chips. Just toss the leaves in a little olive oil, lightly salt, and bake. Get creative and mix some green and purple kale for some extra fight-o-chemicals. Have everyone flavor their own, share them, and see whose is the yummiest!

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