Ok, confession time, I am one of those people who is not the greatest cook, so I tend to make dishes that are easy and familiar. So in my house, we eat a lot of spaghetti, hamburgers, tacos, chili, etc. Foods that are easy for me to prepare, and that I know my family will love and eat.
The problem is that sometimes it’s nice to find some variety, try new, healthy foods without breaking the budget too much, and not slaving over a recipe for an hour on a dish that my kids will take one look at and push away.
Here are some easy ways to get more nutrition in your diet without going too far out of your comfort zone. The first is adding more color to your dishes. Add red and yellow bell pepper pieces to a dish, it really livens up cold spaghetti salad, and looks so pretty in the summertime. Add a side of cooked yellow squash and zucchini to any meal and it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. Try adding a kiwi, mango, or pineapple to your fruit salad. It gives the salad a nice ‘pop’ of color and a yummy zing too!
Second, ‘hide’ veggies in dishes. If you have picky kids like me, you will understand the importance of this. It’s so hard to get kids to eat their veggies, I have had to resort to some drastic measures to ensure they are getting what they need in their diets! I have put shredded zucchini in my spaghetti sauce before and my kids never noticed it was in there. Shredded carrots are good in sauces too. I know many people who have smoothies in the morning who add a healthy bunch of spinach to the blender, as well as flax seed for extra nutrition. Homemade granola bars are delicious and easy to make, and you get the added bonus that you can add pretty much whatever you’d like, the combination choices are endless.
Finally, have fun with nutrition. Take your kids to the store with you, let them pick out their own apples, tomatoes, green beans, etc., make it fun in the kitchen when cooking too. Show them how to properly wash fruits and veggies before eating them, have them add the the tomato they picked out to the salad, they will be more likely to eat the dish if they know they contributed to it. Even if you don’t have kids, trying out a new recipe is always fun, you can add things that make it more your style, and you can feel good knowing that you tried something new, and healthy too!