More and more research is finding that some babies as young as 8 months are getting too much sodium in their diet from processed foods. Many mums know their families should be eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, but may wonder where to begin. Here are tips for increasing fruit and vegetable intake at family meals:
- Top toast with cooked mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, onion, spinach, or any leftover vegetables; add an egg or reduced fat cheese for a more substantial meal.
- Chop and add your favorite vegetables to an omelet or savory pancake
- Add berries to whole grain waffles
- Fruit is a great breakfast on the go as it requires no cooking
- Roll scrambled eggs, salsa and leftover vegetables into a tortilla.
- Don’t be limited to “breakfast foods”, heat up some lunch or dinner leftovers
- Top a whole grain english muffin with hummus and slices of tomato and cucumber
- Blend frozen berries with milk or a milk alternative for a smoothie
- Make a big batch of soup over the weekend with low sodium vegetable broth (preferably homemade with onions, carrots, celery, garlic and herbs), vegetables and legumes and freeze in small portions. Take them out to reheat for quick, hearty weekday lunches or a veggie packed side dish for your sandwich
- Prep raw veggies ahead of time (like while making soup) and keep them in the fridge for a go to snack
- Top English muffins, pita bread, or tortillas with diced vegetables and fresh basil then sprinkle with reduced fat cheese for a quick mini pizza.
- Don’t let your brown bag, veggie packed sandwich get soggy- pack the veggies slices in a separate container and add them only when you’re ready to eat.
- Salads and sandwiches can be more than lettuce and tomato! Add different grated vegetables, like beets or carrots to your favorite salads and sandwiches.
- Make your next wrap in a big leaf of lettuce instead of a tortilla, lettuce leaves can hold bigger veggies like leftover asparagus.
- Always serve dinner with cooked vegetables and/or a salad.
- Double the vegetables you prepare for dinner and use the leftovers in meals the next day.
- Make meat go further by adding extra vegetables in a stir fry, casserole or pasta dish like lasagna.
- Add veggies (frozen is ok) or legumes (e.g. dried beans, peas or lentils) to soups for added flavor and taste.
- Add carrots, celery, and onions to your next meatloaf.
- Purée squash, eggplant, peppers, carrots, and zucchini your next spaghetti sauce, nobody will know the difference!
- Try mashing cauliflower or turnips instead of potatoes. You can start by using only half cauliflower until your family gets used to the taste.
- Wilt spinach to have as a side dish or to boost your casserole, entree, stew, soup, or sauce.