The Finger Lakes New York Eat Smart New York program encourages parents to make it easy for kids to reach vegetables and fruit.
What’s the first thing your kids grab when they come home hungry after school? If you said chips, crackers or energy bars, you are not the only one! Packaged snacks are easy and convenient, but why not make vegetables and fruit just as easy to grab, both for you and your kids?
As the kids head back to school this fall, Finger Lakes Eat Smart New York is running a campaign to provide you with ideas, recipes and tools to help your family enjoy fresh (as well as frozen or canned) produce to make it easy to “grab the good stuff.” It takes a little planning, but it’s worth it.
Eating more fruits and vegetables will help the whole family stay healthy. Here are a few things to try out:
Keep fruits and veggies where they’re easy to see. For instance, have a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table and remind your family to wash the fruit before eating.
Store ready-to-eat fruit and veggie snacks in the fridge. Here are some quick and easy ideas:
- Peel and section oranges. Store in plastic snack bags or covered bowls in the fridge.
- Store sliced vegetables in the refrigerator in snack bags or clear containers, and serve with dips like hummus, tzatziki, baba ghanoush or guacamole.
- Toss veggies with cooked pasta and your favorite oil and vinegar dressing for a healthy, ready-to-eat and satisfying salad.
- Make veggie or fruit kabobs: Assemble chunks of melon, apple, orange and pear on skewers for a fruity kabob. For a raw veggie version, use vegetables like zucchini, cucumber, sweet peppers or tomatoes.
Kids love to dip their food. Whip up a quick dip for veggies with yogurt and seasonings, such as herbs or garlic. Serve with raw vegetables like broccoli, carrots or cauliflower. Fruit chunks go great with yogurt flavored with cinnamon or vanilla extract. Here are some more tasty dip ideas (one serving is 2 tablespoons of dip):
- Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce: 1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt, 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream, 2 teaspoons of honey and 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard. Mix all ingredients together. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Makes four servings.
- Curry Dip: 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream, 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt, 1-1/2 teaspoon curry powder. Mix all ingredients together. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Makes eight servings.
- Avocado Dip: two medium ripe avocados, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 cup salsa, 1/8 teaspoon salt. Peel and chop avocados. Toss avocado with lemon juice in a small bowl. Add salsa and salt. Mash with a fork. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Makes 12 servings.
Find more ideas, recipes and tools for eating more vegetables and fruit (including a farmers market and curbside market locator) at grabthegoodstuff.org.
Maggie McHugh is a senior nutritionist with Finger Lakes Eat Smart NY at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wayne County.