Tips on kid-friendly fruits and vegetables

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As part of a “Prescription for a Healthier, Active Life” for children and families, the American Academy of Pediatrics to encourages these four basic components of the 5210 program:

  • Eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Limit screen time to 2 hours or less per day.
  • Get 1 hour or more of physical activity every day.
  • Drink fewer or 0 sugar-sweetened drinks.

According to the USDA, it is recommended that you intake five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. If you have a child, this may prove to be an almost impossible task. Healthy Lee is providing you with some ways to sneak healthy foods in the dishes your kids love.

Stick it in a food processor: Kids love spaghetti. Anything that includes pasta, children are bound to enjoy. Don’t worry, there is a way to make pasta healthy. Use your blender or food processor to add some veggies to your pasta sauce! For example, puree broccoli or peppers for a great source of vitamin C, or blend carrots and spinach for a blast of vitamin A. Mix that right into your tomato sauce, and your children won’t even know its’ in there.

Put it on a pizza: Adding veggies to a pizza is a great way to get your kids to eat a serving a veggies, while eating a food they love. Get a hot-pizza to-go and add some onions, peppers, or even that tomato sauce from the pasta night before. If you really want to get creative, make your own pizza and puree some veggies together for the tomato sauce. We found a Grilled Vegetable Pizza recipe on Food Network that would be great for you to cook with your children:

Photo courtesy of Trialx.org

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 2 packages dry active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water from the tap
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • Flour for the work surface
  • A sprinkling of cornmeal
  • Store-bought Pizza dough can be used instead

Topping:

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • Red peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Asparagus
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Scallions
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper

Directions:
Dough: Place flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook. While mixer is running, gradually add water, knead on low speed until dough is firm and smooth, about 10 minutes. Turn machine off. Pour oil down inside of bowl. Turn on low once more for 15 seconds to coat inside of bowl and all surfaces of dough with the oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Sauce: Pour tomatoes into a strainer that has been fitted over a microwave proof bowl. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes. Press all juices into bowl. Set crushed tomatoes aside. Place bowl with tomato juices in microwave and cook on high until thickened to consistency of ketchup, about 20 to 25 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes to sauce. Cool to room temperature. Toppings: Slice some vegetables. Skewer onion slices to keep them together. Brush vegetable slices with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place vegetables on hot grill pan. When done, set aside. Assembly: Preheat your oven to highest setting, 500 or 550 degrees. If using a pizza stone, preheat oven 1 hour ahead. Punch dough down, cut in half. On generously floured work surface, place one half of dough. By hand, form dough loosely into a ball, stretch into a circle. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into large circle until very thin. Don’t worry if your circle isn’t perfect. If you get a hole, pinch edges back together. To prevent dough from sticking to counter, turn it over and add flour as needed. Transfer dough to pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal. Ladle tomato sauce on pizza dough. Add assorted vegetables. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.

 

Shakes & Smoothies: Making a fruit or vegetable smoothie provides your child not only with calcium boosters such as milk and yogurt, but fruit as well. The great thing about smoothies is that so many different things can go together. Try a variety, including strawberries, blueberries, bananas, mango, and raspberries to discover which your child likes best. It’s a great way to introduce vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium into your child’s diet. Food Network star Guy Fieri loves to cook with his son. Below we put a recipe created by the dynamic duo called Guy’s Rockin’ Smoothie:

Photo courtesy of Food Network

  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • 1 cup pineapple, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 7 large strawberries
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup kefir
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup fresh kale leaves

Directions

Combine the fruit, orange juice, kefir, yogurt, flax seeds and ice cubes in a blender and mix for 20 to 30 seconds. Stop the blender, remove the top and add the kale. Mix for another minute until blended and smooth. Serve immediately.

Per Serving: Calories 164; Total Fat 4.5 grams; Saturated Fat 1 gram; Protein 5 grams; Total Carbohydrate 29 grams; Sugar: 20 grams; Fiber 3 grams; Cholesterol 8 milligrams; Sodium 39 milligrams.

Wrap it up: Take out that food processor again and puree some veggies to spread on tortillas. Mixing vegetables with beans to put on tacos is a good way to get your children to eat their veggies. Roll it up, top with cheese and place in the microwave. Add some sour cream, salsa, or guacamole for a fun dip.

Sneaky Sandwiches: Do your kids like sandwiches? Best way to get a serving of veggies into a sandwich is to sneak it in there. Dice some cucumber and put it in their tuna sandwich, or add a banana to their peanut butter. It’s a guaranteed like, and it’s healthy!

 

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