How to Get Picky Eaters to Eat Their Fruits and Veggies
Holistic Nutritionist and Wellness Coach Maria Marlowe has got you covered.
Because nutrition is an ever-evolving science, it isn’t often that nutrition experts unanimously agree on anything. One fact that is uncontested across the board is that 50% of your daily food intake should be made up of fruits and vegetables. While it may seem like a lot at first, it’s actually quite easy to get in the recommended amount of fruits and veggies—and to enjoy them while you’re at it! Whether you have little ones who turn up their nose at broccoli, a “meat and potatoes” hubby or simply struggle with getting the recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies yourself, these tips will help you and your family significantly up your produce intake.
1. Use a spiralizer
Even the pickiest eaters can’t say no to spaghetti! A spiralizer is an inexpensive kitchen gadget that turns vegetables into spaghetti like strands. Sweet potatoes, beets, zucchini, carrots—just about anything can be spiralized. You can then sauté or bake the strands and top them with your favorite sauce for the full pasta experience. Try this zucchini pasta with cashew basil pesto or this spicy sweet potato spaghetti.
2. Add mustard
Certain people, especially children, are sensitive to bitter tastes, hence why they spit out foods like Brussels sprouts and kale. However, these are some of the most health-promoting foods! The bitter flavor can be masked by pairing them with a mustard-based sauce or dip.
3. Pair with delicious dips
Guacamole, hummus, olive tapenade—all of these are delicious and healthy dips that make veggie sticks way more fun. As an after-school snack, cut up slices of cucumber and carrots and pair with one of these dips.
4. Roast at high temperatures
When you roast vegetables at high temperatures, their sugars begin to caramelize, giving them an irresistible flavor that’s far superior to mushy boiled vegetables or bland steamed vegetables. Set your oven to 450°, coat uniformly chopped vegetables in olive oil and spices, then bake, turning occasionally, until the edges of the veggies just start to brown. Be sure to give the veggies space on the baking sheet—don’t crowd them or they will steam, rather than roast. It should take only about 20 minutes or so, but cooking time will vary based on the type of vegetable and the size of each slice. Try this with Brussels sprouts, parsnips, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, onions or really any veggies you like!
5. Use a blender
Investing in a high-quality, high-speed blender is a great way to up your fresh produce intake. From fruit-filled morning smoothies to veggie-centric soups and purées (to replace mashed potatoes!), blenders allow you to turn fruits and veggies into craveable meals.
6. Pile on the spices
Spices can transform any dish instantly. For example, if you add steak seasoning to grilled Portobello mushrooms, it will taste like steak. If you’re a spice newbie, try cooking veggies with pre-made spice blends, like French herbes de Provence, Indian curry powder or garam masala or the Middle Eastern za’atar. If you like it hot, try these spicy cauliflower poppers.
7. Turn fruit into dessert
A piece of fruit may seem “boring” when compared to traditional desserts, so to get kids (or even you!) excited about adding more fruit to your diet, get a little inventive in the kitchen. You can make an ultra-satisfying soft-serve ice cream from frozen bananas, sorbet from frozen mango, or ice cream from watermelon. You can turn dates into date rolls—an ultra-sweet and chewy snack—by blending them with shredded coconut and then rolling them in chopped nuts or more coconut. You can dip sliced figs or whole strawberries in high quality dark chocolate to make them go down just a bit easier. For special events, make this watermelon cake covered in whipped coconut cream. For some strange reason, fruit becomes infinitely more satisfying when you call it cake!