As a mother and a teacher, I have often been disappointed and almost depressed by some of the snacks/lunches parents send to school. With my own children and my class, I have tried to teach them the difference between a healthy snack (fruits, vegetables, yogurt) and a “treat” (granola bars, cookies, chips). Healthy snacks we can have every day and more than once a day. Treats, we only eat sometimes.
During our day at school, the first snack of the day is always either a fruit or a vegetable. At home, tricks I use to get more fruits and vegetables into my children are: smoothies, homemade tomato sauce and additions to our ground beef.
Smoothies are pretty obvious. Mix in a blender some frozen vanilla yogurt and add your child’s favourite fruits. You can even sneak in some new fruits. Call it a milkshake if that helps to get your child to drink it.
Keep the blender out to make the special pasta sauce. Use either diced tomatoes, actual tomatoes or your favourite pasta sauce. Then blend veggies in to it. I have added everything from carrots, peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and even spinach. The spinach turns the sauce a green/brown colour so I always have a can of inexpensive tomato sauce on hand to mix in. This will get your sauce back to its proper red hue. Cook on low in a crock pot (lid off) in order to thicken it up a bit.
You can bring up the sweetness by adding more carrots or red peppers. To get even more veggies into your meal, grate carrot and add it to the ground beef after it is cooked. With the sauce on it your child won’t even know the extra carrots are in there.
By no means am I the healthiest person in the world. There are always “treats” in our cupboard but the idea is to try to balance everything - television vs. physical activity, healthy food vs. treats and to pass these lessons on to our children.