13 Ways To Sneak Some Extra Fruits And Vegetables In Your Family’s Diets

I write a lot about growing your own vegetables, fruits and herbs. I grow my own for many reasons but mostly because they are cleaner and healthier for you than the stuff sold in stores. Plus it's just easier to pick what you need for dinner from the yard than to drive to the store! As a bonus, when your kids help to grow the produce, they tend to be more willing to eat it! 

Fruit and cream cheese sandwich to add fruit or vegetables to diet

I make it a point to grow at least one new thing every year and the kids are always willing to try it! In the last few years we've grown cucamelons, glass gem popcorn, 4 different colors of tomatoes, huckleberries, ground cherries, purple green beans, purple carrots, kohlrabi, white egg eggplant and more!

It makes sense to get the kids involved in growing the foods they eat. I mean, if you can get the kids to willingly eat broccoli then you don't have to try to sneak it into their diets. If they're not willing though, that's when things get a little tricky. 

We all know that we should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Unfortunately should and do are two very different things, aren’t they? Sometimes it is just not easy to get them all in there, especially with picky kids or cooking from the garden. 

I mean, if you've gardened for any length of time you know all the zucchini comes in for like 2 weeks then nothing! Right? Cherry tomatoes are pretty spread out during the season, but how many days in a row can you eat those? This makes it difficult to have a varied diet without getting sick of the crop of the week. So we’ll just have to get creative. 

Incorporate a few of these ideas and you will have everyone in your family eating more fruits and vegetables in no time.

Easy ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet

1. Let each family member pick a fruit or vegetable to grow in your backyard or in a pot on the patio. Look up recipes to use them in and pick a different recipe to make each week.

2. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies. They make some great comfort food when the weather gets cold. I bought an instant pot last year and it is amazing for stews and soups!

3. Try some new fruits and vegetables from the store. There is an amazing selection of tropical fruits in most grocery stores. You could try dragon fruit, artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, lichi, star fruit and anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store. You'll find even more cool produce at the farmers market!

Healthy tropical fruits on display in a grocery store

4. Have a salad bar at dinner. Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese, croutons, nuts and craisins as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce and let everybody create their own perfect salad.

5. Add a handful of frozen peas to rice mixes right before they're done. This works really well with the Knorr rice and pasta sides.

6. Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. Have the kids help you design a little snack display charcuterie board style! You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with ranch dip. Spread some cream cheese or peanut butter on the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it.

7. Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. Have you ever eaten at a Subway location? Ever notice that they have spinach, cucumbers, green peppers and like 4 other veggies to add to sandwiches? Try it at home! Top a turkey sandwich with spinach, tomato, cucumber, avocado and anything else that sounds good. 

My favorite is adding arugula and tomato to chipped ham & mayo sandwiches (you might have to be from Pittsburgh to understand that one!) You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Or add some sliced cucumbers or fruit to a cream cheese sandwich.

8. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your kid’s lunch box, pack some yogurt-covered raisins in your husband’s briefcase and keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking. 

I know it's not quite as healthy, but I'm constantly buying chocolate covered fruit. My favorite are dark chocolate covered, dried Montmorency cherries! Chocolate covered dried blueberries are good too as well as yogurt covered dried blueberries!

Add fresh fruit to dessert

9. Make a trifle for dessert! Make or buy an angel food cake or pound cake. Cut into cubes and layer in a big bowl with fresh fruit and cool whip or vanilla pudding. Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries work especially well!

Trifle,  to add fruit to your diet

10. Try this for dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit. Don't forget a tiny spritz of whipped cream on top! 

11. Fruit milkshakes! Add fresh fruit to vanilla ice cream and milk and blend for a few minutes for a fruity milkshake. Berries work great, but pumpkin puree can be used for a pumpkin spice shake!

Sneak some fruit into breakfast

12. You can add dried or fresh fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning. My family loves dried apples and raisins stirred into oatmeal for breakfast! Berries are especially good in cereal.

13. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, low-fat yogurt and ice in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder in there for good measure, especially if the kids are in sports! 

Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go. To make it even more appealing for your kids, add a dollop of whipped cream on top. 

Do not drink fruit juice

Lots of people think that drinking fruit juice is a healthy addition to your diet, but that's not exactly true. Drinking juice adds extra calories to your diet without many of the benefits of fresh fruit, mainly fiber. While fruit juices still contain some of the vitamins of whole fruit, they have no pulp and lots of sugar. The lack of pulp causes the juice to be absorbed very quickly and you get a blood sugar spike that you don't get with whole fruit. 

Plus, since you expend very little calories consuming and digesting juice as compared to whole fruit, you actually end up with a higher calorie surplus. For instance an 8oz glass of orange juice has 103 calories while a whole orange has only 45 calories. 

Here is another tip:

Now that everyone in the family has gotten a taste for it, make sure you always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies available and ready to snack on. I know I get hungry and start grabbing easy snacks and if there's fresh fruit and vegetables prepped and ready to eat, I'll probably grab that! 


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