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Veggies and Kids – Is It Worth the Battle?

I admit it. Cleaning and slicing up veggies takes some work. There are days when it is just easier to put a bowl of chips and salsa on the table and call it an “after school snack”.

But after reading the following research, I realized the impact healthy snacks make on my kids.

According to Drs. Oz and Roizen, kids who eat produce nearly every day develop arteries that are more flexible. Having arteries that resemble bendy straws is a good thing. Stiff arteries make your heart work harder, making clogs more likely.

How do you get your picky eaters to eat more veggies? Here are some of my tips:

  1. Keep trying. It may take weeks for your kids to start nibbling on bell peppers or kiwi. But don’t give up!
  2. If you eat it, they may too. If you make your kids eat brussel sprouts, and you wouldn’t go near them, they won’t either.
  3. Disguise them slightly. I have no problem sprinkling some grated cheese, or a little ranch dressing, on sliced veggies. Just read the labels, some ranch dressings contain MSG.

 

Special note: It’s easy to “disguise” healthy foods in your kids’ meals. For example, steam broccoli, put it in a blender with a little water, blend and add it to soup or pasta. This works well for smaller kids, but as your kids get older, I believe it’s important for them to develop the habit of grabbing an apple or a handful of carrot sticks.

Here is a healthy kid-friendly recipe from the Food Network:

Crunchy Bran French Toast:

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices whole-grain bread
  • 4 tablespoons light cream cheese
  • 4 teaspoons low-sugar orange marmalade
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 egg whites
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups bran flakes cereal
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (optional)

 

Directions:

  • Spread 4 bread slices with 1 tablespoon cream cheese each; spread the other 4 slices with 1 teaspoon marmalade each. Combine to make 4 sandwiches.
  • Whisk the whole eggs, egg whites, orange zest and juice, and vanilla in a shallow bowl.
  • Place the bran flakes in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or your hands. Pour the crumbs onto a plate. Dip both sides of each sandwich in the egg mixture, then in the crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs onto the bread.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and butter in a skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  • Add the sandwiches in batches and cook until the outsides are golden and the insides are melted, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (Add more oil and butter, if needed.)
  • Slice the French toast sandwiches into triangles. Let cool before serving to little ones, as the cream cheese can get quite hot. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and the kids won’t even ask for syrup!
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