When you’re already dealing with hundreds of other things like getting the kids to and from school, managing a full work day, ordering your groceries online and folding what can feel like endless piles of laundry, finding ways to make healthier meals for the kids can seem like a daunting task. The good news is that you’re not alone and coming up better meal choices for the kids is something that many parents continue to deal with (no matter how old they get!). Here’s some even better news! We have 5 great tips to help you bring some more vegetables and grains to the table that even your picky eaters are sure to love.

4 Ways to Serve the Kids Better Options at Mealtime

1. Food Should Be Fun!

So, when you think healthy you may think piling up plates with boiled vegetables or serving up finger friendly vegetables raw. But mealtime can be a lot of fun with some small and quick changes to your meal plan

A great way to present vegetables (cooked or raw) to the kids is with kebab skewers. They are simple to make and can be made with anything that you have in the fridge from broccoli to carrots to cauliflower and more. If you’re cooking up a stir fry for yourself, you can chop up some extra veggies and store them in the fridge to help save some time as well. Make it even more engaging for the kids by letting them create their skewer.

As well as being a great addition to dinner meals, skewers are also great for snack time or lunchtime and can be changed up with fruits, cold cuts, and small pieces of your favourite Country Harvest™ bread, loaf or bagels.

You can also add a bit of fun to meal time with games. Try assigning points to certain vegetables like 2 points for broccoli and 3 for corn. Then when they’ve completed their meal and their points they can use them towards a dessert! While every meal shouldn’t have a game or reward attached to it, this may be a great way to help kids try new vegetables that they otherwise may turn their nose up to.

2. Get Saucy

Remember ketchup? As a kid (and even now) you may have added it to everything from fries to eggs to macaroni and cheese or more! Sauces are a great way to mask some of the flavours that kids may not yet be ready for in vegetables as well as provide another way to hide some actual vegetables! A soft steamed carrot may not be as exciting as a crunchy baby carrot with a yummy dip. Broccoli on its own can definitely lack luster but what if it was accompanied by some melted cheese? Pasta is always a kid favourite but with just plain tomato sauce, it can be hard to amplify with more vegetables. That’s when it’s time to get out the blender or your food processor! Boil or sauté some vegetables, mix them in with your sauce and blend until it’s the right texture for your pasta dish. Not only will they enjoy one of their favourite meals but you’re sure to feel super accomplished as you watch them gobble up tons of healthy vegetables along the way

3. Smoothies

Time for that blender or food processor to come out again! A great way to get some goodness into the kids, and yourself for that matter, are with easy to make smoothies. They take minutes to make, can include all their favourite flavours and mask some added vegetables or fruits that you want to include as well. Smoothies are also an easy way to have the kids participate in the kitchen by having them choose their ingredients, adding them in and watching their creations come to life!

These are an easy travel snack when you’re bringing them home from school or running to a quick appointment and a super-fast way to get tons of great nutrients into their bellies without having to sit at the table and watch until they’ve chewed every last bite down.

If you’re looking to save even more time, grab some frozen fruits and vegetables on your next trip to the grocery store or prep the night before so that everything is ready to go the next day.

Try this easy smoothie recipe.

½ cup of orange juice
½ cup of vanilla yogurt
¼ cup steamed carrots
2-3 spinach leaves
¼ cup of strawberries (or blueberries)

Simply add all the ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve in a cup with a reusable straw, serve in a bowl topped with granola or yes, even sprinkles if they create the excitement you need.

4. Who’s Ready for Soup?

Making homemade soups are a fast way to get meals on the table as well as get the kids to enjoy some additional vegetables for the day.  If your kids are a bit older and enjoy chunkier soups with more texture, you can simply add a range of chopped vegetables to your chicken noodle soup.  If you need to make something a little smoother then pureed soups are the answer!  From butternut squash to mushroom, broccoli or carrot, the options are truly endless. Complete the meal with slices of Country Harvest™ No Sugar Added White with Whole Grains, toasted with garlic spread to give them something hearty to dip into their soups as well

Check out these other great recipes for you to enjoy alongside your soup creations.

Getting anyone to try something new can be challenging so try not to get too discouraged if your little ones continue to refuse certain vegetables during meal time.  Remember to consistently try and introduce new foods, change them up and talk about what they like or don’t like to help you find something better suited for their current tastes!  Over time you may be surprised as they begin asking for their new favourite vegetables to become part of meal time.