Resolutions can be scary. They’re so easy to break, aren’t they? And once they’re broken, it seems like it’s so hard to get back on track. The good news: it’s never too late to start. That’s why I’m a big believer in creating habits; small ones (and a few fun ones!) to help my family be healthier. And I can’t think of any easier — or healthier — habits for you to create for your family than to eat better. For me, it starts with adding vegetables to our diet. So here are a few tips — for kids of any age — to start making veggies a welcome, and natural, part of your family’s every day routine!
Ideas for Your Toddler:
- Name a vegetable dish after your child! When he was little, my son Kevin wouldn’t touch carrots if you paid him. So I tried a new dish (glazed carrots with a little brown sugar) and gave them the special name of “Kevin Carrots” and they quickly became one of his favorite dishes.
- Jazz up simple raw vegetables with a fun dip your children can help make. All you need to do is mix a packet of Hidden Valley dry dip mix with plain or Greek yogurt (kids love mixing this!). If you’re in a pinch, we also all know kids love dipping their veggies in a small bowl of Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Light Dressing.
Ideas for Your Grade School Child:
- Start the new year right with a “Veggie of the Week” game you can have fun with all year long. Each week, pick out a new vegetable (and better yet, have the children help select the special veggie) and put a photo of it on the refrigerator. Make sure you find a few interesting facts about the vegetable to share and then find a new recipe for the family to enjoy sometime during the week. Even if only one out of four of the vegetables get a “thumbs up,” by the end of the year, your children will know they like over ten new vegetables!
- Let your children play with their food! Cut up small pieces of several fun and colorful veggies and let the kids decorate the top of a salad plate or create crudité critters.
Ideas for Teens and Tweens:
- Put them to work! Send them to the grocery story (or take them with you) and give them the job of picking out a new and never-before tried vegetable. Then, task them with finding a new recipe using the “mystery veggie” and serve it during the week.
- Teach your teens and tweens to cook! Nothing — and I mean nothing — will encourage them to try new food more than when they prepare it by themselves. A couple great recipes for them to start with are a Veggie Guacamole or a tasty Harvest Salad-on-a-Stick.
Ideas for You:
- Keep the refrigerator stocked with fresh, cut vegetables. I like to keep mine in small GladWare containers – along with a little ranch – so anyone can grab a fresh snack and go!
- Since everyone is so busy nowadays, setting aside time to eat your veggies can also help you stick to your healthy new habits. Schedule the occasional “Vegetarian Dinner” once a week or month, and serve a dish starring one of your family’s favorite veggies— I especially love these Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups.
In the end, any of these ideas can be used to incorporate more veggies into your diet, just try them out to find what works best for your family. Here’s wishing you a very happy new year — full of fun and healthy veggie habits!