If corn and baby carrots are the only veggies your family
eats, you may want to try a more sneaky approach. The
American Heart Association recommends filling half your
plate with fruits and vegetables. So, to help reach this
goal, put on your creative chef’s cap and cook up some
imaginative ideas for adding veggies here and there. Here are
some easy suggestions to get started:
A box grater or the grating attachment on your food processor
makes it super easy to shred zucchini, beets, or parsnips to add
to all sorts of recipes from muffins to meatloaf. In whole grain
muffins and quick breads, replace up to half the soft margarine
or oil with shredded veggies; then stir in some frozen no sugar
added blueberries or raspberries as a bonus fruit. Shredded
carrots, summer squash or butternut squash can be added to
pasta sauce and cooked for about 5 minutes to soften – then
they will never be noticed!
BLEND IN MUSHROOMS
Replace half the ground meat in recipes, like burgers,
meatloaf and meatballs, with chopped, cooked mushrooms.
Finely chop a package of mushrooms using a knife or food
processor, then sauté in a little extra virgin olive oil until soft,
for about 3 minutes. Once the mushrooms are nearly cool,
gently mix them with raw ground beef, ground chicken or
ground turkey (choose extra lean ground meat and poultry).
Then follow the rest of the recipe as is.
CHEESY ORANGE VEGGIES
Cooked orange vegetables like butternut squash, sweet
potatoes and carrots puree into a color that makes them easy
to add to cheesy dishes like macaroni and cheese, lasagna or
baked enchiladas so you use less cheese; cheese can be high
in saturated fat and sodium. Or, add these sweeter-tasting
veggies to a blender with some low-sodium chicken broth
and whiz them into a velvety smooth soup that most kids
(and adults) will adore when topped with salt-free crackers
and low-fat, low sodium cheese.
Yes, beans are a vegetable! Puree garbanzo beans, navy beans or
even black beans into a creamy dip; add a little lemon juice and
garlic powder for zip. Serve with whole grain crackers (choose
crackers with the lowest saturated fat, trans fat and sodium
content), homemade baked tortilla crisps or baby carrots.
To your blender, add a frozen banana, fat-free milk or fat-free,
no added sugar yogurt, a drizzle (½ teaspoon or less) of honey
and then whiz in raw spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes (cooked
will be easier to blend) or just about any vegetable. The frozen
banana makes for a sweet, thick and creamy smoothie and it
also adds strong banana flavor to help mask the veggies. For a
beautifully colored pink smoothie, pop a cooked beet into the
Smoothies are a great way to “sneak” more veggies into your diet