It’s not hard, it’s not hard, stop making it hard, I’m telling you – it’s not hard. It’s also quite easy.
I used to just serve one fruit or vegetable with each meal (if that). This might have been enough for our nutritional needs, as long as we were getting some fruits or veggies at snack time too. But when all was said and done, I think my family was only getting 1-3 servings of fruits or veggies each day. That is just not enough. Our bodies need more – more variety of nutrients, and a larger quantity too.
Putting a big variety of fruits and vegetables on the table with each meal is something I’ve been improving on through the past few years. I hope you’ll join me in this endeavor. It isn’t nearly as difficult as I used to believe it was. In fact, I’m learning that fruits and vegetables are probably the easiest food there is to make and serve. Truly!
Below you’ll see an example of a meal I made recently. Notice the simplicity. Also notice that I rarely put our food in serving dishes – we just eat them right out of the cookware. :)
See the big pot of Tuna Casserole? Easy as that was to make, it was the most time consuming meal item I prepared. All the fruits and veggies on the side were a piece of cake. Actually, they were fruits and veggies, not cake, but you know what I mean.
To go with the tuna casserole, I cooked some frozen peas (which took about 3 minutes), washed blackberries, sliced a cucumber, and opened a bag of petite baby carrots. That made a total of four super easy fruit and veggie side dishes that we enjoyed. The apples, bananas, pears, and clementines you see in the weren’t actually for our meal. Those just sit out on the table as a center piece and for all of us to grab for snacks as needed.
This practice of setting out several different lightly cooked and raw fruits and vegetables to go with our main dish has become the norm around here. Once you get into the habit, it really is easy. Actually, I’ve found that it’s even been a fun challenge to see how many different kinds of fruits and veggies I can put on the table with each meal!
This is a typical grocery shopping haul for the week, plus I have many fruits and vegetables in the freezer.
An added benefit of setting out a wide variety, beyond the obvious fact that we are getting a great bounty of nutrients with all the different types of goodies out there is this: If one of our boys doesn’t love all the types of fruits and vegetables I set out, they will at least like 2 or 3. I do it this way on purpose so that everyone will have something they love. While we don’t all fill our plates with every single item, we do fill our plates with what we like…which means there is no fighting at the table to get my kids to eat their veggies. Hallelujah!
And one more thing. Crunching and chewing on these fruits and vegetables as side dishes has been filling up my boys’ hollow legs. If I covered my table with a bunch of grains and carbs, they’d certainly fill up on those, but would not be gaining as much nourishment. We still eat plenty of grains around here (especially at breakfast), but I’ve found that we’re feeling better by trading heavy amounts of bread for larger quantities of fruits and vegetables.
And another one more thing. If fruits and vegetables is what you serve, that is what your family will learn to eat. If you don’t serve them, they won’t eat them.
Okay, one last one more thing. I still have to push a couple of my kids to fill up on fruits and vegetables. It is getting easier, but just like most kids – mine would rather have a donut with a side of potato chips. Keep encouraging, keep serving, keep providing – the love of fruits and vegetables will come.
How’s it going at your house? Have you found easy ways to add fruits and vegetables to your table?