We’ve heard it before… Americans just aren’t getting enough vegetables these days. Rich in vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber, it’s hard to understand how so many can resist. But the facts tell us that less than 30% – that’s seven out of every ten Americans – are failing to meet the recommended vegetable servings per day. The good news is, by making a few simple changes you will see that increasing your family’s daily veggie intake can be much easier than you once thought.
Struggling with a picky eater? This is a case when, it’s okay to be sneaky in the kitchen. With our 15 simple tips, you will avoid meal time battles, and increase the nutritional value of your family’s dishes! You’ll be able to stop worrying about what your child is eating, and start focusing on enjoying meals together in a more relaxed atmosphere. It’s a win-win!
To make it even easier, you can find fresh vegetables in all shapes, sizes, and colors at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, including familiar favorites, heirloom varieties, and brand-new cultivars; every Wednesday and Saturday. Everything is grown and harvested (often times that same morning!) by talented and hard-working local farmers who are also excellent resources for preparation and recipes. Be sure to pick their brains when you come to the Market to stock up. In the meantime, these great tips will get you started — Here’s to good health and more veggies at your table!
15 SIMPLE WAYS TO SNEAK MORE VEGETABLES INTO YOUR DAY
1. Add peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms or onions to your eggs in the morning.
2. Blend greens like spinach with a smoothie that contains blueberries (the dark color with mask the green of the spinach).
3. Add pureed cooked cauliflower, winter squash, or red peppers to macaroni and cheese.
4. Incorporate grated zucchini, chopped mushrooms, and/or carrots into turkey burgers, meatloaf, and meatballs
5. Use vegetables instead of pasta. Try spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
6. Puree veggies like onions, carrots or pumpkin and add it to marinara or pizza sauce.
7. Layer veggies like spinach in lasagna, or mix broccoli with manicotti when you make stuffed shells.
8. Try replacing a bread serving and make your sandwiches wrapped inside leafy greens such as Bibb lettuce, romaine, red lettuce, or cabbage.
9. Add shredded zucchini or summer squash to casseroles.
10. Steam and mash cauliflower to mix into mashed potatoes.
11. Add finely chopped onions or shredded carrots to salmon or crab cakes.
12. Puree vegetables and make a bisque like butternut squash soup.
13. Pureed vegetables can also be added to creamy soups like clam chowder.
14. Recreate the chip. Try making chips with kale, mustard greens, or collard greens.
15. Vegetables can also be a delicious, healthy additions to desserts. Add them to breads, cakes, biscuits, pies, or even cookies; like this recipe for yummy Iced Zucchini Cookies.
Iced Zucchini Cookies
YIELD: 4 dozen
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
INGREDIENTS: *available seasonally at the Farmers’ Market
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter; softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups zucchini; grated*
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips (optional- but highly recommended!)
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
2 tablespoons milk*
½ teaspoon vanilla
2-3 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
In a bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Then add zucchini; and mix.
Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt to wet ingredients and combine until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips if using.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto large baking sheets (these cookies spread a lot, so keep be sure to leave a good amount of space between them).
Bake for 12-18 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool.
Mix frosting ingredients together and scoop into a large (piping or Ziploc) bag. Snip the corner, drizzle frosting over cooled cookies and let harden.
TIP: These cookies freeze well once the frosting hardens!