Summer is by far the best season for fresh fruits and vegetables, when dozens of varieties of delicious produce like cherries, asparagus and watermelon all come into season. If you have picky eaters in your family, however, it can be difficult to take full advantage of these summer foods. To encourage healthier kids’ eating habits and diets higher in fruits and vegetables this summer, try the following fun and easy tips to get kids to eat produce. I have also included a Mexican Pizza Recipe that may help get your kids eating some veggies.
Ways To Get Kids to Eat Produce:
Visit a Farmer’s Market
In the summertime, you can’t go anywhere without passing a farmers markets on essentially every corner. Take your kids on a walk to the farmers market and let them explore all of the different types of delicious produce. It can be fun to pick out weird-looking ones or fruits you’ve never heard of, and it’s the perfect way to get kids to eat produce and new foods!
Give Produce Some Kid Appeal
Most kids will turn up their noses at a big bowl of broccoli, but serve that broccoli with a side of queso dip or ranch dressing and that broccoli will disappear in a heartbeat. When vegetables are made fun with dips and spreads, or incorporated into kid-pleasers such as pizza, tacos or quesadillas, most kids won’t be so opposed to them.
Bringing kids into the kitchen is one of the best ways to get them to try new foods and expand their palates. When kids are involved in the creation of a meal, they’ll be excited, proud and much more likely to try it than if it were simply placed in front of them. Seeing foods like avocados, which many kids don’t love, turned into delicious guacamole served with tortilla chips can make certain foods seem a lot less scary.
Plant a Garden
Summer is all about gorgeous weather, so get outside as a family and enjoy it! Planting a garden together is a wonderful way to not only spend quality time with your kids, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to get kids to eat produceand introduce them to a variety of fruits and vegetables. Similar to cooking food, planting summer produce will make kids much more receptive to tasting it later on.
If your child rejects asparagus, don’t assume that he or she won’t ever eat anything green. Exposing kids to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables allows them to discover what they do and don’t like; odds are, if they try enough different types, they’ll find a few winners. Giving kids a choice of vegetable or fruit at mealtime provides them with more say in the matter, which can help encourage healthier eating.
These easy Mexican pizzas are a great way to ease your kids into a better relationship with vegetables because, really, what kid doesn’t love pizza?! Start with heart-healthy wheat pitas and top with protein-packed beans, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and cheese for a lighter take on your typical pizza. Kids will love building their own personal pizzas, and feel free to add on any other favorite veggies—peppers and olives would work especially well.
Mexican Pizza Recipe
1 can (10 oz. each) Ro*Tel® Mexican Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice & Cilantro, drained, divided
1 can (16 oz. each) Rosarita® No Fat Traditional Refried Beans
6 honey wheat pita pocket breads (6-1/2 inch)
3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
4-1/2 cups thinly shredded romaine lettuce
6 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
Preheat oven to 450°F. Place ¼ cup drained tomatoes in a small bowl and set aside. Mix the remaining tomatoes and beans in a small bowl until combined. Spread evenly onto pita b reads.
Sprinkle pizzas with cheese and place on ungreased baking sheets; bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges of pita breads are lightly browned and the cheese melts, rotating pans halfway through so they cook evenly. Top with lettuce, onion and reserved tomatoes.
Guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Ro*Tel°. For more easy Mexican recipes to cook with your kids this summer, visit www.ro-tel.com.