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Ten Ways to get Kids (and Adults) to eat Their Veggies

Ten Ways to get Kids (and Adults) to eat Their Veggies

Let’s face it. Vegetables are not the first food group that children look forward to at dinner. When has your kid asked for seconds of spinach? Desserts have their own menu for a reason. Despite their lack of popularity, vegetables are a necessary part of a kids’ diets. They provide the vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy physical and cognitive growth and lower obesity rates.

The Center for Disease Control states that child obesity rates have more than doubled in the past 30 years in the United States and that the percentage of children age six to eleven years who are obese increased from seven percent in 1980 to nearly eighteen percent in 2012. Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics noted that in a population-based sample of five- to seventeen-year-olds, 70 percent of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Now that the depressing stuff is out of the way, let’s get on to the fun stuff, shall we? If you really want your kids to eat those veggies, you must do what all good parents do: lie to your kids. Here are some tasty recipes designed to trick your kids (and some adults) into eating their vegetables.

Note that I do not represent any of the websites or advertisers for the recipes pages below. Nor am I a certified nutritionist. I’m someone who thinks nutrition is important and thinks it’s a good idea for kids (and grown-ups) to eat their veggies.

Red Beet Pancakes

    Beet Pancakes

    Beets are very good for you. They are high in vitamin C and fiber and are chock-full of essential nutrients like B vitamins, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium. One of my friends introduced these to her daughter (and husband) as “Pink Princess Pancakes”. Verdict? Pink Princess Pancakes were a hit. Beets are not normally at the top of the yummy chart for most kids (or adults), but these make a great breakfast option.

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    Beet ice cream

      Beet Ice Cream

      Yes, beet ice cream. You wouldn’t think that the combination works, but it does. This recipe calls for cayenne pepper if you want a little kick, but it can always be omitted. Play around with it. Adding a few dark chocolate chips doesn’t hurt either!

      Zucchini Pancakes

        Zucchini Pancakes

        Zucchini is a great vegetable to add to dishes. Shredded zucchini doesn’t have an overpowering taste and it contains all kinds of nutrients such as vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, and a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin, and protein. Another good thing is that it is easy to hide. Pancakes are just one example.

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        Chocolate Zucchini Cake

          Chocolate Zucchini Cake

          This is probably one of my favorites. It is a great dessert and if you don’t tell your kids (or pretty much any adult) it’s in there, the zucchini is pretty hard to differentiate from the awesomeness of the chocolate.

          Quinoa Black Bean Corn Salad

            Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad

            This recipe wasn’t just made for kids; it was made by a kid. Eleven-year-old Haile Thomas created this dish which earned her a trip to the first Kids State Dinner at the White House. Quinoa is very rich in protein and fiber and is one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. Black beans are very fibrous and contain potassium, folate, and vitamin B6 and have been shown to be good for the health of our digestive tract- particularly the colon.

            Hush Hush Lasagna

              Hush Hush Lasagna

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              This one contains four beneficial veggies: carrots, zucchini, peppers, and onions. Carrots are very rich in vitamin A with good doses of biotin and vitamin K. Peppers are good sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Onions have vitamin C and chromium which help in regulating blood sugar.

              White and Green Pizza

                White and Green Pizza

                Popeye ate spinach for a reason. It is really good for you. It is rich in iron and is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B2. What kid doesn’t love pizza?

                Four Cheese Bake

                  Four-Cheese Pasta Bake

                  Sticking with the spinach theme, this dish puts three cups of that green goodness into a meal.

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                  Sweet Potato French Toast

                    Sweet Potato French Toast

                    Sweet potatoes pack a powerful vitamin A punch. They are also full of vitamin B6 and C. Here is a breakfast recipe to hide them in plain sight. When is the last time you turned down French toast for breakfast?

                    Chocolate Avocado Pudding

                      Chocolate Avocado Pudding

                      Does your kid like pudding? Of course! This is a great way to hide something green in desserts. Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and have more potassium than bananas! Since most people don’t get their recommended daily requirements of potassium, this is a great way to keep that dessert on the menu while also staying healthy.

                      Featured photo credit: Jordan Strickler via agrimediaonline.com

                      More by this author

                      Jordan Strickler

                      Owner, AgriMediaOnline.com

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                      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                      Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                      1. Exercise Daily

                      It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                      If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                      Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                      If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                      2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                      Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                      One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                      This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                      3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                      Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                      Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                      Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                      4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                      Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                      The basic nutritional advice includes:

                      • Eat unprocessed foods
                      • Eat more veggies
                      • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                      • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                      Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                        5. Watch Out for Travel

                        Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                        This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                        If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                        6. Start Slow

                        Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                        If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                        7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                        Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                        My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                        If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                        I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                        Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                        More Tips on Getting in Shape

                        Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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