I am soooo looking forward to trips to the market and all that fresh spring produce. And even though we aren’t quite there yet, I thought I would share with you some tips & tricks on how I get the kids to eat their veggies any time of year.

I’m always trying to find ways to get the kids to eat more vegetables. Today, along with a lunch and a couple of snack ideas, I’m sharing some of my tips & tricks on how I do just that. As well as some creative ways to use leftovers for lunches and snacks, to save time, keep things interesting and make sure those veggies get eaten.

Roasted Sweet Potato & Blueberry Skewers with Apple Sauce Dip // Roasting extra vegetables at dinner is great for both saving time with food prep & getting the kids to eat more veggies at lunch and snack time.

I love mixing vegetables and fruit together. Kids tend to like fruit more than vegetables, so I feel by mixing them, it puts vegetables in good company. Plus fruit is generally easier to serve, it can often be served as is, with little more prep than washing, which makes grabbing a fruit snack, typically, a lot easier than grabbing a veggie snack.

That’s why whenever I roast veggies for dinner, I make extra, with the prep and cooking already done, they are an easy to grab snack. I served these roasted sweet potatoes cold, on a skewer mixed with fresh blueberries. They make a very fast and simple, fun and colourful snack that is delicious dipped into apple sauce.

To roast sweet potatoes for dinner, I peel and cube the sweet potatoes, tossed them with olive oil and sea salt and spread them out on a baking sheet or two. Then I roast them in a 400°F oven for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until they are tender.

Apple & Chicken Salad with Toasted Pecans and Maple Dijon Dressing // Flavours kids love and ingredients leftover from dinner make this easy to make lunch salad a hit with kids and adults. 

This fresh and crisp lunch salad came together in no time flat, by utilizing leftovers from the night before’s dinner. Reinventing leftovers from dinner, to make lunch, is something that I do almost everyday. The trick is to create something new and fresh, so that leftovers don’t get boring and stale.

The roasted chicken, mixed greens, cucumber, toasted pecans (I substituted pecans for the walnuts in the dinner recipe because that’s what I had on hand), grated parmesan and the maple dijon dressing are all from the dinner we had the night before – Easy Roasted Chicken with Acorn Squash and Wild Rice. I just tossed it all together, along with sliced apples and some raisins, for a fresh lunch that was new and delicious.

Now…kids and salad, they don’t always mix. Some kids love them, many don’t. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years, on how to grow kids into salad lovers and these are the ones that have worked the best for me.

  1. Low key the greens. I often find it’s the greens that kids are stand-offish about, so use less greens and bump up the other ingredients, it starts to feel less like a salad and more like snack bowl. If they are really stand-offish about greens, to start leave them out completely or use them as a garnish, like an herb, chopped finely and sprinkled on top.
  2. Start with only their favourites. Essentially you want to “sell” salads and grow their trust that salads are awesome, by using only foods that they already like, even if that’s only two or three veggies (shredded, sliced or chopped) to start. Serve them “tossed” together, maybe in a bowl, and then make sure to call it a salad.
  3. Mix it up. Salads don’t have to be only vegetables, add fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cooked meats, eggs…and again, use their favourites to start.
  4. Serve the dressing on the side. Instead of tossing the salad with the dressing, serve it on the side as a dip, in a little dip bowl. Kids love to dip, often so much so, that it makes them more willing to try something new.
  5. Celebrate even the smallest successes and build on them. Once one combination is well received, add to it, one or two new foods at a time. It really is a process, as time goes by they will learn to like more and more, so stick with it and keep on trying.

Radish & Pea Pesto Crostini // Crostini with a spread and sliced vegetable is fast to make for a snack or an appetizer.

Crostini is such a versatile snack (or lunch, or appetizer), it really can be whatever you want it to be. Here I used pea pesto, leftover from a salmon dinner we had a few days earlier, and topped it with thinly sliced radishes. I love that there is veg in the pesto and layered on top. Two ways that I have had success getting kids to enjoy radishes is by shredding them and slicing them very thin. Not only does it look fancy, but the taste is much milder.

To make the pea pesto, with my food processor running, I dropped 1 peeled garlic clove through the small feed tube and processed until finely chopped. I then scrapped down the sides and added 2 cups of frozen peas (thawed), 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and processed until smooth. With the food processor running, I poured 1/3 cup of olive oil through the small feed tube, scraping down the sides when necessary, and processed until smooth.