Monday, September 5, 2011

Sneaking Veggies in Your Diet

It has been so fun to eat all of the fresh fruit and veggies in season this summer. Being from Minnesota with our short growing season we really have to take advantage of it. Believe it or not, I work with people who actually don’t eat ANY fruits or veggies at all! This post is for them! I want them to realize they can eat healthy without the actual taste of certain veggies and fruit.

Adding chopped veggies to dishes like omelets is easy. Hiding shredded carrots of zucchini to meatloaf or burgers doesn’t change the taste and adds fiber and vitamins. You can also add them to pancakes, muffins or bread.

You can beef up salsa by adding finely chopped red peppers or grated carrots. Puree red peppers and add them to spaghetti sauce. Add grated veggies to tuna or chicken salad. Make your sandwich healthier by using a white bean puree, hummus or mashed avocado instead of mayo. Blend just about any strained veggies with ketchup; it masks the smell and the taste well. Mix butternut squash in with mashed potatoes. The color is light enough that they'll never know. Try pureeing a variety of vegetables with beans to make a spread you can smear on tortillas.

You can make yogurt a good place to add fruit. By plain yogurt and add your own fruit. Smoothies are a great way to get veggies and fruits into your diet. Just put milk, ice and any fruit you have in the blender. (A good way to satisfy a sweet tooth, too!) Pureed fruit is a great substitute for sugary ice cream toppings.
In baking, applesauce, crushed pineapple or pureed bananas or prunes can take the place of ½ the butter or shortening called for in a cake, brownie or muffin recipe. Pureed cauliflower, white beans or pumpkin can take the place of eggs.

Buy ice pop trays (or regular ice trays will work too). Use whole fruit juices, such as orange, cranberry, or grapefruit, and see if you can sneak in some blueberries or other berries to decorate your pop.

If nothing else, try a chocolate fondue with fruit dippers—banana slices, strawberries, pineapple chunks, apple pieces, orange sections to name a few. It’s probably not the healthiest suggestion but anything goes better with chocolate, right?
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