A: Vegetables increase immune system function and are essential to a healthy, well-balanced diet for children and adults. Try these ideas to incorporate more vegetables into your daily intake.
Grow them. Plant a vegetable garden. Even a small plot or a few pots will work. Green beans, zucchini, lettuce, kale and tomatoes are a great place to start. Let your child help with the process from picking out the seeds and planting to watering and harvesting. A family garden gives children a connection to their vegetables. Mince them. Place washed and dried greens, cabbage, broccoli or carrots in your food processor and chop very fine. Minced vegetables can be added to soups, rice, mashed potatoes, spaghetti sauce, pesto, pizza, pasta dishes or eggs — just about anything you can think of. Puree them. If your children won’t eat chunks of vegetables in their soup, puree it in a blender or food processor. Blend your favorite, vegetable, bean or chicken soups. Bake them. For an occasional treat, bake zucchini muffins, squash bread, carrot cake, pumpkin or sweet potato pie. Make broccoli-cheese muffins or vegetable-egg quiche for a filling breakfast. Add them to burgers. Mix minced veggies into hamburgers or meatloaf. Even better, make veggie burgers from quinoa or rice mixed with vegetables. Drink them. Blend them or juice them. When you add dark leafy greens like spinach and kale to smoothies or juice, you won’t even taste them. Experiment with a variety of vegetables when you juice. Try carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, celery, peppers, kale and spinach.
Information from The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, provided by Dr. Kari Swain, Swain Chiropractic, 410 Center Place S.W., 967-9300.