New blog post!
This post is generously sponsored by Mambo Sprouts and features some awesome brands like Peeled Snacks, Back to Nature, Enjoy Life and The Country Hen.
Especially now that back-to-school season is in full swing, sneaking extra nutrition into my meal is more important than ever. Which is why I’m super excited to help Mambo Sprouts celebrate Healthy Kids Month this September!
In particular, I thought I’d share how I boost my veggie and fruit intake year-round…and how you can easily do the same, whether you use these tips to spruce up your child’s school lunch or apply them to your own daily eats. And I promise. Thanks to some help from Peeled Snacks, Back to Nature, Enjoy Life and The Country Hen, adding extra nutrition to your meals and snacks has never been tastier! Plus, all the “sneak-it-in” recipes I’m sharing today are super kid-friendly…and you can keep reading for links to some awesome coupons and an epic Twitter party.
So, without further adieu, let’s dig into a few of my favorite ways to crank up the fruits and veggies this Healthy Kids Month and all year long!
1. Dress up fruits and veggies to make them your new go-to snack.
When I was in high school, I would’ve laughed at the idea of eating fruits or veggies as a snack. Those were sides at breakfast or dinner, not something I’d be excited to eat during class breaks.
Since then, though, I’ve learned the magic of sauces and dips. A flavorful pesto can turn boring carrots and sliced zucchini into a creamy, dreamy bite. Plus, you can easily sub sunflower or hemp seeds for nuts to make your pesto allergy-friendly. Some of my other favorite dip combinations include nut or seed butters or yogurt for fruit, and fresh avocado or hummus for veggies.
Don’t have time to whip up any exciting dips? That’s where a company like Peeled Snacks
comes in. They turn organic, gluten free and non-GMO fruits and veggies into delicious dried fruit and veggie snacks. Their new Pea Puffs are crunchy like chips but are packed with 4 grams of protein and ½ cup of veggies per serving. Meanwhile, Peeled Snacks’ dried apple and mango snack bags never last long around me. If you want an easy way to snack on fruits and vegetables without actually “feeling” like you are, Peeled Snacks is a tasty secret weapon.
2. Pair vegetables with something that you already love – like crackers and avocado.
Another way to make vegetables extra delicious? Pair them up with something you already love, like crackers from Back to Nature
! I enjoy their gluten free black pepper rice things, but they also offer a variety of other flavors, ranging from classic rounds to whole wheat to gluten free sea salt adzuki bean.
During my pre-celiac days in high school, one of my favorite school lunches was peanut butter crackers or ham and cheese cracker sandwiches. Nowadays, I use gluten free crackers as the foundation for a delicious veggie “sandwich.” Slather some kind of creamy spread – like hummus, mashed black beans or pesto – on the bottom cracker. Then add some fresh spinach, thinly sliced zucchini and squash, a little avocado and the top cracker. Sometimes I’ll add canned salmon or tuna for extra protein; other times, these veggie crackers hit the spot all on their own.
If you need more ideas of how to shake up your cracker creations to get more nutritional bang for your bite, check out the infographic above. The avocado and shrimp topping combination is definitely calling my name!
3. Sneak some veggies into your favorite sweet recipes.
Another trick I use to help me get in those greens? Not being afraid of using vegetables in sweet recipes! Years ago, adding yellow squash to homemade granola or sweet potato to banana bread never would’ve entered my mind. Now, I do that basically anytime I bake those recipes!
Of course, it can take time to figure out the best ratio of vegetables to sweets. No one wants to end up with brownies that taste more like spinach than chocolate! (Unless you’re Popeye, I suppose…) That’s where recipes from companies like Enjoy Life Foods
come in handy. I’m addicted to all their products – which are all free from 14 common allergens and range from protein balls to granola bars to baking mixes to chocolate bars – but the recipes they share online have never let me down either.
One of my favorite vegetables to use in sweet recipes is zucchini because it has such a mild flavor and can be grated so finely, you don’t even taste it. I put zucchini in my smoothie bowls, overnight porridge, granola…basically everything I can get my hands on! So this zucchini squares recipe from Enjoy Life Foods is definitely on the top of my culinary to-do list.
4. Don’t be afraid to “play” with your food.
When you were growing up, you may have been told to not play with your food…but in my experience, playing with your food can make eating veggies and fruits a whole lot more enjoyable.
Case in point? My instagram, which is all about delicious, mostly good-looking food. People often ask me why I take the time to “style” my food for photographs, and it’s honestly because this makes eating even more fun. Cutting strawberries into hearts or roses may not make them taste any different in my smoothies, but it does make me smile while eating them.
If you need ideas of how you can help your kids – or yourself – get creative in the kitchen, check out this egg pop recipe from The Country Hen
. At least to me, eating an “egg pop” with a veggie stem suddenly sounds a whole lot more exciting than just a hard-boiled egg with veggies on the side! You can also rest assured that the eggs you’re using for this recipe are super high quality. The Country Hen is USDA Certified Organic, which means they don’t use any pesticides, added hormones or antibiotics. Plus, their farm is Certified Human raised and Handled, so their hens are livin’ the good life! The fact that The Country Hen’s website
is packed with nutritious recipes and online kids’ games is just a bonus.
5. Save money on food with some help from Mambo Sprouts…so you can eat more fruits, veggies and nutritious snacks without breaking the bank!
One of the challenges I faced when I started eating more fruits, veggies and nutritious meals overall was that my grocery bills started going up. Nowadays, though, I rarely spend more than $35 per week on groceries…and besides being selective about my choices and shopping at grocery stores that offer quality food at affordable prices, using coupons for my favorite brands is a favorite secret weapon of mine.
Luckily for all of us, Mambo Sprouts is offering deals on all the awesome brands I’ve talked about today, as well as many others. All you have to do is click here
to find the latest offers from featured brands. To make sure you get all the new deals as soon as they’re released, you can also sign up for the Mambo Sprouts Newsletter here
As an added bonus, Mambo Sprouts is also holding an epic #LunchBox101 twitter party
at 3 PM eastern time on September 20. With help from their special guest, Produce for Kids, Mambo Sprouts will be tweeting tons of kid-friendly recipes, “sneak them in” nutrition tips and ways to save with Healthy Kids Month coupons. So make sure you join in on the fun on September 20!
What I’ll Be Taking Away From Healthy Kids Month
Honestly, Healthy Kids Month couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Now that school has started up again, I’m beyond busy juggling classes, teaching, blogging, freelance work and more. And I know I’m not the only one struggling to eat nutritious meals while having a super busy schedule.
Thanks to Peeled Snacks, Back to Nature, Enjoy Life and The Country Hen, though, I have some new ideas for sneaking extra nutrition into my everyday eats…and I hope that by the end of this post (and, especially, by the end of Healthy Kids Month with Mambo Sprouts) you can say the same!
What’s your favorite way to sneak extra nutrition into your snacks and meals? What’s your favorite product or recipe from Peeled Snacks, Back to Nature, Enjoy Life and The Country Hen? I’d love to hear in the comments!
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