We’re already big produce consumers. My whole family loves fruits and vegetables and it’s the biggest part of my grocery bill. Which is why I’ll be attempting an insanely large garden this summer (more on that soon). So some might find it strange to hear that one of my New Year’s goals was to have our family eating even more.
In both the U.S. and the U.K. they recommend eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But research is showing that 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables (with an emphasis on vegetables) is a better way to go for your health. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is a good way to naturally get necessary vitamins and minerals, and help yourself stay healthy.
I like to choose a variety of colors for their nutritional differences and because a rainbow of colors is appealing. Prepping ahead of time helps. We usually have carrot sticks and sliced peppers in the refrigerator. And a cucumber is quick to slice up and a perfect cold teether for the babies. Here’s how we rocked the veggies recently:
Starting with lunch.
Platter of sliced vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, celery, and cucumbers) with avocados mixed with hummus for a dip.
Then after lunch I went ahead and prepped for a couple other meals this week.
Grilled peppers to go with lentil tacos on Wednesday night. Chopped these up.
Grilled corn for the tacos. I sliced this all off and tucked it away in the fridge.
This was pre-roasting. These carrots and parsnips went into the oven to eat with roasted chickens later in the week. Also, roasted zucchini slices, not pictured.
Then I may have gotten a little crazy. I grabbed the pumpkin E had picked out for her Halloween decoration. Pumpkin is a squash that can last months when kept properly. So I sliced it open and got all the seeds out to roast with some Old Bay. And then, realizing the pumpkin was pretty meaty, sliced it up, peeled it and put the flesh in the oven to roast.
Yummy pumpkin seeds. These were gone while soup was cooking.
The pumpkin turned out to be less flavorful than I was wanting for soup. But never fear, I pureed that up, added cinnamon and maple syrup and some half and half and cooked it in a cast iron skillet until it tasted like heavenly pie. I whipped up some cream and that was what we had for dessert Monday night.
Dinner that Monday night was my Butternut Apple Bisque. The babies had never had it, and they each ate an entire cup of it for dinner! Then they ate a small bit of the pumpkin dessert.
So for that Monday alone we had: bananas as part of breakfast, the vegetables with hummus (along with some oat crackers, cheddar cheese and a chili chutney ), butternut squash, apples, pumpkin (in the soup and dessert), onions, garlic, and oranges. If you count each bell pepper color separately (and I like to since the different colors can offer slightly different nutrients), we ate 14 different types of fruit and veggies!
I know it’s easy to get into a rut with vegetables. I grew up on basically corn, canned green beans, and iceberg lettuce. So I’ll be sharing some of my tried and true vegetable recipes here as well as ones I’m trying out. If you have any to share, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!