September is National Fruits & Veggies Month AND National Family Meals Month™. And this year, now more than ever, families are looking for ways to connect. Mealtime can make that happen. There are many benefits to eating together as a family, such as spending quality time together, increased happiness, better communication skills and relationships with others, increased self-confidence, and enjoying more fruits and vegetables.
Here are five ways to add colorful fruits and veggies to pack more flavor and nutrition into your family meals:
Blend it up
Smoothies are an easy way to incorporate a variety of fruits and veggies into your day. Start with your favorite fruit, chia or flaxseeds and milk of choice. Add leafy greens for a nutrient boost or cauliflower chunks for a creamy texture. Involve your child in the process and they will be more excited to try what they helped prepare.
Change up the cooking technique
If you think plain vegetables are boring, try roasting them to bring out a natural sweetness and flavor. Roasting at a high temperature takes the taste of vegetables to another level. Try this with potatoes, carrots, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and more.
Elevate your favorite recipe
Enhance the flavor, texture and nutrition of your family’s favorite dishes by adding mushrooms and veggies. Blend finely diced mushrooms into the ground meat mixture of recipes like burgers, meatloaf, tacos and meatballs. Or try adding spiralized zucchini into a pasta recipe.
Try something new
Have fun with the whole family and have weekly “taste tests” of new or different fruits or vegetables. Make a goal to try one new produce item per week.
Instead of tossing produce that is about to be past its prime, use it up in new recipes. Toss nearly wilted spinach or fruit into a smoothie, add bell pepper to a stir fry, or shred zucchini and make a chocolate zucchini loaf.
In addition to enjoying these meals together, include your family into the meal-making process. Having fun and bonding with your family members will give you memories right from your very own kitchen.