Monday, August 16, 2010

Prep Veggies For The Perfect Week

It's Monday evening. You just got home from a long day. The kids are hungry. You have 30 minutes to whip up a masterpiece before they head for the box of cereal. You debate what to make for dinner. Who has time to shuck corn or cut up broccoli. Out of desperation & exhaustion, you pull out the canned vegetables, microwave potatoes and frozen chicken nuggets.

Sound familiar? Of course...we've all been here at one point or another. Processed food is the byproduct of quick, easy and cheap. A study published found that 90% of the money we spend on food goes toward processed foods (fast food, canned food, frozen food and packaged food). This means more calories, fat, sugar and carbs for our children.

Clearly this is a major problem, but where do we start?

Last week we talked about the importance of prepping fruits for the week. This week is about prepping vegetables. I challenge you to pass up canned or frozen veggies at the store this week and give fresh vegetables a try. It's such a simple concept, but it works. Remember, our Superwoman status is on the line. Let's "dummy proof" our week. No parent has the opportunity to fail! Every child can be healthy! With prepping, we can master quick, easy and healthy.

Here are a few vegetables that I have successfully prepped in advance to kick off our healthy week:

  • Broccoli, Cauliflowers & Carrots- cut, wash and store in your Rubbermaid Produce Saver. Come dinner time, simply pull out one of your favorites and throw them in a steamer. 15-20 minutes and you're ready.

  • Corn on the Cob- shuck on Sunday and store in a bag until you're ready for it that week.

  • Lettuce- this is my favorite thing to prep on Sunday. Buy fresh greens- no bag lettuce! Green leaf lettuce, romaine and spinach are great for your evening dinner or lunch (yes- I prep lunch too). Invest in an inexpensive salad spinner-mine was $10. Clean your lettuce, spin off the excess water, cut it up and store it in a bag in your crisper drawer. I use the Ziploc vacuum bags to take the air out and store our salad. I have also used a simple container lined with a towel to keep salad crisp. Fresh lettuce will generally keep 3-4 days in your refrigerator.

  • Cucumbers- this is a common veggie that I keep on hand for the kids at all times. I cut up 1-2 cucumbers a week and store in a Rubbermaid Produce Saver for quick access.

  • Tomatoes- I love cutting up tomatoes for a quick snack or addition to our salad, but find that they only last 2-3 days in the produce saver. Eat fast.

There are a host of vegetable options for kids. These are simply the ones that my kids tend to like the best. That brings up a good point. We haven't covered how to get your kids to actually "eat" their veggies. That's another blog topic coming soon. This is just the beginning of our journey to raising healthy kids. More tips are coming next week! In the meantime, give fresh vegetables a try.

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