The Great Fruit and Veg Cover Up

Published / Written by Anna Scott / No Comments Yet

I don’t think it’s really going to be groundbreaking news if I say you should make sure you get your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. And I promise this blog post isn’t going to be a big old preachy lecture about the health benefits and all that because, from personal experience, I know this will make you want to stop reading right about NOW.

No, instead I am going to empathise by saying that I, too, am sick of folk making me feel guilty if I don’t foist half a dozen pieces of fruit on my offspring on a daily basis. Let’s be realistic, this is never going to happen. Occasionally, yes, but every day? I don’t think so. I’ve been remarkably lucky in that my children don’t have too many objections to healthy stuff. In fact, with one of them, I actually have to prevent her from eating several oranges in one go. However, making sure they get a balanced diet in this respect still calls for a bit of creativity. How many ways can I make sure my kids get enough fruit and vegetables to stop the guilt (most of the time)? Well, quite a few ways. And I’m going to let you in on some of my secrets to covering up that fruit and vegetable content in every day meal ideas so nobody is any the wiser…

When it comes to hiding the vegetables, there’s nothing quite like having a reliable grater to hand. They’re not just for cheese you know. Whenever I’m making bolognaise or meatballs, I now find myself automatically reaching for it and shredding up a couple of carrots to throw into the mix. Yes, I know carrots in bolognaise isn’t exactly revolutionary, but having them in chunks still runs the risk of them being picked out and left to the side of the plate. Grating them up and cooking them with your chopped onion, however, renders them virtually invisible. And adds a touch of sweetness to your dish too, which is always welcome. My daughter has something against courgettes. I’m not quite sure what, but she can spy a chunk of green a mile off. But not if I grate them in she can’t! And don’t be scared of doing them same with an apple – this works a treat in meatballs and even homemade burgers.

As much as I love the idea of fruit, sometimes eating a piece can be a right chore. For example, I just ate the world’s messiest nectarine and am still picking bits of it out from between my teeth. So can you imagine the defeatist sigh that your child might let out when faced with a piece? So here’s a few ways to get them scoffing their vitamin packed produce…

Chances are they like cereal, so why not chuck a few bits in to liven up the mornings? Chopped up bananas or berries in porridge are always a winner (I may have mentioned my love of porridge on a previous occasion), or even just adding them to a bowl of cold cereal and milk. Instead of buying yoghurts with added sweeteners and flavourings, just get a big pot of the plain variety and put your own sweet fruit into it. And we all love a bit of the less healthy stuff too – no one can deny the need for a homemade cake every now and again. Look up a few recipes that require a decent amount of dried or fresh fruit – raisins, strawberries, blueberries etc – and get baking! Pancakes and drop scones are always a favourite in this house, and now I’ve gotten into the habit of stewing up a few apples or pears to go with them. As well as some slightly less healthy sugar or syrup too, of course. And I’m sure nobody can argue with the absolute winner that is fresh strawberries and double cream. Ok, we’re a few weeks off yet, but when they are in season I hope you start buying up your entire local supply, just like I do.

So help your kids see this food as a treat instead of a chore. Or if all else fails, just grate or shred it and pretend it isn’t there at all. It’s not lying, just being creative with the healthy truth…