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Vegetables and Veggie Snacks You'll Love

  • Susy Pilgrin Waters

    I probably don't need to tell you how important it is to eat your vegetables: low in calories, loaded with vitamins and fiber, they're the diet equivalent of a slam dunk. People who consume lots of fruits and veggies reduce their risk for chronic diseases, such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and even some types of cancer. They also tend to be slimmer. So why, then, do only 8 percent of kids meet their RDA for vegetables and only 26 percent of the nation's adults dine on veggies three or more times a day? Taste, availability, and just lack of making it a habit. Start with the following strategies.

  • Eat Colorful Veggies

    The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend you consume a variety of beans, peas, and dark green, red, and orange vegetables. Ideas:

    —Stash a few bags of 365 Everyday Value Organic Leafy Greens Blend in your freezer to saute with garlic and onions for a side to serve with chicken, fish, or beef.

    —Stock your fridge with some of Melissa's Peeled Baby Red Beets. These are not your mom's tasteless canned beets—they're steamed and vacuum-sealed right after picking to preserve their fresh, naturally sweet flavor. Slice them onto greens with crumbled cheese and toasted walnuts for a delicious salad.

    —Toss a pack of Melissa's Six Bean Medley with vinaigrette, or try our Indian-Spiced Cauliflower, Potato, and Chickpeas recipe.

    Get the Indian-Spiced Cauliflower, Potato, and Chickpeas recipe

  • Introduce Kids to Veggie Snacks

    I'm a big believer in getting kids to enjoy vegetables in their natural state, but I'm also a realist. There are many snack options that will make munching vegetables between meals much more fun. Two staff favorites that'll stave off cravings for pretzels and chips are Crunchies Roasted Veggies and Rhythm Kale Chips (both available at Whole Foods). A fruit and veggie juice such as Apple & Eve's Apple Harvest (with butternut squash, beets, and carrots) is another way to win over the vegetable-averse.

  • Have Veggie Snacks Handy

    Look beyond basic baby carrots for small packs of snap peas, broccoli, or grape tomatoes with dip that can be noshed whenever. Mann's has some cool combos. Remember: If you want your kids to try veggies, you need to have them too!

  • Courtesy of Loveyourveggies.com

    Try New Veggies

    Hidden Valley asked students what their ideal veggie would be like—juicy, crunchy, flavorful, etc. Here are the top picks based on their kid-friendly criteria.

    Multicolored (Party) Cauliflower

    Don't be fooled by the brilliant colors. This veggie packs a nutritious punch—it's high in dietary fiber, folate, and vitamin C.

  • Courtesy of Loveyourveggies.com

    Rainbow Carrots

    The lunch-box staple strays from its roots with fab new shades, including purples, reds, and yellows. Up the beta-carotene by cooking with a little oil.

  • Courtesy of Loveyourveggies.com

    Romanesco Broccoli

    It might look like it came from outer space but this veggie contains all the benefits of broccoli, with a milder flavor.

  • Courtesy of Loveyourveggies.com

    Watermelon Radish

    We love this crispy, colorful vegetable raw and sliced, but it's just as tasty when added to stir-fry dishes.

    Originally published in the May 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.

    Learn more at loveyourveggies.com

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